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.
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.
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.
A rotating selection of 32 red wines fill the automatic dispensers and wine preservers at Put A Cork In It, where tasters sample varietals from around the world in a relaxed atmosphere on Restaurant Row. After soon-to-be sippers choose their wine, swipe a $40 value card, and present a bucket of sacrificial bolts, the pouring machines whir into action filling glasses with a 1-ounce taste ($1–$5) as fresh and crisp as wine from a just-opened bottle. Between sips, guests cleanse palates nibbling on a choice of appetizers, including the crusted salmon and dill of the Seattle cake (a $10 value). The winery plates vegetarian options such as the mushroom florentine, a mix of spinach and brie stuffed into the eponymous caps (an $11 value), and an international summit of cheeses, crackers, and salami gather on the Around The World appetizer's packed plate (a $21 value). After swishing, sampling, and assigning nicknames to the various wines, patrons can go on the hunt for a favorite vintage in Cork's shop, which stocks more than 400 varieties of wine ($20–$120, not included in this Groupon).