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The Complete Drinking Guide to the Amway Center

December 6, 2010

 

Inside of the Mercedes Benz Star Lounge

Since the Amway Center is the new Mecca for Orlando events and entertainment, it is only appropriate that someone map out a guide to the Center’s ability to provide ice-cold adult beverages to the masses.   The below post is dedicated to the most unofficial and semi-accurate account of the intoxicating drinking options provided at the new Amway Center.  Your liver can thank me later.

First and foremost, let me drop the most important fact involved with the entire building: the Amway Center has 135, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE, beer taps.  The capacity for a basketball game is 18,500.  That leaves a ratio of one tap for every 137 ticket holders, and that’s even counting women and children (kidding, kidding to all the Gretchen Wilson women out there).  Below we’ll go on a magical journey through what will become Orlando’s most challenging yet rewarding new pub crawl (if you make it through alive you’ll get a free t-shirt!)

Event Level (1st level):

As soon as you walk through the doors of the Amway Center you immediately arrive at the first stop on the quest towards liquid bliss.  While the Event Level may be low on space, directly in the middle of the two escalators you’ll already find yourself at the building’s first drinking station.  At this spot, you have the option of purchasing wine as well as bottled beers of Heineken, Amstel or Newcastle.  Be sure to have at least a $10 spot handy, as a drink will run at least $9.50 at this fantastically convenient watering hole.  You can also expect to run into plenty of beer vendors ready to sell you aluminum bottles filled with malted barley, hops and water at a cost of $7.25.

Also located on the Event Level is the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge (MBSL).  The MBSL is not open to just any Joe the Plumber fan, so it’ll be tough to cross this one off the pub crawl list.  Unfortunately, you must be a Courtside or Superstar level season ticket holder to gain access to the lounge.  In addition to gaining unparalleled access to Orlando’s supreme wild Cougar habitat, fans lucky enough to enter the MBSL receive an all-inclusive food and beverage package and get sneak peeks of the team as they are running in and out of the locker room.  This is also the best chance for fans to receive autographs or a lucky Mickael Pietrus sweat-drenched towel.

Founders Level (2nd level):

The second level is known as the Founders Level because this is the home of the Founders and Presidents Suites.  The suites have individual servers and special food and beverage packages depending on the suite.  This level is not available to the general public and is only open to ticket holders of the area so it’s another tough one to cross off the list on our pub crawl.  Typical elitists.

Terrace Level (3rd level):

Party time!  This is where all the good stuff starts to become available and where the Amway Center sets itself apart from the old Amway Arena; more importantly it’s where the drinks are plentifully flowing.  It doesn’t matter if you are a classic Budweiser man or if you like your beer a little more on the micro side, everyone can find the drink of their choice on this level.

Right as you step off the West Escalator, you are confronted with one of the two Kona Brewing Company kiosks.  At this stand you can get a bottle or draft of Kona’s signature Longboard Island Lager or one of the Widmer Brothers beers and enjoy a Drifter Pale Ale or Widmer Hefeweizen.  Kona Brewing Company has also been rumored to be opening a permanent bar inside the building in the near future.

The two big draws on the Terrace Level are the Coors Light Mountain Bar and the gigantic Budweiser Baseline Bar.  The Coors Light Mountain Bar offers draft beer (blue-collar prices: $5.25 for a small/$7.50 for a large, premium prices: $6.50/$9.50), bottled beer ($7.25), Turning Leaf wine ($7.75) as well as margaritas ($8.75).  Currently on draft: Harvest Moon, Fosters, Blue Moon, Killians and of course Coors Light.

Located on the South end of the building, the Budweiser Baseline Bar (BBB) is the shining star of the Terrace Level with a full liquor bar, plus beer and wine.  The BBB overlooks the entire lower bowl and even an hour before tipoff, people are lined up across the edge of the glass.  If you are trying to upgrade your $5 seats, I highly suggest you arrive early.  Currently on draft: Budweiser, Bud Light, American Ale, Bud Select, Stella Artois, Shock Top and a Seasonal Pumpkin Ale ($5.25/$7.50, premium $6.50/$9.50).  Available bottles: Bud Light Wheat, Michelob Ultra, Bud Light Lime, Red Ridge (gluten-free) and O’Doul’s.  All wells are 10 ounces and will run you $9.25 for top shelf and $7.75 for mid shelf.

Also on the Terrace Level, you can find a Guinness Kiosk if you’re feeling the need to satisfy your inner Irishman.  On draft here you will find Guinness, Smithwick’s and Harp.  They also have Smirnoff Ice and Red Stripe bottles in case you are feeling a little Russian, Jamaican or are possibly just really confused on what region you’d like to drink from.

You can also purchase Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light drafts from the multiple food vendors around the terrace level ($5.25/$7.50).  My favorite and most peculiar stop on our tour of the Terrace Level is up next:  the Cold Stone Creamery vendor that also sells Bud Light Drafts.  You get bonus points on your pub crawl if you can successfully finish the Cold Stone Bud Light Float (which is completely made up, but I would love to see someone actually attempt this).

Finally we arrive at the Gentleman Jack Terrace, which is a beautiful open-air bar that overlooks Church Street and I-4.  Stay tuned in the near future for a separate review/breakdown of the Gentleman Jack Terrace.

Outside at the Gentleman Jack Terrace

Club Level (4th level)

Here you’ll find two main bars plus the upscale restaurant Jernigan’s.  Access to this level is only allowed if your ticket is for this level.  So unless you are springing for a meal at Jernigan’s or are sitting Club Level, you probably won’t find yourself spending too much time on this floor.  For those lucky enough to hang out on the swanky 4th level, you have plenty of beer and liquor options.

Drafts on this level: Bud Light, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Stella Artois and Heineken.  Bottles: Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Budweiser, Red Ridge, Corona, Corona Light, Blue Moon, Negra Modelo, Guinness and O’Doul’s.

You can also find a top shelf liquor bar on the Club Level where you can get mixed drinks featuring Grey Goose, Jack Daniels, Gentleman Jack, Crown Royal or Patron for $9.50.  For $7.25 you can get mixed drinks featuring Finlandia, New Amsterdam Gin, Dewars, Jim Beam, Bacardi Silver, Canadian Club, Camarena Tequila Silver or E&J XO Brandy.  So drink up before they find out you don’t really have a reservation.

Promenade Level (5th level)

The Promenade Level, or as I refer to it, the “People’s Level,” is the top accessible level of the Amway Center.  The options to quench your thirst certainly don’t diminish at this level either.  Just like on the Terrace Level, you can also find Kona Brewing Company and Guinness kiosks featuring their respective brews.

The Church Street Cantina is located right off the East escalator and offers Dos Equis, Shock Top, Stella Artois and Blue Moon on draft.  Other drafts found on the People’s Level include Bud Light, Coors Light, Heineken, Amstel and Newcastle.  Bottles available: Bud Light, Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra, Coors Light, Budweiser, Bud Light Lime, Corona, Heineken, Amstel and Guinness.

The centerpiece of the People’s Level, located directly adjacent to the Ozone deck, you’ll find the unique dining and bar experience, known as the O3 Bar.  Encircling the entire South end of the Promenade concourse, the O3 Bar and seating area provides the perfect meeting spot to down your drinks and enjoy conversation with your friends and family all while never losing the gameday atmosphere.  This open area is also conveniently located next to Stuff’s Magic Castle, so it provides the best spot to irresponsibly leave your kids unattended while you drink up.

Sky Level (6th level)

The Sky Level is located on the 6th and final level open to fans and is home to the posh new Sky Bar.  The Sky Bar still has yet to officially open to the public and according to the bar operator, Levy Restaurants, no date has been set.  It has also been rumored that the bar may be renamed One 80, but for now that has not been confirmed.  The Sky Bar will be accessed via the two elevators in the Northeast part of the Amway Center.

Inside the Sky Bar at the Amway Center

This completes our journey on the joys of drinking at the Amway Center.  The Amway Center Pub Crawl challenge is just that, a challenge.  It’s also important that I mention that this is in no way endorsed or sponsored by the Amway Center, the Orlando Magic, myself, or any other sane human being.  With that being said, it may be worth it to try to win that awesome t-shirt mentioned above.  So next time you buy tickets to a Magic game or are attending an Amway Center event, arrive early and experience the vast and plentiful drinking options that can be found no other place in Central Florida.

Brian Serra is the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com.  You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.  Compare pricing of Orlando Magic tickets for all future games using TiqIQ to find the best deals!

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