With its warm weather and laid-back charm, Greater Gainesville fosters the perfect environment to enjoy a cool, delicious craft cocktail. From lush, tropical-themed spots to smoky local lounges, Gainesville offers no shortage of unique destinations to relax and enjoy a quality cocktail. Head downtown to find a hub of eclectic bars and restaurants, or check out an upscale bar at one of Gainesville’s boutique hotels.
Madrina’s is a stylish local bar tucked away in the heart of downtown Gainesville. Inspired by the tastes of Cuba, Madrina’s offers an assortment of unique house cocktails such as the “Humidor,” “Matcha Colada,” and “Chupacabra.” The beloved spot specializes in frozen daiquiris, offered in refreshing flavors of banana, carrot, strawberry and more. If you prefer a classic margarita, mojito, or pina colada, Madrina’s has you covered w
ith all your favorites. The bar often changes its menu with new to-go specials, so there’s never a shortage of new sips to taste. If you’re in search of a cozy yet elegant bar and some craft cocktails with character, Madrina’s may be the place for you.
Address: 9 W. University Avenue Gainesville, FL 32601
Cry Baby’s bar is another chic downtown favorite, offering fun cocktails as well as mouth-watering burgers and bar foods for lunch and dinner specials. Through Cry Baby’s playful craft cocktails you can experience a tropical getaway right here in Gainesville, with drinks like the “Swimsuit Issue,” “Mai Tai,” “Volcano,” and “Jungle Bird.” Classic spritzes, negronis and palomas are offered as well, ensuring all patrons have a preferred drink option available. Drop by and enjoy the beautiful decor and intimate atmosphere, or take a bottled cocktail to go.
Can’t get enough? Try out Cry Baby’s sister restaurant, Afternoon. Specializing in friendly and photogenic brunches, Afternoon also offers a Wine Club.
Address: 1 West University Ave Gainesville, FL 32601
The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino
There is no shortage of festivities when you visit The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino. Sip on their specialty agave-sweetened, fresh-squeezed Boca Margarita as you explore the Palomino Pool Hall or enjoy Backyard’s eclectic live music. Specialty margaritas are accompanied by mojitos and rosemary lemonades on Boca Fiesta’s menu, with numerous beer and seltzer options available as well. With plenty of outdoor space to accommodate frequent events and specials, The Backyard at Boca Fiesta is always there to bring something new and exciting to downtown Gainesville.
Address: 232 1/2 SE 1st St Gainesville, FL 32601
Covey Kitchen + Cocktails
If you enjoy a refreshing waterfront view with your cocktail, visit Covey Kitchen + Cocktails for a truly sophisticated culinary experience. Covey Kitchen is a part of Gainesville’s Hotel Eleo, a boutique hotel near UF Health Shands. Covey Kitchen embeds a Floridian flare into their internationally inspired cuisine, bringing the flavors of Gainesville right to the dinner table. Enjoy the fresh air and scenic lake views while sipping on an Elderflower Margarita or Bourbon Fall at this modern, elegant spot. Covey Kitchen also offers an extensive beer and wine menu to complement the fine dining experience. Experience the best of Greater Gainesville with Covey Kitchen + Cocktail’s truly Floridian hand-crafted cocktails!
Address: 1514 SW 14th Street Gainesville, Florida 32608
Downtown Gainesville’s Sidecar bar offers old-fashioned craft cocktails and a cozy atmosphere. Sidecar’s drink specials like the “Blueberry Bee’s Knees,” “Passion Fruit Lemonade” and the “Old Fashioned” perfectly complement the charming, outdoorsy nature of Greater Gainesville. The bar partners with Florida distilleries like St. Augustine Distillery to provide the highest quality spirits for their skillfully crafted cocktails. Take your drink to-go, or hang around for one of Sidecar’s all-day happy hours.
Address: 115 SE 1st Street Gainesville, FL 32601
Visit these charming local spots to experience the best of Gainesville with a refreshing handcrafted cocktail in hand. With Gainesville’s eclectic local bar scene, everyone can find a drink to enjoy; come find your favorite!
-written by Valeriya Antonshchuk