When French native Joel Martin was young, his family moved to Africa. While there, Joel learned to stalk many jungle creatures including crocodiles with the help of his Malgache friends. Years later, in 1995, Martin packed up his own family and moved them to Florida, where the heat and humidity reminded him of his beloved childhood in Africa. Today he owns and operates Black Hammock Adventures, located near some of Orlando's busiest attractions, and charters picturesque airboat rides on the waters of Lake Jesup. His boat, equipped with Goliath's desk fan, skims earplugged riders past lake fauna at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. During rides, experienced guides pilot the vessel safely through narrow creeks and shallow wetlands, and help tourists to spot wildlife and at times, sunning reptiles. After zooming by the scenery, guests can stop by Black Hammock's free wildlife exhibit, enjoy a lively libation at the Lazy Gator Bar with live music every weekend, sit down at the full service restaurant featuring Executive Chef Barth that is known for its fried gator tail, or hand over their cameras as they pose for pictures with a live baby alligator or barter for an autograph with hunks of raw meat.
Hugo Joe’s seasoned culinarians answer the persistent calls of hungry bellies with a menu brimming with flame-licked specialties from the U.S. and around the globe seven days a week. Discuss the many traits of the multifarious cucumber over a pile of tangy fried pickles with sour cream ($4.99) before making your way to a hearty oven-baked chicken parmigiana sub ($7.49) or a texas burger, a veggie-and-swiss-topped slab of succulence nestled between slices of texas toast ($8.99). For a taste of Italy that doesn’t require an ample licking of a world atlas, order one of the shrimp and pasta dishes ($15.99) or opt for the baked ziti covered in three cheeses and house sauce ($10.49). The wings ($6.49/half-dozen), coated with a choice of sauce, target mouths in the mood for bison airfoils. Stamp a palette’s passport with the mark of Switzerland sans ink with a wienerschnitzel ($14.49), or conquer a bucket of Hugo Joe’s signature oysters ($24.99).
The view of Florida wildlife from the lakeview terrace at The Lazy Gator Bar needs no food or drinks to make it worthwhile. Over buckets of beers and colorful mixed drinks resting on tables, the setting sun casts an orange-pink glow that adds a charming touch to the airboats coming in from a tour. This glow even makes the 8- and 9-foot-long alligators?who soak in a pool at the live gator and bird exhibit adjoining Black Hammock Gift Shop?look friendly. Waiters bring out bar snacks from the restaurant, while guests to linger over drinks as bands play live music on weekends.
Amid the melodies of nightly karaoke, Devaney's marries hearty pub fare with daily drink specials. Signature cocktails and beer—from breweries including Bell's, Lagunitas, Victory, and Stone—wash back burgers, sandwiches, and wings. A surfeit of sports décor represents various teams battling on the flat-screen TVs, which beam down on tabletops and bar seating filled with patrons cheering as their favorite mascot executes a perfect high-five. The bar further engages crowds with Wednesday-night bingo, Thursday-night trivia, and weekly live bands, who are only sometimes possessed by ventriloquist dummies.
Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine is a family owned business, established in 2005, that offers variety of authentic Turkish food from many regions of Turkey. Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine adapted its name from one of the oldest cities in the world, Istanbul, which was once known as the Constantinople in the early 13th century.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.