Bar Review: The Gnarly Barley (Orlando, FL)

Bar Review of The Gnarly Barley in Orlando, FL.

I’m not going to lie to you, Central Florida is not one of my favorite destinations. However, as a businessman I find myself there again and again like a bad version of Groundhog Day. The good news for me is that Florida has really stepped up their beer repertoire in the last few years, so I try to find respite at quality craft beer locations when time allows.

That brings me to The Gnarly Barley. This particular trip I had to fly in to Orlando and I had time to grab lunch before pressing on, so I decided to look for a beer bar with great draughts, a quality lunch menu and a good price. Many online reviews suggested The Gnarly Barley would suit my needs tremendously, so that’s where I went.

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When I finally pulled up to the location I was concerned. It looked like a tiny fried seafood or ice cream stand. If somebody described this place as a “beer shack”, I wouldn’t argue with them. Luckily for me my first impression turned out to be immaterial, as The Gnarly Barley was exactly what I was looking for.

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Is it small? Yes. I doubt it holds 20 people inside (I may be slightly exaggerating, but you get the idea), but this is Florida, so inside seating really isn’t the point. There’s a decent size outdoor deck as well as many outdoor tables and standing room for you to enjoy your beer. There are 16 draught beers to choose from, but this isn’t your typical draft beer selection. The list at Gnarly Barley is a who’s who of rare choices (see their current list here). I was drinking Brewski Koppi (Coffee Berliner Weisse) from Sweden. Yep, that’s the quality of beer you’ll find at this humble beer oasis.

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I also wanted to grab lunch, and although this isn’t a food blog I have to say that their selection of fresh house-made sandwiches is off the charts. It was exactly what I needed and certainly didn’t break the bank. I look at the Gnarly Barley as a great lunch spot, late-night hangout or low-key weekend dinner spot in which you will never be disappointed. It also seems like a great place for locals to grab a pint a socialize with friends. You can literally just mull around in their outdoor area for hours, sippin’ pints and discussing Orlando Magic Basketball and why Florida Gov. Rick Scott looks like Bat Boy. That is what people from Florida talk about, right?

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