If you’ve ever walked into an Orlando bar that is themed down to the straws in your custom cocktail, there’s a chance Todd Ulmer had something to do with it.
Ulmer owns four bars, two in Thornton Park: Aku Aku and Stardust Lounge and tow downtown: Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge and Fuel. He’s also had his hand in The Lodge and the New Orleans-themed restaurant, Muddy Waters which recently closed.
Having worked in the industry for more than 20 years, Ulmer has been a presence in the downtown Orlando bar scene for more than a decade. His most recent addition to his themed bar lineup is Fuel which is decorated with vintage car memorabilia and pinup girls.
“Developing a location, getting a theme, putting it together is my passion,” Ulmer said.
His longest running bar is Stardust Lounge on Lake Eola which is a take on 1960’s Las Vegas and frequently hosts a burlesque show. Next door is Aku Aku, a Polynesian/Tiki themed bar. Polynesian music, island cocktails, and vintage tiki decor fill the small space.
Possibly Ulmer’s most obvious themed venture is Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge which promises to get you in the yuletide spirit all year round.
“Frosty’s wasn’t the original name. For years I wanted to call it The Peppermint Lounge,” Ulmer said.
A sleigh from the 1800’s hangs from the ceiling above the bar, an electronic hearth welcomes guests from Central Avenue through the front door and Christmas music plays between top 40 hits.
Its craft cocktails include snowcones with a holiday twist with names like Coconuts Roasting On An Open Fire and the Nightmare Before Xmas served on shaved ice.
Ulmer says he has several ideas for other concepts in the future but didn’t reveal much about his plans. He says any future projects would most likely remain in the downtown area.