For this month’s installment of the Nona Food Challenge Series, Aaron and Matt divert from food, and shift focus to the local bars. The challenge this time was to partake in as many local “Happy Hours” as possible, all within the span of one day’s worth of happy hours. At first mention, this mission seemed pretty simple, get a few drinks at a few bars. We soon discovered that there were at least nine local bars and restaurants that offered happy hour specials, as well as different start and end times, and some located a few miles apart. The logistics took some serious thought and obviously needed to be mapped out before starting.
Since Canvas’ happy hour started at 3 p.m., we decided it would be best to start there to give ourselves the maximum amount of time to tackle all nine locations on our tour.
DISCLAIMER: Aaron and Matt are a team of trained professionals under strict supervision. Do not attempt to drink at nine bars in four hours. Also, do not drink and drive, rather use your friends, family and professional transportation services, or walk, but good luck walking after nine happy hours.
Arrival at Stop #1 at 2:59 p.m.: Canvas Restaurant and Market
Happy Hour is weekdays from 3-6 p.m. and includes discount draft beer, house liquor and wine, as well as a selection of bar bites. Matt ordered the Nona Brew Crew signature tap offering of O-town Brown from Orlando Brewing. Aaron had a Jim Beam and Diet. We shared an order of chips and dip while DJ, the bartender, kept us company at the bar for our single drink. A very unique feature of Canvas is that they offer travel provided by what the locals have dubbed “The Canvas Express.” It is Tavistock’s complimentary golf cart pick-up and drop-off vehicle, servicing Laureate Park, and a perfect way to travel between Canvas and Chroma, two of Tavistock’s original restaurants. So, of course, we asked for a ride!
Stop #2 at 3:34 p.m.: Chroma Modern Bar and Kitchen
Happy Hour is weekdays from 3-6:30 p.m. and includes $4 drafts, $5 wells and $3 off cask wines. Matt ordered a Crooked Can Stout, and Aaron got the North by Northwest cask wine. Brook patiently explained the happy hour to us five times. We also met a lot of the staff during our short stay. Matt made his first bathroom break, blaming overloading on water before the tour. It should be noted that “The Canvas Express” also can be arranged to pick you up from Chroma, but our tour had other plans. Luckily, Bosphorous was only a short walk across the courtyard.
Stop #3 at 3:59 p.m.: Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
Happy Hour is every day from 4-7 p.m., includes half-off almost everything, and also offers deals on the weekends for brunch. Rolando served us at exactly 4 p.m. so we could take advantage of happy hour prices. Matt chose the Bosphorus Brown Ale by Orlando Brewing, and Aaron had the Woodford Reserve bourbon. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of the best happy hour alcohol prices for long, as we had a big list ahead of us. Travel to our next stop was provided by Matt’s wife, by way of SR417 to Narcoossee.
Stop #4 at 4:26 p.m.: Nona Blue
This locale offers $5 Happy Hour selections (including select appetizers) weekdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. We forgot to get our bartender’s name, but he was a friendly young gentleman. Matt ordered the Sam Adam’s Seasonal Summer Ale, and Aaron had a Hoegaarden Witbier. We also ordered Mama’s Meatloaf Sliders, which absolutely hit the spot! Matt made his second bathroom attendance, claiming he just wanted to see it for a comparison to be used in this article. Our next round of travel was provided by Uber driver Kara by way of Narcoossee.
Stop #5 at 4:53 p.m.: Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
The Happy Hour food and drink menu is offered weekdays from 4-7 p.m. with $3 house wines, $4 calls, $1 off draft beer and $2.50 wells. Kelly was our bartender. Matt had a Motorworks Amber, and Aaron had Tito’s vodka and soda. We shared an order of cheesesticks. Matt made his third bathroom inspection of the evening. We were starting to fear that we wouldn’t have enough time to make every stop, so we left in a hurry and walked to our next stop across the plaza.
Stop #6 at 5:17 p.m.: Outback Steakhouse
“No Worries Hour” (say that in your best Australian accent) weekdays is from 3-7 p.m. and includes $5 single mixed drinks, signature cocktails, and sangrias, $1 off house wine and “Big Bloke” (use your accent again) large draft beers. Elizabeth was our bartender. We both ordered a Big Bloke simply due to the name. Matt had Fosters and Aaron had Miller Light. Neither of us finished our beer. We also had an order of their delicious honey wheat bread with brown sugar honey butter. Whilst recollecting our night so far, we realized that saying “sixth stop” was not that easy. We also tried to convince a screaming child that his day was not that bad because he doesn’t have to work or pay taxes yet. He was not convinced. Our next stop was also within walking distance. Unfortunately, it was raining, so we spent our walking trip arguing about whether or not umbrellas are useful and the likelihood that Aaron would lose his at one of the bars.
Stop #7 at 5:41 p.m.: 310 Nona
Happy Hour here is weekdays from 4-7 p.m., and the list of deals is too long to mention. Matt made his fourth bathroom inspection and thinks he had a Yuengling for $3, and Aaron had a Jack and Coke. We shared an order of $6 black angus beef sliders. Wednesday night is Tasty Trivia night, and the host was playing all the best jams leading up to the game, such as: Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” We were only able to stay for the first five questions of trivia, which were all about Disney. We don’t know if we got any of them right because our transport had arrived. Matt’s manager, Alan, was on his way home from work and agreed to help us on our journey down Narcoossee. Before leaving, Matt decided to make another bathroom comparison, his fifth of the night, and second visit at the same bar.
Stop #8 at 6:22 p.m.: Graffiti Junktion
This Happy Hour is from 4-7 p.m. (and 10 until close) with half-off domestics, $12 buckets, $3 whiskey, and many other daily deals. We both had a Bud Light. Aaron finally made a bathroom comparison test of his own, and Alan was nice enough to wait for us long enough to finish our drinks and take us across the street to our final happy hour stop of the night.
Stop #9 at 6:44 p.m.: Nona Taproom
Happy Hour weekdays from 4-7 p.m. includes $3 select drafts and $4-$5 select small plates. Matt immediately went to do the bathroom comparison test and then ordered a Blue Point Toasted Lager. Aaron had a Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. We had the bartender take 15-20 pictures of us sitting at the bar. We met a guy named Bob and explained how we were already at level 11 party mode by 7 p.m. on a Wednesday. Wednesday night is also free poker night with a chance to win a $40 bar tab, so we decided to play since our happy hour bonanza extravaganza had finally come to an end. Aaron took third place and Matt took second, which unfortunately was not worthy of any prize beyond bragging rights.
Return travel home was provided by Uber driver Nate back to Canvas. They had live music at this time, so we, of course, had to return to our starting location to enjoy the atmosphere one more time.
Mission accomplished: nine happy hours in the span of one day’s happy hour timeframe. What we learned: I’m sure we learned a whole lot of something, but at this point it’s a little fuzzy. We do want to go back to 310 and beat everyone at trivia and then go to Taproom to win a $40 bar tab for playing poker. The trifecta bar crawl in Laureate Park by means of “The Canvas Express” is a pretty awesome bar hop in itself. The bottom line is that there is lots to enjoy in the area for Happy Hour any day of the week. If you’re really motivated, you might even be able to do it all in the same day, just don’t drive yourself. Seriously. Oh, and drink plenty of water.
P.S. Aaron did lose his umbrella, we just don’t know where.
Tune in next month for our next adventure: Summer Ice Cream Showdown! If you have a challenge suggestion, please submit your ideas to nonahood.to/foodchallenge.