If your dad is anything like mine, you don't want to overthink things for Father's Day (Sunday). It just so happens that the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will battle it out in game 5 of the NBA finals on that day. Take this as a sign. After Dad is done admiring that new golf club/novelty tie/ratchet set, he'll want to relax and enjoy the game.
If you're looking for some quality time over a quality beer or two, here's your chance. Orlando's best sports bars are gearing up for both the finals and Father's Day. Here's where to take advantage of the hospitality.
For a neighborhood feel with just enough frills, take a visit to Ollie's Public House (3400 Edgewater Drive, Orlando). The casual but distinctive pub sits on the old location of Jax 5th Ave. pub and deli. Big shoes to fill, but Ollie's is walking tall so far with plenty of big-screen TVs, a solid sandwich menu and a welcoming patio. If Dad's tastes run to the mainstream, the $2 Yuengling drafts are a go-to option, and the $5 Drunken Arnolds (Seagram's Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade) will fit the weather and the game just fine.
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6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746, USA
3076 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806, USA
3400 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804, USA
150 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
4882 New Broad Street, Orlando, FL 32814, USA
2414 East Robinson Street, Orlando, FL 32803, USA
9145 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, FL 32832, USA
Dedicated sports bars seem to have a rough time in the downtown area (RIP Versus and Primetime Sports Bar), so let's try not to jinx Frank & Steins (150 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando), which seems to be doing OK so far. Small wonder: Is there anything more Dad-friendly than a build-your-own hot dog menu? The massive draft selection also doesn't hurt, with a labeling guide that helps guide craft-beer rookies through the choices. Even when there's no game on, you can make your own with a shelf of tabletop board games.
For real interactivity, there's CaddyShanks (4882 New Broad St., Orlando). Here, too, is an impressive beer selection with a rotating array of drafts. While there is no food on the menu, the staff will fetch and serve from neighboring restaurants. But the real highlight is the in-house games, including two big-screen virtual golf simulators ($20 per hour) that will take you and Dad through a few holes without that annoying sand in your shoes.
If you're anywhere near the Kissimmee area, no sports fan can refuse a visit to Wreckers (6000 W. Osceola Parkway at Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee). Talk about overkill: The highlight at this two-story bar and eatery is the pair of 33-foot mega-screen TVs, typically divided into subsections to please even fans of ESPN's most esoteric fare. Draft selection is capable, and be sure to try the massive pulled pork nachos ($16).
In the Lake Nona area, Nona Tap Room (9145 Narcoossee Road, Orlando) has been scoring high with thirsty dads since 2010, even in the off-season for sports. Clean and cozy, the Tap Room somehow makes space for a staggering 50 beers on draft ($4-$6), with hearty crafts such as Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout in rotation with Miller Lite and other domestic standbys. The food is a true highlight, with a simple but well-presented selection of jalapeno poppers and bratwurst sandwiches that earned the kitchen the Reader's Choice award for best bar menu in our 2012 Foodie Awards. Even better, Dads get half-price entrees on Father's Day with the purchase of another entree.
Back in Orlando's Milk District, you can grab a beer with the regulars at Sportstown Billiards (2414 E. Robinson St.). This venerable bar lives up to its name, with plenty of games to be found both on the big-screens and off. Air hockey, table tennis and a full array of pool tables are all there to help you work off your beers from the solid and reasonably priced selection. Dads who don't smoke may want to keep clear: This place has been a smoking bar since its inception in 1958.
Finally, I have a new favorite south Orlando hangout at Rogue Pub (3076 Curry Ford Road). The open feel, pool tables and numerous big-screens will ease even the staunchest Bud-drinking dads into the craft-beer menu, Rogue's biggest strength. Drop by on one of the "tap takeover" nights to sample a flight of beers from breweries such as Southern Tier or Bell's.
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