Orlando Rock Guide

The Skinny Orlando’s not exactly the most rocking city you’ll find. The musical legacy is really more centered around Boy Bands, but whether you live in O-Town or you are visiting the City Beautiful, odds are you’ll find some good rock and roll most days of the week. There’s also a decent new music scene emerging with plenty of venues featuring aspiring new bands.
Best Barns The City actually has a few great Rock and Roll venues, one of the nice advantages to being in a tourism mecca.  Here are our favorites:

  • The Social – a small local bar where many emerging bands got their first taste of Orlando. It’s small, cramped and packed – just right for us…
  • The Plaza Theatre – a converted movie theater near downtown. Read our review of the Plaza here.
  • HOB Orlando – high quality venue in Downtown Disney and they have a great eclectic selection of bands. Get there early, as all shows are GA, and there are a limited number of good viewing locations.
  • Amway Center – it’s one of the most modern arenas in the country.  A good place to catch a big show.
Local Bands Well, there’s Matchbox Twenty, and Rob Thomas without Matchbox Twenty, and well, that’s about it… If you really stretch the metro area and include Gainesville 90 miles to the North, we’re able to add Classic Rocker Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and one of today’s best punk bands, Against Me!
Tractor Tunes Typical big city mediocrity.

  • 96.5 FM  WHTQ Classic Rock
  • 98.9 FM WMMO Soft Rock of the 70’s
  • 101.1 FM WJRR Hard Alternative Rock
  • 104.1 FM WTKS Plays Random Rock on weekends only
Get Your Feedbag On Orlando has every major chain you can think of and an immense amount of great restaurants at the many resorts around town. These are our favorite local joints

  • Delfrisco’s – Orlando has every major steakhouse chain within the city limits. This place is better than all of the rest, and the atmosphere is better. Nothing stuffy about this amazing restaurant, but it is not a cheap date. Get the NY Strip.
  • Le Coq Au Vin – Country French – this place looks like a dive from outside and it is not in the most glamorous part of town, but they have the best chefs in the area. Gourmet food, reasonable prices, laid back atmosphere.
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse – unquestionably the best Barbecue place in this part of the state. Beef Brisket is killer and the bacon wrapped jalapenos fantastic. Prepare to stand in line for awhile, but it is worth the wait. Very casual, and great staff…
Watering Holes Once in awhile, when there’s no live music in town, you might want to wander out to a local bar for one bourbon, one scotch or a beer. Here are the places tht you’re likely to bump into fellow RARA’s.:

  • Wally’s – Their T-Shirts claim: “A Bar, A Party,” and it is one, from 7:30 AM every day. Wally’s has been around forever and is charming, in the way only a dark, smoky, smelly dive bar can be. They pour their drinks very stiffly and welcome guests as though they were long-time friends.
  • Red Fox Lounge – this one is outside the city in Winter Park, but believe me, it is worth the trip. You’ll see blue hairs, buzz cuts and mohawks in Orlando’s most eclectic mix, and they are all there to check out the infamous lounge act of Mark and Lorna. That’s all I’ll say other than you have to see it to believe it!
  • Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom. This one is in the tourist friendly Universal City Walk complex.  It’s set-up like a local bar in Jamiaca, and features great reggae music.  It’s not a cheap date, but it’s a fun night out.
Other Activities Well, you know about all of theme parks. Disney has four, Universal has 2 and Sea World has 2. We won’t try to convince you not to try them, but here are a few other cool options:

  • Gatorland – it’s one of the “Old Florida” attractions that is still kicking, despite a massive fire a few years ago.  It’s a fun way to spend a few hours, and a lot cheaper than the big places. You can now zip-line over an alligator filled pond, and if you survive you get to sample some local gator recipes.
  • Disneyquest – it’s across from House of Blues and costs about $40.  They’ve got some cool Disney virtual attractions, but they’ve also got a slew of vintage video games and pinball machines, which are included in the price. Plus, it is air conditioned.
  • Golf – Orlando has some amazing golf courses.  Next time you are in town, check a few out, maybe you’ll bump into Hootie or Alice. We recommend Orange County National.

Contributors: Cretin

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