Orlando's Eclectic Nightspots: DJs, Drag Shows, Dress Codes, Dive Bars & More

Orlando is not New York or Las Vegas or Miami. We're okay with that. And for the most part, the City Beautiful doesn't try to be something its not when it comes to nightclubs. For locals who pine for sleek, see-and-be-seen spaces, sophisticated venues such as the One80 Skytop Lounge atop the Amway Center and downtown's posh, glittery Eve prove that you don't need a beach, a casino or dueling pro-baseball teams to enjoy bottle service. Meanwhile, an active music scene brings national and regional acts a-plenty to venues like The Social and Soundbar while helping to cultivate a vibrant local scene, as well. (We're looking at you, Will's Pub!) And for the rest of us? Those for whom the word "nightclub" takes on a magical, shape-shifting quality? We've got dive bar/dance hall hybrids like the come-as-you-are Independent Bar and gay nightlife that exudes a bit of local, inclusive flavor in Southern Nights. For more intimate digs with an electronic pulse and pointed beats, you might want to give the warm and welcoming, but decidedly fashionable, Attic a whirl. This city's energetic and eclectic offerings say we like who we are. Check us out. You might like us, too.

South Orlando


Dance club don't just mean house music, y'all. Cowboys Orlando has been bringing country music to town for a good, long while, open Thursday through Saturday and featuring everything from live local and national music acts to state-of-the-art...  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



Want to see what determination in the gym can accomplish? Show up for Southern Nights' Flex Nights featuring the some of the hottest hardbodies north of Miami Beach to Girl Saturdays where sultry live burlesque shows reign supreme (if you've...  Read More



Few downtown Orlando venues take advantage of Central Florida's stellar weather like Aero, a striking and recently renovated rooftop lounge with cozy cabanas and twinkly lights all immersed in the cosmopolitan surrounds of the city skyline....  Read More



Fans of Backbooth, rejoice. From the longtime Orlando nightspot's ashes rises Soundbar, offering up the same club/live music mix of events but with some fresh new art and renovations that have opened up the space quite a bit. Whether you're...  Read More



Like EDM? The Attic's been serving electronic beats up in one of downtown's best parties since 2010 " and in an altogether more intimate setting that your usual sprawling, anonymous club. Dare we say warm? We do! With a popular local DJ in...  Read More



Eve is a posh, elegant space with a design that incorporates elements both warm and sleek, pairing exposed brick with glittery chandeliers and walls and sumptuous lighting that comes together quite beautifully. Several distinct atmospheres " a...  Read More



Consistently voted a favorite live-music venue by critics and locals alike, the Social's laid-back vibe, efficient barkeeps and relatively intimate space draws an eclectic crowd of music lovers, be it blues, folk, rock, metal, reggae.... Really,...  Read More

Mills 50


Serving up drinks and live music to Orlando locals thirsty for both for 15-plus years, Will's is something of a petri dish for indie music, a come-as-you-are joint if ever there was that has played host to burgeoning acts of all stripes. Recent...  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


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster...  More About A.D.