When you walk into John Rolfe Tobacco Company, one of the first things you'll notice is the large humidor to your right. The glass structure is stocked with dozens of internationally curated cigars, lined up neatly in handsome display cases bearing brand names such as Davidoff and Flor de las Antillas.
And while cigars get top billing here, it's far from the only card in John Rolfe's deck. Folks stopping in for a smoke might be entertained by anything from their reflections on the flat-screen TVs to live jazz music, all while dining from a menu of Middle Eastern dishes such as spinach and artichoke pies. The leather couches situated around a fireplace mantel invite groups to linger, and those who do can pair their cigar with craft beer or imported wine.
In the back corner of Le Souk Florida, a large, tiled bar draws visitors’ eyes into the restaurant. It beckons them inside, where they’ll see tables lining both walls, and a plush white couch in the back where patrons can puff fruity hookah flavors from 11 a.m. until 3 a.m. seven days a week. Exotic, homemade appetizers with Middle Eastern flair lure fingers into platters of hummus and stuffed grape leaves, and cocktails, wines, and beers splash across palates late into the evening. Underscoring Le Souk’s international vibe, belly dancers perform on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, demonstrating moves that guests can imitate when shimmying out of sleeping bags in time with the morning bugle call.
The crowd noise and referee whistles of a football game aren’t complete without some other sounds. At Buckets Tavern & Tap, a full roster of domestic and craft beers click together in cheers. Eight-ounce Angus burgers sizzle on a grill, and five styles of wings crackle in a fryer. While bartenders sling drafts and bottles from Budweiser, Blue Moon, Magic Hat, and Dogfish, televisions with a wide range of channels broadcast games played by Florida teams and any team whose mascot is a family of sleepy baby raccoons. Bowls of buffalo shrimp and jalapeño poppers clatter onto tables, alongside baskets of clams with fries and slaw, burgers, and chili.
In creating a recipe for a romantic and pleasurable night out, few ingredients create the same synergy as wine, cheese, and jazz. The founders of Crumb&Cork put their spin on this formula by offering a menu with more than 28 artisanal cheeses and 40 wines from around the globe, which their patrons sip and sample amid an atmosphere permeated by live jazz music on Fridays and Saturdays. In an effort to encourage tastings, the owners sell their wines by the glass and decorate the space with comfortable furnishings so their clientele feel free to linger and chat.
Cameron Parker founded Orlando Pub Crawl, LLC in 2005 to organize the bar-going experience into a convivial group event. The company's primary mission is organizing trips for up to 1,000 revelers at a time, styled after themes and occasions including the Kentucky Derby, '80s Nights, and Cinco de Mayo. Partiers hop from bar to bar, enjoying complimentary drinks, admission, and other specials as they mingle and socialize amid festivities, games, and libations. The pub-crawl team can also tailor private crawls for groups of 100 or more, allowing companies, organizations, and poker-playing dogs to journey to bars in organized packs. But not all the company's events are drinking-themed: there are also madcap challenges such as The Amazing Mind Race, which sends teams scattering across cities to solve clues and discover checkpoints.
For nearly 50 years, the Improv chain has incubated standup talent—notable alumni such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Robin Williams all conquered their stage fright there before their big breaks. The Tampa location carries on the Improv’s tradition of catching rising stars before they turn into supernovas spewing dangerous molten punch lines with a calendar of up-and-comers and nationally touring talent.