The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
You might notice every group eating a different dish at Crispy’s Beer & Wine Bar. That’s because the bar has BYOF policy—that’s short for bring your own food—which lets guests soak up the 39 craft brews on draft without having to snack on bar peanuts. This policy inspires patrons to linger over pints of hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or bottles of fruity Belgian Kasteel Rouge. The deep brown of Gulden Draak hints at its potent Belgian flavor and alcohol content, and light flits easily through the wheat-golden color of Paulaner Hefeweizen. Televisions overhead chatter, providing updates on athletic events or how scary the weatherman says thunder will be this weekend. Those who didn’t bring food snack on the bar’s small selection of locally produced appetizers and desserts such as chocolate-covered potato chips and beer brittle.
According to the Viera Sun, when Loris and Rafaella Barsiola first moved to the United States from Italy in 1999, they didn't speak a lick of English. A year later they opened Bacco Wine Cafe and let their cooking do the talking for them. Though they're now well acclimated to the States, they still serve their pastas, chicken, and beef dishes they way they did in Savona, Italy: inside a Ferrari. In the kitchen, Rafaella prepares ever-changing menu selections featuring her family recipes. Loris curates a wine list with dozens of varietals from Italy and selects jazz music to play in the dining room.
On its own, a simple visit to the charming neighborhood of Harmony could be refreshing. Punctuate it with a glass of your favorite wine or beer at The Vineyard, though, and suddenly that visit reaches a whole new level of relaxation. If you come hungry, don't worry or begin gnawing on the stemware?to match its worldly spirits, the Vineyard also doles out inspired tapas, such as potato skins loaded with pulled pork and jalape?o-stuffed pretzels served with Guinness-honey-mustard sauce. A full kids menu makes The Vineyard especially welcoming to families, and live music often caps off visits with tunes from budding artists.
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.
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.