All photos by Erin Miller
Ask various locals which bar in Orlando stands out in the crowd for serving up a cold alcoholic beverage, and they will point you toward The Courtesy. Known by the locals as “Courtesy Bar,” this establishment has just celebrated 10 years in the Downtown Orlando area.
The Courtesy is owned by husband-and-wife wine and spirit industry veterans Gene and Diana Zimmerman.
“When we were first approached to consider a small space in downtown Orlando, all assumptions were on us opening a wine bar,” Diana Zimmerman said. “That was our collective background and what people recognized us for. We credit timing, travel, and connecting with the right people that gave us the motivation to go bigger. We saw a void in the Orlando market and knew that creating a dedicated cocktail bar is what we need to do with this cozy little space. Instantly pumped, Gene scrolled through his list of ‘If I ever owned a bar or started a band, it would be called’ list on his phone, and that’s how The Courtesy was born.”
Setting itself apart from all the competitors, this drinking spot is considered to be the most dedicated cocktail bar in Orlando. Over the years, it has developed into one of the city’s signature bars.
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But, just like the downtown area transformed over the last decade, so did The Courtesy. The couple has regrouped and hatched a new business plan.
“Since I moved to Orlando in the mid-90s, I have been “Downtown” to the bone,” said Gene. “For a long time, it was a touchstone place of inspiration and community. When we were creating The Courtesy, there was no other location we would even consider. Woefully, Downtown is a very different place now, and we needed to find a space that fits our well-oiled concept and clientele. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we did.”
So, they temporarily closed their doors and began setting up shop in a new location. A soft opening occurred this week at the new location at 1288 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park. The new cocktail bar in Winter Park officially opened on Oct. 14.
Not only can locals and visitors alike partake in craft cocktails in Winter Park, but the Zimmermans have once again extended their offerings. The Courtesy owners are partnering with prominent chefs, Alexia and Rhys Gawlak of Swine & Sons, to offer a new sister project, named BarSwine. All the dishes are created by Swine & Sons, and are served exclusively at The Courtesy. Examples of their culinary work includes Pork belly lettuce wraps, tomato tartlets, roasted mushroom toast, pickle plates and loaded potatoes.
BarSwine will be serving up complimenting plates for The Courtesy’s cocktail drink menu. Patrons of the new Winter Park location can order up a new tasty treat that harmonizes perfectly with their long-standing favorite spirit.
The Courtesy serves up cold drinks six days a week, closed on Mondays. Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the party runs from 4:00 p.m. to midnight. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the doors will be open from 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. On Sundays, the drinks flow from 3:00p.m. until 10:00p.m. Brunch is currently in the works, once again pairing the hot treats of the upcoming BarSwine with cold spirits.
BarSwine will also be closed on Mondays but will be open during evening hours, Tuesday through Sunday.