Bar Louie on Orlando's Restaurant Row
Bar Louie is one of the newer additions to Orlando's Restaurant Row, the stretch of Sand Lake Road west of International Drive and Interstate 4. It occupies a space in the newly developed Rialto, where J. Alexander's and Ocean Prime also recently opened. Another restaurant, Bento, is now open as well.
Bar Louie is from the same organization that brought Red Star Tavern to Orlando a little more than a year ago. As the name would suggest, Bar Louie focuses mainly on the drinking part of the meal. But it also features a large menu of appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches and burgers.
I stopped in on an early Friday evening as part of a party of six. We discovered that it was still happy hour, and therefore we could have anything from the appetizer list at half price. (The drink specials were pretty good too.) We decided to make a feast of appetizers and forgo dinner.
We ordered the Szechwan rib bites (regularly $8.99), chicken nachos ($9.99), cheeseburger sliders, ($8.99), crispy calamari ($9.99) and Buffalo wings ($7.99).
The sliders were quite good, greasy enough to be chic but meaty enough to satisfy. And the nachos were sufficiently glopped with grilled chicken, cheese sauce, beans, guacamole and sour cream.
The rib bites were not spicy at all, as a Szechuan designation would lead us to believe. And they weren't all that tender, either.
The calamari was, however, and the light dusting of flour gave a nice crisp jacket. The wings were just hot enough to satisfy the two wing lovers at our table.
The happy hour deal, which runs until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, includes $3 drafts, $5 specialty drinks and $4 glasses of wine -- and that's any of the 20 wines that Bar Louie offers by the glass. That's a terrific bargain.
The dining room is dominated by the bar, but there are plenty of tables and booths. And there is a full outside bar for these balmy evenings.
Our server was affable and tried to keep our table manicured even as we kept messing it up by passing plates and platters of food.
We left very happy. And this is part of the reason: The total bill for our party of six, including all the food and drinks, was $95.
Bar Louie's happy hour just may be one of the best deals in town.