To Mizner’s!

To a lot of people, Mizner’s Lounge is a hotel bar. An afterthought—a place where Grandpa, who paid for the darn rooms in Sugarloaf Key (interesting, how it’s “key” at the Grand and yet it’s “Cay” when in the Bahamas…a nerdy person might wonder where the distinction lies…) gets himself a Rusty Nail before bed.  But I’m here to tell you that Mizners’s is magic.

Sure, it’s a small room. Throw on a clean maxi dress, and enter the gleaming lobby of the Grand Floridian. You can find Mizner’s Lounge back behind the bandstand where the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra performs in small sets between 4pm and 9pm (cruise YouTube for a real treat… my favorite of their standards is “When Time Goes By”). The chairs are luxe and comfortable and the bartenders don’t balk at an order for a sidecar or an absolutely filthy martini—which is sometimes just what a girl needs after a sugar-loaded week at the parks.

And after the big band standards fade gently from your mind and the only music is the low chatter of the contented guests sporting fresh Tommy Bahama camp shirts and Lilly Pulitzer shifts (no sweaty park touring gear here), you just may hear the muffled booms of fireworks. If you were lucky enough to snag a comfy seating cluster by the windows, you can watch a somewhat obstructed fireworks display over the resort, and the Magic Kingdom.

It’s just enough adult, mixed with wonder in the background. As your kids luau with Chip and Dale at Lilo’s Playhouse over at the Polynesian—just a few short monorail stops away–you can sink into a leather chair and a small table, enjoying an unhurried charcuterie platter or cheese board.  We’ve indulged quite a few times and they never fail to satisfy. The lounge specialize in martinis… and take them up on that expertise.

It’s the perfect place to take the person who has been complaining about the plastic, the commercialization, the kid-centricity of the parks. Tell them to shut up, listen to some classic jazz, and order the cocktail of their choosing. I’ve never seen a light-up plastic ice cube winking there.

For those who wonder what the heck a Mizner is, let me take you back to turn of the century Florida, where Addison Mizner was an architect of renown. In his mid-forties, Mizner moved to Palm Beach and began designing mansions for wealthy patrons in a Mediterranean Revival style that was particularly suited to the Florida weather. Like Walt Disney himself, he imagined a history for even his new structures. However nascent the construction, he drew a vision that brought to mind an old world construction and resurrection.

But you don’t have to delve into his fascinating work and style. You can just sip a glass of 30 Year Tawny Port or 18 year The Macallan Scotch while listening to timeless music, exhale deeply, and relish the peace of this hidden respite.