Mathers Social Gathering: Parlor Chic

Mathers Social Gathering is all about enjoying the finer things in life.

Mathers’ décor is vintage eclectic

MarIah Wild

At first glance, the old Mather Building doesn’t look at all remarkable. However, its story—and what’s inside—is quite unique. Originally built as a furniture store, this 162-year-old structure was the only place left standing after a fire swept through downtown Orlando in 1884. Since it rose from the ashes, quite literally, it was aptly renamed The Phoenix Building, and today it is home to one of the most unusual speakeasies in Central Florida: Mathers Social Gathering.

From the moment you arrive at the Magnolia Avenue entrance, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. Downstairs, a dapper bouncer ushers you into the third-floor library via an elevator. But don’t let the library’s modest book-lined interior fool you: Behind one of the shelves is a secret door that leads you through to Mathers Social Gathering. Inside this late 1800s-inspired drinking parlor, there is no detail overlooked. Its founders, the Team Market Group (led by brothers Keith, Romi and Daniel Mawardi), wanted to make the space one of a kind. The brothers began attending auctions and collecting antiques to outfit Mathers from its high, exposed-beam ceilings down to its hardwood floors.

Experienced bartenders mix classic cocktails. (MARIAH WILD)

The swanky 4,500-square-foot space is filled with plush leather couches and Oriental rugs. Its brick walls are lined with throwback pictures of downtown Orlando, and there’s an expansive bar with booze-filled shelves where you’re sure to find something to sip. The suspender-wearing craft bartenders are trained to mix cocktails to your liking. They can also guide you through Mathers’ curated drink menu that features classics like an Old Fashioned to of-the-moment recipes such as The Grand Frosé. For large groups, try one of the social potions like the Bourbon Berry or Blueberry Basil Gimlet that can serve up to eight people.

Mathers Social Gathering
4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Happy Hour
4-7 p.m.
30 S. Magnolia Ave.
Orlando 32801

Beyond libations, Mathers serves a selection of light bites such as caprese skewers, cheese or charcuterie boards, and the Prohibition Milk & Cookies (a spin on the classic dessert that includes a shot of whiskey). You can also check out the Mathers General Store, which sells books and magazines, vintage trinkets and knickknacks, candy and fresh floral arrangements. Additionally, the General Store serves up seasonal on-tap cocktails as well as absinthe for the more adventurous drinker.

Another unique aspect of Mathers Social Gathering is its quality entertainment. With weekly wine tastings and live music—from an electric violinist to a jazz trio—there’s always something to enhance the patron’s experience. Since opening the bar last May, the Mathers team has produced epic parties in which it transforms the club’s interior. Guest favorites include Mathers Things (a Stranger Things-themed Halloween fête) to The 1922 (a Roaring ’20s New Year’s Eve bash).

“We like to do things out of the box,” explains event and marketing director Holly Spears. “That’s what makes this place so amazing. We care so much about the quality of everything we do here.”

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