More Than a Mouse™
There’s nothing like a family vacation, but sometimes the adults in the group want to head out on their own. If this is what you’re after, then you’re in luck because there’s no place like Downtown Orlando for a great night on the town.
So, it was a long day at the theme parks, but great news, the younger kids are worn out and ready to call it a night. Now the older kids can leave the parents at home (or vice versa, whichever works) and look for something more geared to their own age. You’ll quickly find that there isn’t a more eclectic mix of nightlife options than in Downtown Orlando.
Parking is Easy
It’s certainly not as hard to navigate downtown as people say it is. Get on I-4, get off I-4 and it’s just that easy. Parking is also a breeze. For tonight’s adventure, you’ll want to drop the car off at the Church Street Lot at 150 South Hughey Ave or the Garland Lot at 109 W. Pine Street. You’ll also want to make your night out a Friday, since you’ll have the most fun without paying weekend prices. Then head straight down the world renown Church Street.
Start with Dessert
Since you’ve probably already had dinner, a nice snack is a great way to start your evening. There is no better person to see in downtown than Patti Schmidt, owner of the world famous sweet shop The Dessert Lady at 120 W. Church Street.
They make the best Lemon Rum Cake I’ve ever tasted, but my all time favorite is their authentic and delicious New York Cheesecake. They also have some great cocktails, an extensive wine list and awesome coffee drinks. There truly is no better place than The Dessert Lady to get your night off on the right foot. They are open on Friday until 12 am, but since you’re making a night of it, I’d recommend spending your 9 pm to 10 pm hour here before heading further down Church Street.
Looking Good at Club 23 Orlando
I guess it’s an appropriate time to mention, that when I go out, I like to look good. Yes it’s a personal decision. I mean I could just wear my gym shorts and a t-shirt and still look fine. (Well, better than fine!) But I choose not to. My point is, there are these things called dress codes. Society has them so there aren’t a bunch of naked people running in the streets. Clubs have them so you won’t have to encounter the same smell coming from the next stool over as comes from the next seat over on the bus. Places with dress codes are not prissy, they’re posh and they are worth your time. One such place is less than two blocks ahead of you, just look for number 23 as you walk down Church Street. Named for its street address, 23 W. Church Street, Club 23 Orlando is what some might call pretentioius but what I like to call trendy.
I like to think of this club as the perfect midway point of a great Friday night. Sure, there’s a $10 cover, which you can avoid if you get there early enough, but you know what you’re getting into for that money. It’s a more upscale clientele that serve to make the environment inviting and more high-end than a lot of the other downtown venues. 23 oozes with old world charm, from the narrow staircase you have to climb to get in, to the long curvy bar, to the large plush couches and warm wood décor, this place is definitely more lounge than club. Thus it makes sense as a midway point. Sit down, grab a couple martinis or any of their excellent beer imports and let your dessert digest. The DJ’s in here do spin some great tracks, so by all means, feel free to dance, but it is a smaller place so there’s not a lot of room. Which is why, at midnight, it is time to head back downstairs and on to the third and final stop of the night.
Rockin’ at the Rok
Exclusivity is one of those traits that always seems to make everything more attractive. If something is rare or not overly know, than it becomes more valuable or more desirable. The same can be said of places. For example, if you’ve never been to Paris, but you’ve seen it on the Travel Channel then it makes you want to go. It’s even worse if you know someone who’s been there because all they talk about is what a great time they had. Now, I’d never suggest flying to Paris to cap off your night in Orlando, although it’s not the worst idea, but I can guarantee you’ll have bragging rights with most of your friends when you tell them you stopped at the Rok Room during your Orlando vacation. Located at 41 W. Church Street, this is a true hidden gem and one of those places you’d never find unless you knew to look for it.
Tucked neatly down a short alley, Rok Room is not your typical Church Street Bar. That is to say, you get a different blend of music than you do at most places. Rok Room lives up to its name. Huge pictures of rock and roll legends adorn the walls and the décor is chic but edgy. There’s no cover, so that’s a plus, and the drinks aren’t over priced. It’s a great place to end the evening because you can dance to some truly unique mashups of 80’s rock over modern hip hop or sit on the comfy white couches and have a conversation without losing your voice. This place fills up fast after midnight, so time your arrival, but don’t worry too much, because they usually keep the music playing until after 2 am every night. Overall, Rok Room is an experience, the light, the sound, it’s unique and a real must see.
B Safe B4 U Go!
One more important tip as you head home, make sure to use your designated driver. DUI’s are not only expensive, they’ll probably ruin those happy memories you made at Magic Kingdom ealier that day. Remember, even though you’re on vacation, jail cells are not good alternative accommodations, even if you are trying to save a little money.
So, on your next trip, don’t feel bad about “taking a little me time.” By which I mean “take me with you” as you head to downtown Orlando for some good old fashioned nighttime fun.