Orlando's Best Nightlife: Chic Views, Cheap Beer, Cheeky Culture and More

You love the nightlife? You got to boogie? Well, Orlando’s got plenty of haunts for the beat driven (check out our 10Best Dance Clubs list for even more) but not everyone’s idea of nightlife involves throwing down to house or techno. For those who do – or maybe don’t care as much about the dance floor as they do the upscale, velvet-rope vibe and the unparalleled city views – One80 Grey Goose Lounge should suit. Ensconced atop the City Beautiful's Amway Center, it’s not only a post-Magic game favorite, it nails those extra points (and threes from downtown!) for its industry nights and daytime patio parties. Those who prefer more of a $2.50 PBR dance party will feel right at home in their sneakers at downtown’s “everyone’s welcome” dance hall, the Independent. Depending on which night you go, the floor may be shaking to Motown or 80s, top 40 or disco classics, but the vibe is “un-sceney” and no one will mind your ripped jeans. How about something cheekier? At the Venue you may get a literal dose if Orlando’s resident burlesque troupe is performing. If not, you might find dance, song, experimental theater. The Venue serves it all and with a cozy bar in which to prep for your culture injection, you’ll be well prepared to take it in stride. Small plates and smooth jazz are on the menu at Jazz Tastings in Maitland, where the wine list is long, as are the instrumental breaks. Regular patrons – and locals just stumbling upon this hidden gem – enjoy both.

Orlando Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre

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What began as a two-show project conceived by a few local theater professionals in 1997 has since grown into something so big , it recently moved from its longtime downtown digs into a brand new second-floor space on Church Street. Mad Cow –...  Read More

It's a common occurrence in the City Beautiful: you're minding your own business in some unassuming little shopping plaza and BOOM! (or in this case, the noise is a bit smoother, maybe with a little piano, some sax and some subtle, sultry vocal...  Read More

Set in the heart of eclectic Ivanhoe Village, the Venue is a veritable ground-zero for edgy arts and entertainment in Orlando. Perhaps most notably the home of VarieTEASE, Orlando's scintillating burlesque troupe founded by local...  Read More

Orlando has more than a few venues for quality cocktails. The Matador is one of them. Its off-the-path Ivanhoe location is a nice alternative to the downtown scene. Its plush, inviting interior – warm and well-worn, just like the velvety...  Read More

Vintage rock to top 40, indie to 80s new wave, the Independent Bar hits that sweet spot between dance club and dive bar, a place where patrons are welcome to dress to impress or roll in in Chucks and ripped jeans. Seriously man, no one's...  Read More

No one, whether tourist or local, would deny that the look of the Parliament House complex has seen better days (after all this groundbreaking gay resort had its inaugural in the 1970s) but when they call the place "dirty" and "trashy," they're...  Read More

"Sleek." "Sexy." "Clandestine." These are just three words that Kush enthusiasts use to describe their favorite Orlando hookah lounge, a hip upstairs hideaway where fans of the shisha delight in hip digs with speakeasy-like sensibility. White...  Read More

The Tuscan-styled Wine Room makes use of a system of self-serve, portion-controlled Enomatic wine dispensers to facilitate service. And seriously? It's fantastic. Staffers here are not only passionate about wines, they are more than happy to...  Read More

Sitting atop Orlando's Amway Arena, One80 Grey Goose Lounge overlooks the city with sweeping views (hence the name) in a space many place side-by-side with South Beach's top venues. Lounge inside on sleek, white leather or sip that high-end...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.

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