Have you ever walked into a place that instantly made you feel at home?
A place where you can come as you are, walk right in, sit anywhere and sip on a drink and just start talking to people about anything, people you feel like you’ve known your whole life?
Because that was exactly how I felt walking in to Nora’s Sugar Shack!
Nora’s was such an eclectic, cozy place. I felt right at home. I LOVED IT!
My friend and I were walking to a bottle shop after stopping by a local brewery. We strolled a few minutes down the road and happened to walk by this old, white house that had signs that said “beer, wine, and cigars” and “OPEN” in bright red. You know damn well that caught our attention.
My friend looked at me, I looked at her, and we knew we had to at least take a peek.
To walk in, you don’t go through the front door. Do you ever really go through the front door of your friend’s house? If you know them well enough, if y’all are closer than your butt cheeks, you probably go in through the back or side door, or garage. Never the front door.
We went right up to a gate that had “ENTER” painted in yellow and were immediately in the midst of the back patio, furnished with a few chairs, small tables, and a couple umbrellas.
A man sat in a corner, reading a book, smoking a cigar, while a special dog with three good legs was waiting at the door, eager to get inside.
The dog happened to be Nora’s, who was sitting inside and said jokingly, “Who’s dog is that!? Just kidding, it’s mine. He’s fine. Come on it!”
We were greeted with a bright, quirky woman with thick, white glasses and a red sweater and an explosion of amazing, beautiful, assorted alcohol and artwork. And dogs. She has adorable dogs, three or four more than just the one who greeted us upon arrival. Any place that has dogs is already an amazing place, because dogs are amazing!
It is wonderfully overwhelming upon entering (smack dab in the middle of the living room), and I was instantly intrigued. She told us a little bit about the place and asked us, “Are you going to stay and have a drink with me, or what?”
There is a room filled with a bunch of wine, there is a room filled with beer, glass pipes, and small gifts and trinkets scattered about.
You enter the kitchen, which has a couple of kegs ready to be tapped. But you shall not touch those unless you have a death wish.
Through the kitchen, you enter a family room that backs up to a rotting wooded porch (and you can sit out there at your own risk, if you fall, that’s your problem).
This room is filled with books and cigars and leather chairs. It makes you feel cultured, cozy, and content.
There are always 69 beers to choose from. You perv. (According to her website.) But really, it looked like there were WAY more than 69 beers. I looked at them all, stacked neatly from floor to ceiling on a book case in the mix-n-match six pack room, or on shelves in the living room; some such a novelty that I have never seen or heard of before.
I chose a nice raspberry berliner brewed by Florida Avenue. ‘Twas really good. Very sour, very present raspberry flavor. Nora also didn’t just hand me the can, she gave me a koozie. What great hospitality!
Nora knows more about you than you know about yourself.
I am telling you, if you’re like me and have lived in Orlando your entire life, you are missing out. You absolutely, undeniably MUST go to Nora’s Sugar Shack off of Virginia Drive.
It’s such a wonderful experience, much better than your average-hidden-gem bottle shop that you probably think is so cool. Nah. Nora’s is way more awesome. Truly AWESOME–and I’m not just throwing around that word as a synonym for something else cool or amazing, it is truly an inspiring, unique place that makes you stare around in awe at all of the things you didn’t even know existed or knew that you loved. It is an impressive, better version of your friend’s house.
Make sure if you travel to Orlando that you don’t just visit the local breweries, but you take a closer look at the more well-kept secrets of the streets, like Nora’s!
P.S.–Nora, if you ever read this, I FRICKIN’ LOVE YOU! I barely know you, but I love you, and I really do love what you have going on. I am already planning a trip back. It was such a pleasure meeting you!