Eat + Drink

Ready to Mingle in Orlando? Best Bars for Meeting Locals

Player 1 Video Game Bar (Photo: Rafael Tongol)

Flying solo at bars and clubs is all fine and dandy, but if you’re looking to meet that special someone, even if it is for just a night, a cooperative approach can help you engage with your target in a far more efficient and suitable manner. Typical bars and dance clubs can be too loud and too crowded for the “strength in numbers” strategy, so here’s some advice: Grab your best bud and head to any one of these joints where chatting up locals — and maybe fellow travelers — has its benefits.

Roll With It

orlando-bars-wingman-kings.jpgKings Orlando (Photo: Rafael Tongol)

Kings Orlando ain’t your grandpa’s bowling alley, that’s for sure. There’s plenty of style and swank at this I-Drive fun spot to make it a popular destination for the 21-and-over crowd, particularly after 8 p.m. when Kings solely caters to those of legal drinking age. As great a social sport bowling is, the spacious lounge and bar is where the real mingling happens, usually over a fancy cocktail or craft beer. After striking up a convo, head to one the 22 bowling lanes, and if the ladies you meet happen to be Italian, perhaps some bocce ball outside will help your cause. Food, in case you’re wondering, is hardly an afterthought — when was the last time you ordered maple-glazed sea scallops from a bowling alley?

Are You a Player?

orlando-bars-wingman-player-1-video-game-main.jpgPlayer 1 Video Game Bar (Photo: Rafael Tongol)

In addition to the coin-operated classics of years’ past, Player 1 Video Game Bar, a theme-park area barcade, has the latest consoles (PlayStation 4 and XBOX One) to geek out on, and some fine suds to get your drink on. Bartenders get into cosplay as much as pouring cocktails, sakes, meads, and, of course, craft beers. There an impressive selection of the latter, which rivals that of any dedicated bar in town. Throw in a motion gaming dance floor, and it’s “Game Over” ’cause Player 1 is, arguably, the place for geeks to meet geeks of the opposite sex.

Get Your Game On

orlando-bars-wingman-bart-02.jpgBART (Photo: Rafael Tongol)

Your performance playing a classic arcade game like Pac-Man or Galaga can lead to some high scoring in other areas. BART, in the Mills 50 District, is a hybrid watering hole, arcade and gallery, and the intimate space is dominated by a bar making it conducive for conversationalists. There’s an approachable and down-to-earth vibe — ideal conditions to impress your target with your knowledge of the indie art scene, or your skills handling a joystick. Err, yeah. Did we mention the 100 different bottled and canned brews available? Well, we just did.