The Orlando City game is set to start in 30 minutes. It would take you at least that long just to fight traffic to get downtown, maybe over to Church Street. Ugh, don't forget trying to find a place to park either. By the time you get situated and order your first cold one, the game will be at halftime. Have no fear, suburbanites, there are great places to catch Lions games right near you, all you have to do is look for them.
To save you some time, I'm going to run down my three favorite places to catch the game, each in a different part of the outlying area. First up, let's head west to begin our journey.
Hagan O'Reilly's (Winter Garden):
Hey, this is one of the bars Orlando City has selected as a City Pub, so that's got to mean something. The patio atmosphere is amazing on the evenings (especially Saturday) when the game is on. Besides atmosphere, Hagan's has a full menu and beer selection to satisfy you before, during, or after the game. A food item to try would be the bacon and cheese doughnut burger. It's like some mad scientist was reading our minds when he/she put the bacony goodness of this cheeseburger between two glazed doughnuts. Mmmm, doughnuts ...
Sorry about that, let's get back on topic shall we? Parking is generally not too bad and there's plenty of room on the patio should you be here more for beverages and mingling than eating. If you're out on the west side of the Orange County, there isn't a better place to go and support Orlando City than Hagan's.
Duffy's (Altamonte Springs):
Heading north to Seminole County, there's a more restaurant-style option to choose. Duffy's is your classic American-style, family-friendly sports bar. If you have kids, this is a nice place to go as their menu is reasonably priced and the amount of cuss words you're likely to hear are few and far between. The other appeal here is the drink special, the two-for-one on-tap beer. The price per beer is a bit higher than some other places, but when you average it out over the cost of two, it makes it a better buy per drink.
Duffy's has huge televisions hanging both in the restaurant side and the bar side. Personally, I've gone here a great many times with the gang to watch City play its games. As soon as we walk in, we tell the host staff we're here for the City game and they get someone on it for us. If you don't care too much for wings with the bone in them, their boneless wings are huge and their signature sweet buffalo sauce is amazing. If you're feeling adventurous, they also offer truffle fries, but they can get a pit pricey. They have a good-sized parking lot and the wait times are never out of line.
Fox & Hounds (Kissimmee):
A very British-style pub south of the city in Kissimmee, Fox & Hounds has authenticity. For some of you who may follow the Barclays Premier League, you may have already found a home in this little pub. The owners are die-hard football (don't call it soccer to them) fans and are fantastic about supporting Orlando each time I've been there. Their love of football has even spawned this rumor: during the Barclays Premier League season, this place will open the doors at 7 a.m. ET to serve the faithful. And speaking of serving, the beer selection is spot on -- and as for food, the fish and chips is superb.
A friendly warning -- sitting right off U.S. Highway 192, the parking is a pain. The lot is small and on busy nights you might find yourself either in a parking spot you created or driving around looking to poach one. Also, in the evenings I don't know that I'd call this place family friendly, so if you're heading out to watch the game, a sitter for the kids might be a good idea.
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So there you go, three options spread across town. Orlando and the suburbs surrounding are huge places. If there's a place I missed that you like to watch the games at, let me know in the comments below. Until next time!