While Central Florida isn't known as wine country, it still offers a variety places to sip, swish and swallow.

Known as places where students can relax with friends with a glass of wine, these bars offer a different kind of outing for students over 21 looking to get away from the bar and club scene.

Here's a breakdown of wine bars near UCF and a little about their environments.

The Wine Room

Location: 270 S. Park Ave., Winter Park

The Wine Room has more than 156 wines from around the world that can be sampled with its wine-tasting machines. Customers can purchase a wine-tasting card that they load with money.

When they want to sample a wine, they insert the card and choose a 1 ounce, 2.5 ounce or 5 ounce sample size. The cost of the sample is deducted from the wine-tasting card, and all of the wines on the machines have a description and the retail price of the wine.

The wine-tasting machines are equipped to make sure that every sample is fresh.

After getting a sample, customers can sit at a bar or find a lounge to curl up in while they sip their wine and socialize with friends. The Wine Room also has more than 120 wines that can be purchased.


Location: 1196 Tree Swallow Drive, Winter Springs

In nearby Winter Springs is Spill, a wine bar that's goal is to provide a homelike atmosphere just northwest of UCF. Spill offers more than 15 wines to its customers in its indoor and outdoor lounge areas.

Spill offers live entertainment almost every night of the week and every Tuesday is trivia night. Everyday customers can enjoy a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"What makes Spill unique is being so individual from the area," said Ian Mackler, a bartender at Spill. "We have a lot of wine and craft beers that other bars don't carry."

Carmel Café

Nearest location: 140 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park

With locations in Winter Park and Altamonte Springs, Carmel Café & Wine Bar offers customers a unique dining experience. Customers can order their wine and modern Mediterranean-style cuisine on iPads located at each table.

Although Carmel Café & Wine Bar is dimly lit, the brightly colored art on the walls creates a unique atmosphere.

"It's upscale and modern but a comfortable environment," said Brian Waggoner, the operating partner at the Winter Park location. "It's a dim setting with bright colors so it's very vibrant."

Customers can sit at tables or high tops while they indulge in food and drink, or they can sit in the lounge area or at the bar.

"We have a pretty diverse menu of eclectic food and wine offerings," said Waggoner

Cooper's Hawk

Location: 529 Alafaya Trail, Orlando

The closest wine bar to UCF, Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, offers a true wine-and-dine experience.

Alongside the restaurant seating area is a lobby that has a store for wine memorabilia and two bars. At the bars, customers can order wine by the glass or sample wines. One option allows for customers to sample eight different wines that range from white to red wines.

Cooper's Hawk wine is typically crafted from grapes and fruit growers in the U.S., but occasionally grapes and fruits are imported from other countries. For customers who prefer to drink while they eat, the menu at Cooper's Hawk offers wine-pairing suggestions.

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