Downtown Orlando is packed full of nightlife options, from quaint hole-in-the-wall bars that serve a mix of regulars and tourists to giant live music arenas and all-out nightclubs. Most of the nightlife options on Downtown Orlando are centred on the buzzing Orange Avenue and Church Street, though plenty of establishments are spread out for a few blocks in every direction.

    Downtown Orlando bars and clubs certainly have a less commercial feel to them when compared with nightlife in Disney World and Universal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you find find a few theme park tourists passing through, mixing with the city’s locals and some university students. It certainly makes for an interesting and varied crowd!

    Wall Street Plaza – right in the heart of Downtown – offers a more ‘local’ experience compared to other nightlife areas in Orlando. This entertainment complex promises a fun mix of laidback restaurants, lively bars, and all-out nightclubs. Head to Hooch for their happy hour (4pm to 7pm) and alfresco setting, Monkey Bar for cheap and delicious martinis, Sideshow for feel-good American food and live sports, and end your night at Shine, a cheesy yet hugely popular nightclub.

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    Location: 25 Wall St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Phone: +1 407-849-0471


    Aero Rooftop Bar & Lounge

    Aero Rooftop Bar & Lounge, a hugely popular downtown spot, feels more like an outdoor nightclub than a chilled-out rooftop bar. You’ll certainly get that impression if you arrive close to midnight on a weekend, as DJs fill the terrace with commercial dance tunes and neon lasers are projected into the night sky. Aero’s party atmosphere is helped in no small part by some rather thrifty drinks promos, such as $3.50 "you call its" until 11 (any drink for the same price) and hourly 2-4-1 shots.  A few sofas and tables can be found around the edge. There's no cover charge for Aero Rooftop Bar & Lounge.

    Location: 60 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Thursday from 10 pm to 2 am, Friday–Saturday from 9 pm to 2 am, Sunday from 5 pm to 11.30 pm (closed from Mondays to Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 321-245-7730


    For cocktails, Hanson’s Shoe Repair is about as unique a place as you’ll find in Orlando. This former cobbler’s shop turned speakeasy rooftop bar has only a dozen or so seats and standing space for perhaps 20 more. Take your spot at the dilapidated main bar to chew the fat with the bartender, or head outside to the slightly more modern (but still as compact) rooftop terrace to catch a live band or movie screening. Be sure to explore Hanson’s impressive cocktail menu – it’s rated as one of the best in the city.

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    Location: 27 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday and Saturday from 8 pm to 2 am, Friday from 5 pm to 2 am, Sunday from 3 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-476-9446


    EVE Orlando has a main clubroom upstairs that goes big on style, both in terms of décor and the crowd it seems to attract. The giant glass chandelier above the dance floor is the focal point, while an LED wall, TV screens, and many VIP booths add to the appeal. There’s a cool 400-sq-ft balcony overlooking the busy Orange Avenue below – one of the most popular nightlife streets in town – while an equally stylish lounge downstairs plays more laid-back house music compared to the dance anthems in the main EVE room.

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    Location: 110 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Monday from 10 pm to 2 am, Wednesday from 9 pm to 2 am, Thursday from 10 pm to 2 am, Friday–Saturday from 10 pm to 2.30 am, Sunday from 7 pm to 1 am (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 407-602-7462


    The Beacham is a bit of a nightlife institution in Orlando, well-known for throwing huge parties and welcoming live bands and DJs who pack out the enormous venue. Set in a converted old theatre on North Orange Avenue, the main room is equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting, with the main stage having welcomed the likes of 50 Cent, Flo Rider, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto and David Guetta. Drinks promos and themed events run every week. Just be sure to check out their website or Facebook before your visit to see what's going on.

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    Location: 46 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 2.30 am, Saturday from 5 pm to 2.30 am

    Phone: +1 407-648-8363


    Amway Center is home to Orlando’s 3 major sports teams: the Orlando Magic of the NBA, the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League, and the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL (ice hockey). Opened in 2010, seating arrangements and the floor plan at this multi-purpose venue can be transformed from a live music hall into a basketball court, ice hockey rink and an indoor football pitch. 

    Not surprisingly, it’s the Orlando Magic (who play in the NBA) that normally packs out the Amway Center when they play their home games. Locals and tourists flock to the 20,000-capacity stadium for a chance to watch some of the biggest basketball stars in the world in action.

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    Location: 400 W Church St #200, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Phone: +1 407-440-7900


    photo by Ray Villalobos (CC BY 2.0) modified

    The Attic is one of the many top night spots located around the Church Street and Lake Eola Park area of Downtown. The large club follows the 3-in-1 concept of most other places nearby, with a bar area, VIP lounge and main club room. Attic welcomes local DJs and the occasional international name, and one thing you can be certain of is that it’ll be back-to-back EDM anthems all night long. There’s a definite VIP vibe throughout the club, attracting a young, dressed-up crowd on weekends. The interior goes for the more underground, industrial look with a nice mix of exposed brick walls behind the DJ booth and a wooden slate-covered dance floor.

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    Location: 68 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 10 pm to 2 am (closed from Sundays to Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 407-403-1161


    TIER is one of the leading nightclubs in Orlando for electronic dance music and is located near a cluster of similar venues a block or so away from Lake Eola Park in Downtown. The emphasis here is really is on the live DJs, with the whole club focusing on the central DJ booth. The compact dance floor at the front is surrounded by a few booths, and there’s also an upstairs level providing more dancing space and a few more VIP booths. To get the full TIER experience, its best to head here around midnight on a weekend night.

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    Location: 20 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10.30 pm to 2.30 am (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 407-222-9732


    One80 Skytop Lounge

    One80 Skytop Lounge is a see-and-be-seen kind of place – undeniably stylish and glamorous, but with prices to match. The good news, however, is that unlike many of Orlando’s other rooftop bars, there are actually some impressive views to be had across the Downtown area, which can be enjoyed from a range of comfy seating both inside and out. Do watch out for the crowds of basketball fans heading up to the lounge after the Magic games finish in the arena below, normally every other week.

    Location: Amway Center, 400 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32805, USA

    Open: Mondays and Wednesday–Saturday from 10 pm to 2.30 am (closed on Sundays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 407-913-0180

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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