Downtown Orlando has a lot of bars. A LOT of bars. But I don’t think we can have too many as cool as Mathers Social Gathering, which opened recently at 30 S. Magnolia Ave. in a structure known, not coincidentally, as the Mather Building.
According to Mathers’ website, the building was constructed in the late 1800s and was at one time the home of Orlando’s post office, a music school, and a medical office for Dr. James Nixon Butt. Let’s all try to guess what kind of a doctor he was.
Anyway, Mathers Social Club occupies the third and top floor of the building, and walking into the space is like walking into the past. And there is a certain wow factor when you take it all in.
It’s a vast space with various areas for gathering and grouping, many of them with tufted leather couches. It has a rustic warehouse feel, with exposed brick walls and extra high ceiling with wood beams. You sort of get the feeling that you’re on a movie set.
The back bar is like a library shelf. And all of the bartenders are suited up in bow tie and suspenders.
That the French 75 cocktail that I had when I visited wasn’t the best version of the classic cocktail that I’ve had is beside the point. Mathers makes it with absinthe, in addition to the usual gin and champagne, which added a harsh alcoholic note that overwhelmed the sparkling wine.
I was not surprised nor chagrined by the $15 charge for the drink. That’s what one expects to pay in a classy joint.
And for the record, the bartender offered to make me something else when I told him the 75 was a bit off.
But I was just happy drinking in the atmosphere.
Mathers Social Gathering is at 30 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. The phone number is 407-250-5005.