Universal Orlando has some amazing resort properties with entertaining night life, tasty food options and unique drinks. And you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy them! Welcoming locals and hotel guests, each resort on property has fun bars and speciality drinks. Try a bar hop or stick to one resort for a night of fun.
Some bar crawl itineraries to try are:
- Bar American for a cozy, laid back vibe with hand crafted drinks followed by a walk across the street to Velvet Bar to soak up the rock ‘n roll atmosphere.
- Swizzle Lounge for drinks, followed by Strong Water Tavern across the street for drinks, live music and appetizers. End the night at Bar 17 Bistro, a rooftop bar with gorgeous views and a DJ spinning the latest hits.
Check out our recommended stops below, and then craft a custom itinerary for your next night out. As always, please drink responsibly and have a designated driver or utilize a ride share service like Uber or Lyft. Better yet, make it a staycation and do an overnight at one of the hotels.
Bar American – Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Located at the beautiful Italian-inspired Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Bar American has great vibes. This cozy bar is a welcoming place to escape from the noise. It features hand-crafted drinks, a laid back ambience and old Americana decor. You can be as dressed up or dressed down and feel like you are in the right place. It’s got the welcoming feel of a bar where everybody knows your name. Stephen Spielberg had a hand in designing this hotel and this bar was meant to resemble what an American bar in Italy would be like.
Recommended drinks: Try their Champagne Cocktail if you like the bubbles. Another popular bubbly drink is the Bellini with strawberry rhubarb. For a classic, try the Old Fashioned (ask for Kevin’s special). They also have a wide selection of martinis, bourbon and whiskey.
Highlighted bar snack: The cheese board features a diverse assortment and is perfect for sharing.
Velvet Bar – Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Velvet Bar is located in the swanky Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, where you’ll feel like Aerosmith is about to walk in the door at any second. Their menu features a little bit of everything with a selection of crafted creations. This bar has multiple TVs so you can catch the latest game while you enjoy a drink or two. The bar is also home to Velvet Sessions, a rock n’ roll cocktail party and rock concert event in one.
Recommended drinks: Popular drinks include the Backwood Margarita which has bourbon instead of tequila. Their China Girl Martini is a fan favorite with Three Olives Pomegranate Vodka, cranberry juice, cucumber and St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur. Try the Pop Rocks martini from the secret menu!
Highighted bar snack: Mac and cheese nuggets!
Orchid Court Lounge – Loews Royal Pacific Resort
The Orchid Court Lounge is located at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. It has beautiful Polynesian decor and plenty of tropical drinks on the menu to make you feel like you’ve escaped to the islands for the night. They have a full sushi bar that you can enjoy at the bar or in the lounge. Live music on weekend nights sets the mood for a very relaxing evening.
Recommended drinks: The most popular drink is the signature Royal Orchid Mai Tai, which is like a rum punch with pineapple juice and many other fruity flavors. Just a sip takes you to your own tropical paradise. Another fruity and fun drink is the Tropical Escape which has Riesling, Gran Marnier, Peach Schnapps and fresh fruit.
Highlighted bar snack: Edamame.
Swizzle Lounge – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Inside Universal’s Cabana Bay you can step back in time and enjoy a drink at the Swizzle Lounge. This retro bar features live music on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8-11pm. The bar has TVs playing the latest sports games.
Recommended drinks: Their new drink, The Greenhouse, is unique and hip. With gin, lemon, honey and lavender syrup it is a total conversation starter. For a nice after-dinner drink option, try the Toasted Coconut Russian. It is a delicious mixture of coffee rum, coco rum and Baileys.
Highlighted bar snack: Chicken wings in many different sauces (try the sweet chili).
Strong Water Tavern – Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Right across the street from Cabana Bay is Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. This gorgeous resort has a little bit of everything, from tropical vibes to pirate bars.
Strong Water Tavern is rustic and beautiful, with multiple seating areas, standard TVs and a large screen for watching your favorite game. Pictures do not do this place justice. It definitely sticks out as far as cool vibes go. There is live music on weekend nights that draws a nice crowd. With indoor and outdoor seating options, this tavern has something for everyone.
Recommended drinks: You’ll want to check out the extensive rum list which is quite impressive. Or, try one of the signature drinks like the rum mule, which incorporates house-made ginger beer. Rum flights are a popular choice and are separated by region. These are a fun way to try a bit of everything.
Highlighted bar snack: Cuban Spring Rolls.
Bar 17 Bistro – Universal’s Aventura Hotel
End the night on a high note at the new Aventura Hotel. Bar 17 Bistro is their rooftop bar with breathtaking 360-degree views of Orlando. They have a DJ that plays a pretty good variety of music Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 pm – midnight.
Recommended drinks: With plenty of drink options, there is something for everyone. The Volcano View is made with whiskey, lemon and shiso. It is perfect if you are looking for a drink with a punch. The Dew Point Hooligan is a mix of sake, lemon, cucumber, soda and raspberry. It makes for a refreshing and fizzy delight!
Highlight bar snack: Order a pizza before heading home. You can find the pizza counter on the first floor of the hotel!
One thing to love about the Universal resorts is that many are within walking distance. And for those that aren’t, just hop on the free water taxi (Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay, Sapphire Falls and Royal Pacific) or shuttle buses (all hotels, including Cabana Bay and Aventura). Both free transportation options travel to and from CityWalk (perfect for a dinner + drinks or dessert crawl).
Check out the transportation info in this Universal Orlando blog for more information.
Parking Validation Policies
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
- With a minimum spend of $25 at Trattoria del Porto, Mama Della’s Ristorante, Sal’s, Bar American or Thirsty Fish, self-parking is complimentary and valet is $5 plus tax.
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
- With a minimum spend of $25 at Velvet Bar, self-parking is complimentary and valet is $5 plus tax.
- Self-parking and valet are complimentary when visiting The Kitchen or The Palm Restaurant.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- With a visit to any outlet, self-parking is complimentary and valet is $5 plus tax.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- With a minimum spend of $25 at Amatista Cookhouse, Strong Water Tavern or Caribbean Carnaval, self-parking is complimentary and valet is $5 plus tax.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- With a minimum spend of $25 at Swizzle Lounge or Galaxy Bowll, self-parking is $5.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- With a minimum spend of $25 at any outlet, self-parking is complimentary.
All images by Stephanie Machado unless otherwise noted
Disclosure: writer was hosted by Universal. Various beverages were provided at no cost to the writer.