'Sláinte' and Cheers! Perfect Pints at Orlando's Top Pubs



If the road is rising up to meet you, it's probably time to call a cab. But in the event you're fresh and ready for a good pint of Guinness, a round or two of darts, an impromptu jam of Irish trad or to watch Stoke score right at the death to finish Arsenal, do we have the list for you. Orlando's pubs, English and Irish, are havens for rollicking good times, whether you're enjoying dance, drink, music and leveled-up fare at Disney's Raglan Road or out in Clermont, enjoying the company of locals and some hearty traditional fare at Devenney's Irish Pub. This selection features family-friendly havens, venerable and (we'll be polite) lovingly worn favorites and those that qualify as both depending on where you sit and what time you come in. Epcot's World Showcase is home to the Rose & Crown, while Universal Studios Florida boasts theme-park favorite Finnegan's. The Bull & Bush has been slaking the Milk District's thirst since long before the neighborhood became an arty enclave. And downtown's lovely Harp & Celt is a hybrid pub and restaurant that's as suitable for a large family brunch as it is for an afternoon footie match or a fun night out with friends. 



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Sit-down, full-service dining within a theme park is semi-rare. The sort you'd go out of your way to recommend, rarer still. Finnegan's is just such a place, serving up simple Irish-American fare (be sure to sample the soda bread and apple butter your server will bring) in a friendly, casual atmosphere that will whisk you out of the thrill-ride fray for a cooling respite " especially if you partake of their robust beer, beer cocktail or specialty drink menu. House favorites at Finnegan's include Irish fish and chips and the Kilkenny pot pie but the menu is large, diverse and hearty.


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Rose & Crown Dining Room


 

Okay, so it's not England. But it is Epcot's famous World Showcase, so you know they bring their A-game. This family-friendly haunt showcases a selection of British beers, ciders and more, along with live music and a cheery sensibility. Staffers, like the fare and drink, are generally as British as they come (would you expect any less at Walt Disney World?). Fish and chips, cottage pie and more round out the decidedly English menu. Can't break free of the theme-park gravity on your Disney visit? The Rose & Crown should do well in satisfying your craving for bangers and mash. Stay for sticky toffee pudding or take advantage of "Disney geography" and have glace in Paris for dessert!


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Scotch eggs, shepherd's pie and smoking allowed! There's three things that may turn you on. Or off, we suppose. But proponents of the Bull & Bush (even those less enthused about the latter) have naught but good things to say. Its extensive beer menu features English favorites like Smithwicks, Newcastle and Old Speckled Hen, and its bottles (Lagunitas, Erie, Cigar City) will sate craft beer fans without fuss. This bar's been around since '87 and the trendy Milk District has evolved into such around it. Pop in for a game of darts, quiz or comedy night, or just grab a pint and decompress. The beer is cold, the company's good and the atmosphere is right for relaxation.


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In business in charming little Tudor-style digs since 1984, this Big Brother of a bar has overseen many good times in Kissimmee since then, enjoying long-running status as a favorite British pub in the neighborhood, but cheerily welcomes tourists, as well, showing the world that Orlando's friendliness reaches well beyond the perimeters of the parks " one pint at a time. Pop in for its rousing, regular karaoke nights or roll in for a football match. You'll find the British and American varieties on the screens here, along with trivia night, ladies night and Thirsty Thursday, when it's Happy Hour all day long!


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You will not find food at Lizzy's. You will, however, find booze-infused pudding " a rotating roster of more than 40 flavors, in fact " at this narrow, smoky and decidedly convivial hangout. Pop in for a pre-show drink if you're headed out to the Social (right across the street) or camp out for friendly chat with the barkeeps and a whiskey-spiked coffee. Or, you know, just the whiskey. This is definitely that kind of a place. Looking for a solid happy hour? Lizzy's has six of them! Specials run daily from 2-8 p.m., including $1 off draft and can beer and $4 house wines. You may want a pudding shot after that. Those'll run you $5, but they come with a spoon and a generous dollop of whipped cream on top.


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The Orlando outpost of this British-style pub-restaurant franchise is conveniently located in the touristy corridor of I-Drive (and notably ensconced in the Pointe Orlando shopping-dining-entertainment center), well within walking distance of a preponderance of hotels. Even so, you'll find locals frequenting this bar/restaurant, as well. Its large menu of American and British pub fare, vast beer selection and casual atmosphere make it a popular choice. Happy hour brings with it additional benefits. Running Monday through Friday, 3-7 p.m., specials include $3 Schooner drafts, $4 Three Olive vodka and premium wells, $5 wines and $6 specialty martinis. Even better, its surprisingly large Happy Hour apps menu has selections at $3.95 a pop.


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Good craic at Devenney's, which would suit just fine as the living, breathing definition of "family-friendly neighborhood pub." Kids are welcome in the pubs in the Old Country; so, too, are they here, where you might catch a World Cup match for fun but could just as easily pop in for a pint and a Scotch egg or sausage roll. Devenney's many regulars love the traditional pub food in fine portions but are just as fond of the friendly service. Staffers here make everyone feel as though this pub is theirs, right from the first visit. They'll slake your thirst for sure, but come hungry and you'll really enjoy the experience, from the fish and chips to the steak-and-Guinness pie.


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You don't even have to walk into Fiddler's Green to get a sense of its cheery Irish spirit. Walking distance from Rollins College and close to the multitude of dining and nightlife options on Park Ave., this venerable pub is known for its Car Bombs, corned beef and cabbage and cold pints of Guinness. It's not just another college bar, however. A regular slate of live musicians makes it a far-and-wide local favorite, as well. It's even been featured on the Food Network. There's plenty of room for socializing at the bar but ample table choices if you're looking for a quieter night out. Versatile, comfortable, hospitable: Fiddler's Green is a fine choice.


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Disney Springs ®


 

Cold pints and warm, festive vibe are always on tap at Raglan Road, which isn't lying when it calls itself a genuine Irish pub. In fact, the whole place was built in Ireland and then shipped to Orlando where it was lovingly reassembled to the delight of locals and visitors alike. Think of it as Disney magic with a little help from the leprechauns. On the menu: a selection of hearty fare with some modern spins on Irish classics like shepherd's pie, fish and chips and a mixed grill featuring a lamb chop, steak, a Guinness banger, black pudding and bacon. Beer flights let you sample what the Irish are brewing along with a host of other fine draughts.


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Family-owned and family-friendly, this venerable downtown favorite is half pub (the Celt), half restaurant (the Harp) and a 100 percent Orlando-area favorite. The Harp and Celt is a wonderful venue whether you're dropping in for a happy hour pint with co-workers, a crowd that's fit for footie or a full Irish breakfast with your friends and family. Its full bar, with a complete selection of beers and malt whiskeys, complements a menu rife with pub favorites: fish and chips, sausage rolls and steak and mushroom pie, along with some surprising dishes and American standards.


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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.

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