Northern Exposure

A hub of activity, Colonial TownPark gives Lake Mary life after dark.



Lake Mary might be a bedroom community, but it’s not the sleepy burb that it used to be after the sun goes down. Residents here have options for nightlife, with many of the hottest hangouts north of Winter Park clustered near each other in Colonial TownPark, an upscale retail-entertainment development just off S.R. 46A and I-4.

I live up this way, so Colonial TownPark is a convenient hub of restaurants and bars similar to southwest Orlando’s Restaurant Row but on a much smaller scale and all in one place. The crowd is WASPy and middle-class, ranging in age from 30 to 60. I’ve sampled the bar scene here, a mix of chain and locally based concepts that are typical of what you find in affluent suburbs.
I started a Saturday night at The Vineyard Wine Company (thevineyardwinecompany.com), an independently owned lounge that serves tapas-style food that pairs nicely with the 50-plus wines sold by the glass. Wine, however, isn’t the only alcohol it serves; beer and mixed drinks are available, the latter unique for a wine bar. The room is cozy, with dim lighting and a brick fireplace setting an intimate mood for conversation. The space has “first date” written all over it, but groups of friends are drawn to The Vineyard as well.

While I sipped on a delicious Riesling and noshed on a small plate of bruschetta and a spread of cheese, the sounds of an acoustic guitarist performing Jack Johnson-like tunes at a soft decibel wafted over the buzz of light conversation. This is a great place to start a Saturday night in Lake Mary.  

Just outside The Vineyard are a number of choices for nighttime entertainment in Colonial TownPark. Let’s see, what do I want to do? Dance to garage band music at Dexter’s or check out Liam Fitzpatrick’s or World of Beer, which I hear is the happening place here nowadays.

Yes.

 


 

Bar Hopping

A look at three other pubs in Colonial TownPark

Liam Fitzpatrick’s
It has all the markings of an authentic Irish pub, right down to the replica façade and the crimson double doors.  Dueling pianos on Saturday nights and karaoke nights during midweek create a buzz, but it’s also a family restaurant. 

World of Beer
It’s a chain concept with a sports bar feel to it, but not everyone comes here to watch ball games on flat screens. The Lake Mary WOB (lakemary.
wobusa.com
) is a popular hangout Thursday-Saturday because it features live music. If you’re a beer aficionado, WOB is the place for you, with 500 bottled beers and 40 beers on tap.

Dexter’s
The café-style restaurant gets packed on Friday and Saturday nights with an over-35 crowd that likes to dance to very loud rock tunes played by cover bands. Dexter’s (dexwine.com) has pick-up bar potential for singles, but how anyone can find romance to the sounds of “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” is beyond me.
 

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