With its exposed bricks, arched doorways, and dim lighting, The Wine Room on Park Avenue evokes a medieval monastery. That may be why the sleek, Italian-made Enomatic wine dispenser, which controls bottle temperature and prevents oxidation, looks so much like a Star Trek–era gadget within the pleasantly rustic walls. With the push of a button, the metallic nozzles pour out precise 1-ounce sample-size, half-glass, or full-glass portions. To ensure spouts remain untainted from customer to customer, it cleans itself after every pour.
The Enomatic is one reason The Wine Room earned the title of Orlando's best wine bar from Orlando Magazine. The recently remodeled space now boasts additional seating, a new menu, and a new lineup of machines. Though the technology is impressive, the shop backs up their gadgetry with a staff of actual human wine connoisseurs. These friendly staffers help customers navigate the selection of 156 wines, and offer wine classes throughout the year. They can also recommend bottles to pair with The Wine Room's selection of cheeses, flatbreads, and yachts in need of christening.
Amid brick walkways and burnt-red walls, leaves rustle softly. Steam rises in the distance, then quietly disappears. One moment, this place emits smoky hints of cedar; the next, it teems with notes of ginger and cinnamon bark. This isn’t an idyllic college campus on a brisk autumn night. It’s Infusion Tea, a charming café on the balmy streets of Orlando. Sun streams through oversized windows, warming chilly scoops of gelato and triple-decker cream-cheese sandwiches. More than 70 types of tea—including blacks, greens, oolongs, and herbals—can be ordered hot or cool, like most jazz saxophone solos. Though they hail from faraway lands such as China, Japan, and South Africa, many of these teas are organic and fair-trade certified, reflecting values owner Christina Cowherd cultivated while traveling the world in the Peace Corps. Rare, premium teas such as gyokuro transport taste buds to new frontiers as well, whether nestled in a takeaway tin or steeped in a pot made for sharing in house.
It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.
Smoke in 55 exotically flavored varieties dances smoothly between relaxed patrons as they clink glasses in Alchemy Lounge. During 45- to 60-minute sessions, the lounge’s staff of smoke specialists tends to smoldering all-natural coconut charcoal tablets and slaps away the flame-stealing hands of Prometheus.
At Olv Café, groups gather to collectively explore a sharable menu items of small plates, platters, salads, and flatbreads. Start with tempura asparagus and artichokes with sweet-chili sauce ($6.50) or the barbecue-chicken flatbread ($7.50), which mimics the earth’s 15th-century shape with a perfectly level plane of barbecue sauce, cilantro, marinated onions, and monterey jack propping up a tower of pulled chicken.
What makes NV Art Bar so popular is that it doesn't really try to be. Amid downtown Orlando's neon nightclubs and cantinas, this boutique bar keeps things so lowkey that it's been nicknamed "Orlando's coolest living room." Patrons lounge on overstuffed velvet sofas in the swanky space, where low lights and flickering candles illuminate brick walls lined with original artwork. The beer and wine menu is just as artsy: blueberry ales, oatmeal-infused stouts, and crisp wines with hints of grapefruit and guava.