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Orlando + Disney World Nightlife

Universal Orlando
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 363 8000

The CityWalk entertainment plaza is notably hipper than the tame offerings at Disney's Pleasure Island. An outpost of New Orleans mainstay Pat O'Brien's ladles its strong Hurricane rum cocktails; there's live reggae at Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom; and a deafening dance lounge called The Groove thunders into the wee hours. Some of the clubs only admit patrons aged 21 or over, which adds to the cool factor, but the zone maintains its all ages-vibe with carnival games for the kids and margarita booths for the adults, since alcoholic beverages can be consumed anywhere on the premises, including outdoors.

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Dexter's of Thornton Park
808 E. Washington Street
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 648 2777

Tourists in Orlando usually party at theme park–linked complexes like Downtown Disney or Universal's CityWalk, or along International Drive's tacky, neon-lit corridor. But savvy out-of-towners know that the real place to be is downtown. Dexter's in Thornton Park is one of those exposed-ductwork industrial spaces with concrete floors. Tables, booths, and high-tops surround a large rectangular bar, where most of the settle-in-and-stay-a-while hanging out takes place. The food here is solid, as well, and the brunch crowd descends on Saturday and Sunday for Bloody Mary specials and flavored mimosas, while on Tuesday nights the $1 burgers are the draw. Regardless of the day, classic rock pumps through the speakers, and while the decibel level of the music stays relatively sane, the ambient chatter creates quite a din when the place is packed. Overall, it's an Orlando scene far more organic than in theme park world.—Terry Ward

Open Mondays through Wednesdays 7 am to 10 pm, Thursdays 7 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 7 am to midnight, and Sundays 7 am to 10 pm.

Enzian Theater
1300 S. Orlando Avenue
Maitland , Florida
Tel: 407 629 0054

No one goes to the Enzian just for a movie, although it's possible. This unique institution's patio bar, made of Brazilian walnut and shaded by Spanish moss, embodies the laid-back Florida lifestyle in a way no other movie theater attempts. In addition to the usual cocktails, you can order Cuban rum made before the embargo, 1901 Scotch, and 1916 bourbon, all from the private cellars of the founder, the granddaughter of an Austrian princess. Inside the theater, seating is exclusively at tables, and a discreet staff serves a full menu during the show (BLTs with house-made bacon, mushroom burgers, a house coffee blend). The lineups alternate between mainstream and independent screenings, indulging in little of the haughtiness of other art-house cinemas. Considering it also hosts six major film festivals a year, the Enzian could be the envy of cineasts in any city.

Visit Web site or call ahead for showtimes.

Hard Rock Live
CityWalk at Universal Orlando
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 351 5483

Situated on a promenade between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, the world's largest Hard Rock Café adjoins this live-music venue. Its enormous 2,800-seat performance space, loosely modeled on the Colosseum in Rome, frequently hosts A-list television tapings, stand-up performances, and concerts, so call ahead for schedules and tickets.

Mr. Sisters
5310 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 545 2467

To call this nightlife complex fronting a lake near downtown Orlando a gay bar is selling Mr. Sisters short. On any given night, you're likely to find a crowd as diverse as downtown Orlando itself—everyone from students to doctors to groups celebrating bachelorette parties (only the theme park crowd is missing here, keeping the scene largely local). Occupying a former auto dealership on a rather unappealing stretch of Colonial Drive, Mr. Sisters has open rafters, high ceilings, and shiny surfaces, making the place feel more like something you'd see in Las Vegas (there's even a stage with a pole for dancing suspended above the large bar). For all the lighting and sound system bells and whistles inside, however, it's the outdoor deck that's most appealing for hanging out. The patio has sweeping views of Lake Barton, with "Don't feed the wildlife" signs that refer to the resident gators, turtles, snakes, and wading birds. Thursdays nights feature Dinner with the Stars, with drag queens donning their finest getups to perform songs from Broadway musicals. Don't miss the lively Sunday brunch, when eggs Benedict, frittatas, and quiche are served alongside a spectacle of two drag queens crooning crazy gospel renditions to the tinkling of a baby grand piano.—Terry Ward

Open Wednesdays and Thursdays 4 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 2 pm to 2:30 am, and Sundays 11 am to 2 am.

Parliament House
410 N. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 425 7571

Not everyone knows it, but Orlando is the site of the world's largest gay entertainment complex, which comprises five bars, a theater, a 130-room motel, and a restaurant overlooking Rock Lake. Its nightspots include Footlight Theater Piano Bar, a Western-themed bar, and the throbbing dance club Le Club Disco and Dance Bar. Its poolside bar gets hopping on hot weekends.

60 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 246 1599

Until recently, Sky60 was just another wannabe posh club, distinguished by flowing white fabrics and interior cabanas perfect for giving small groups an insular night. But since many of Orlando's gay bars have rapidly closed, their old clientele has been welcomed here, and now Sky60 has morphed into the town's most stylish mixed-crowd hangout. DJs spin a variety of music, while drinks remain decently priced. Conveniently, the club is located in the midst of the city's most popular nightspots; on one side is the dance palace Tabu, and on the other, an eclectic house for traveling bands, The Social.

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The Social
54 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 246 1419

The skinny jeans–and-Converse crowd—and plenty of old school rock 'n' roll types, too—queue around the block to buy tickets whenever a major show is announced at this top live music venue in downtown Orlando. Seeing one of the international or national indie acts that appear here (think My Morning Jacket, G. Love & Special Sauce, OMD) is very appealing, thanks to the atmospheric intimate space. The Social maxes out at 400 people. Just next door at sister venue the Beacham, larger acts perform in a circa-1920s theater (the booking agent is an Orlando music-scene veteran known for luring great acts to the city). There are live bands most nights at the Social, and Sundays attract the young hipster crowd for a dance vibe and DJs spinning dubstep.—Terry Ward

Schedule varies; see Web site.

431 E. Central Boulevard
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407-839-0080

The thump of music from underground turns passersby on to this retro subterranean lounge a few steps from Lake Eola in Thornton Park. The low cavernlike ceilings, curved red booths, and Art Deco chandeliers pair with brick walls and a faux fireplace for an oddly comforting mashup of après-ski, the Jetsons, and Las Vegas. Tuesday bring packs of friends for Dirty Bingo, when raunchy prizes and commentary accompany the otherwise tame board game. Deejays spin '80s, '90s, and hip-hop on Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays don't sleep easy, either, with happy hour all day and night and fierce rounds of beer pong. But don't worry, the young, diverse crowd keeps it from turning into a frat party.—Terry Ward

Open Mondays through Saturdays 4 pm to 2 am, Sundays 2 pm to 2 am.

Wall Street Plaza
Wall Street between Orange and S. Court
Orlando , Florida
Tel: 407 839 3900

Ever since Church Street Station closed for an endless refit, Orlando's reigning street of sin has been Wall Street, a block of eight drinkeries geared to a festive, happy hour clientele, each with its own international personality. The Globe does live acoustic music and has an outdoor patio; Waitiki fashions itself as a Tiki bar; the Tuk Tuk room does Indonesian (with Wright & Wong's sushi bar at the back); and Monkey Bar, overlooking the street, has a tongue-in-cheek pan-African vibe. While the after-work crowd makes up the bulk of the plaza's patrons, the pour continues all weekend. Visit the block's website for downloadable iCal schedules of upcoming events.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.