By Heather Turk
Sanford may be known for its rich history, but the Central Florida city is actually quite hip, too. In fact, downtown Sanford boasts an array of eclectic bars, microbreweries and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail, a beer or a glass of wine, there’s a place for everyone to kickback with a drink and socialize.
ELLEN’S WINE ROOM
Boasting more than 225 wines and 30 international beers, this quaint establishment sells a variety of vinos by the bottle or glass. Guests can take their purchases to go or enjoy their selections at the store, either on the patio or inside by the fireplace, at the granite bar or around the barrel table. Special events are held regularly, including wine dinners on Thursday nights, where guests can enjoy six wines with a shared theme for just $20 per person. Live music is also featured on Saturdays from 8 p.m. until midnight courtesy of local guitar player and ballad singer Chuck Culbertson. ellenswineroom.com
WOLFY’S LAKEFRONT BAR & GRILL
The largest bar and grill on Lake Monroe, this scenic hangout is the perfect place to unwind with a cocktail and watch the sunset. Guests can enjoy live entertainment from some of the area’s most talented musicians every weekend starting at 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday or stop in for Wolfy’s locally renowned open mic/jam night Thursdays at 7 p.m. In addition to having a full bar serving a wide selection of bottled beers and specialty drinks, Wolfy’s offers a menu of upscale casual favorites like locally caught Gator Bites, which can be prepared blackened, grilled or fried. 407.322.2150
WOP’S HOPS BREWING COMPANY
Sanford’s first microbrewery, this newly expanded watering hole serves 13 of its own beers on tap as well as a selection from other Florida breweries. With a variety of Wop’s Hops beers to choose from, ranging from light blonde ales and wheat ales to its Honey Oatmeal Stout, there’s sure to be something on tap for everyone to enjoy. Must-tries include The Bokey, a lightly smoked Rausch ale, and the seasonal Sicilian Summer IPA. Guests can savor their selection inside the tasting room or outside in the spacious, dog-friendly beer garden. Live music is featured on the weekends. wopshopsbrewing.com