Besides signature restaurants and quick service dining, Walt Disney World is home to many bars and lounges that are ideal places for grown-up guests to take a break or have a light meal. Below are a few of the top bars and lounges to visit while at WDW, including picks at resorts, parks, and Disney Springs.
Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar
Located in the Italy pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase, the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar is an oasis in the middle of the park. When you step inside it takes your eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness, then you notice dark wood tables, comfortable lounge sofas, and a cave-like atmosphere. The menu includes an extensive wine list, cocktails, and foods including Italian appetizers and desserts. For maximum enjoyment try a wine flight with three different wines organized around a theme (white, reds, or sparkling). The cast members can offer recommendations as they are well versed in the characteristics and provenance of the beverages. One word of advice – it’s really, really dark. So be prepared to use your phone as a flashlight to read the menus.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is everything you want a tiki bar to be. It’s dripping with décor. The drinks (alcoholic and non-) are flights of fancy served in souvenir glasses. And the cast members are enthusiastic about being part of what is possibly Walt Disney World’s most popular lounge scene. The Grog Grotto has a split personality, as early in the evening it admits guests of all ages. After 8 p.m., though, all guests must be over the age of 21. For those who want to play pirate, the treasure hunt begins with finding Trader Sam’s in the first place, as the entrance is at the end of a corridor in the Polynesian Village Resort, behind a barely-marked door.
Having drinks and appetizers in the lounge of the California Grill is an amazing way to sample this signature restaurant on a budget and without an ADR. To visit the lounge, approach the California Grill check-in stand on the lower level of the Contemporary Resort and tell them you’d like to have a drink at the restaurant bar. Once in the restaurant, scout for a lounge table or barstool and pull up a seat. You can order off of the regular dinner menu, or save some money by splitting appetizers (our server even volunteered to split a serving of lobster bisque soup for us). The full wine list of California Grill is available in the lounge, as well as beers and cocktails. If you time your visit just right you can cap off the evening by watching Wishes from the roof deck of the Contemporary. The lounge space can be busy, but tables also turn over quickly as people with ADRs order drinks then vacate their seats for the main dining area. It’s definitely worth checking to see if you can grab a seat for an impromptu but special Disney experience.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
The reinvention of Disney Springs has brought several unique dining locations that show off the best of Disney theming, and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is no exception. Built in tribute to Jock Lindsey, a pilot featured in the Indiana Jones movies, the hangar is stuffed with items from Indy’s world. Look hard enough and you’ll spot the head of the Staff of Ra, as well as a very special golden idol. The drink menu is a departure from the standard Disney cocktail list, with some signature drinks involving quality bourbon and other spirits. The Hangar Bar also offers a menu of bar bites. Don’t miss ordering the soft pretzels with dipping sauces, which come zooming to the table on board an airplane. With seating indoors or outside overlooking the water, the Hangar Bar is a great place to drink and eat at Disney Springs.
Territory Lounge, located in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, is a cozy, clubby room filled with rustic furniture and a dark wood bar. They serve the standard Walt Disney World cocktail menu, a variety of wines, beers, and liquors, and a comprehensive snack and dessert menu. The charcuterie tray includes well-curated cheeses and some delicious meats. And there’s fondue! It’s a great place to curl up in a comfy chair with a whisky on the rocks, enjoying quiet conversation in one of Disney’s most atmospheric resorts.
La Cava del Tequila
Hot days are made for margaritas, but sometimes you want to drink one out of the sun. Located inside the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, La Cava del Tequila offers margaritas that are a step above the frozen slush available elsewhere in the park. The bar lives up to its name by serving a wide selection of tequilas. The Mexico pavilion in general is a great place to get out of the Florida heat. After your drink, take a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Margarita + boat ride = successful afternoon.
Photos by Brent Shannon