Ever wonder what the most gorgeous Disney World pool bar looks like?
Well, look no further than Bar Riva at Disney’s Riviera Resort! After opening with the resort back in 2019, we’ve been impressed with the atmosphere and exclusive eats. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Disney pool bar! Now that the menu has been cut down, is this eye-candy pool bar still worth a visit?
Bar Riva does not have its own specific backstory, however the Riviera Resort is based on Walt Disney’s trips to Europe. Walt fell in love with France and the Italian Riviera, and the entire resort honors that! The decor at this pool bar totally reflects the style.
What you need to understand about this is that yes, it’s a pool bar. But no, not like you’ll find at other Disney resorts with dripping wet guests in bathing suits shuffling up to quickly order a Piña Colada so they can get back to pool time. (OK, you could see that too, but what we’re trying to say is this is much more than just a counter to order drinks in plastic cups to-go.)
This location has bar seating as well as tables, chairs, and booths. One of the best parts about this pool bar is the option to grab food and drinks to-go from the bar or sit down with a server.
The highlight as far as decor goes, for us, is the tile on the floor! The beautiful blue and white tile design through the entire bar adds so much vibrancy to the place. For a moment you’ll forget you’re in Central Florida and maybe imagine yourself on a balcony in Santorini, Greece.
On one of the walls, there is a picturesque piece of artwork that puts guests in that riviera mindset.
The atmosphere is relaxing and bright, inviting you to sit for a while sipping a drink. But that’s not even the most unique part of this place! Let’s take a look at the drinks and eats at Bar Riva.
Many pool bars in Disney World offer food, but Bar Riva has some of the best and most unique we’ve tried in a long while. Since the resort is themed after the Riviera, many restaurants in the resort (including this one) offer a twist on Italian, Greek, and French food. There are two sandwiches, chicken wings, that scrummy baked brie we tried soon after opening, as well as several salads to choose from. These are some pretty good options if you are having a pool day and don’t want to go too far.
The items on the kids’ menu are probably what you would expect. There are cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken, and pasta, so it will please the pickiest of eaters.
For dessert, you can grab tiramisu or fruit, but the biggest reason people come here is for the drinks! It IS a bar, after all, and they even have some fun non-alcoholic drinks like the Mediterranean Mint Lemonade and Frosty Blood Orange Granita.
Bar Riva has a solid selection of cocktails. They offer some unique sips you’ll only find here…
…beer, cider, and seltzer…
…sangrias and frozen cocktails…
…and a selection of wine!
During our visit, we found a seasonal drink that was not on the official menu called Le Gin Ruban. This drink is made with Malfy Gin, Smoked Peach Simple Syrup, Aperol, Lemon Juice, Orange Bitters, and Tonic.
This drink is a beautiful orange color, but despite its sweet look, it is quite bitter. This is likely from the Aperol (lending the peachy hue) and tonic. If you are a fan of sweet drinks, this is probably a drink you’d sip and scrunch up your face! BUT, if you favor a bitter and more complex drink, this could be a hit. Luckily, there are plenty of drinks to choose from here if this isn’t your thing!
We personally liked the balance of bitter and the hints of smokey peach and citrus. When we first had drinks at Bar Riva, our server told us they make many of their syrups and flavors in-house. You can tell — these drinks do not taste like they come premade from a jug! We wish it wasn’t seasonal, because this would be a great drink to sip by the pool in the summertime for $14.
For an entree, we decided to grab the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The sandwich is made with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Spinach Artichoke Spread, Toasted Focaccia, and is served with a choice of Soup, Romano and Herb Fries, Side Salad, or Fresh Fruit. We went with the fries as our side this time around.
We really did not expect to be blown away by this sandwich…but we totally were! The focaccia bread was SO good and fluffy on its own, especially with the spread. The spread felt like classic spinach and artichoke dip that was smeared on the focaccia, which we didn’t mind one bit. In fact, the flavors and textures were pretty awesome mixed with everything else going on here. The chicken was cooked well, and it was very clear from the flavor of the chicken that it was cooked on a grill. Arugula wasn’t listed in the ingredients, but our sandwich had a nice handful on top. No complaints here — the peppery greens added a nice freshness against the heavier spinach dip.
While we didn’t have any complaints about the flavors of the sandwich, we do wish this serving was bigger! You can see compared to the fries, the sammy seems tiny! The sandwich is $12.49 which is a bit much for a such a tiny sandwich. We do think that it’s worth it just because of how good the quality is, but we don’t think this is a shareable meal.
These fries are fairly simple on their own, but the herbs really put them at another level. We’ve tried these same fries over at the nearby quick service location, Primo Piatto, and adored them. These are your standard Disney shoestring fries but the cheese and herbs give it a little something extra that makes them worth trying. They aren’t the best fries we’ve ever had, but they are a lot better than fries at most quick-service restaurants in Disney World.
We grabbed the Tiramisú for dessert! The Mickey “wax seal” makes this treat a little fancier than its packaging lets on. It’s the same metal tins many desserts are sold in around the parks. BUT, the flavor tasted spot on. The coffee taste was not overwhelming like some other tiramisu, so those who don’t love coffee or kids (if parents are OK with them trying a teeny bit of espresso) would probably still enjoy this.
The creamy mascarpone topping was light and fresh, and we thought there was just the right amount of it. That is the flavor that dominated over the coffee here — creamy, almost whipped cream-like, and lightly sweet with a hint of cocoa from the dusting on top.
Just look at how fluffy it is! We personally wish the coffee flavor was amped up a bit more because we love the taste of coffee, however it was hard to find something wrong with this treat. It is a little pricey at $5.99, but for a dessert at a pool bar, this is pretty great. You can also find the same tiramisu over at Primo Piatto, but if you’re out at the pool, this is a more convenient way to grab it!
And just like that, our meal was over. We haven’t visited for a full meal since the grand opening, and wow, we were impressed. Top-notch eats AND a pool bar. Nice work, Bar Riva.
Nosh or Not
You might want to visit Bar Riva if…
- You want a sit-down experience, but don’t want to pay for it. There is a to-go and sit-down option here, so if you want quick service prices and full service with a server, this is a great place to go!
- You are staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort. The location is super convenient if you are staying here!
- You love good cocktails. There are SO many options to choose from. Plus, those hand-crafted touches make these drinks well worth the price.
You might not want to visit Bar Riva if…
- You have kids. Kids would probably be fine grabbing something to-go here, but they would probably get bored if they sat here for an entire meal (especially with a big ol’ pool just out past the location!).
- You are not staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort. We might consider trekking here if the Monte Cristo was still available, but we aren’t sure we’d go out of our way for a sandwich or tiramisu. If you are at a surrounding resort, the food here might be worth it depending on your preferences. This could also be a feasible option if you’re traveling via Skyliner to or from EPCOT and want to wind down with a quiet drink or meal. If you are staying farther away, it is harder to justify coming all the way out here for the food and drinks. It’s good, but it’s not that good.
- You have picky eaters in your party. This food is of incredible quality, but there are not many plain options except on the kids’ menu. If you’re already ordering a small and pricey sammy, forgoing toppings you don’t like but still paying for that itty sandwich could make a lot of the appeal go down.
The food and drinks at Bar Riva are so much better than a standard Disney pool bar. The menu is pretty unique because several of the wines and ingredients are imported from Europe or handmade at the location. Our grilled chicken sandwich was better than a lot of items we’ve tried at counter service locations around Disney World (and for just about the same price!). This is uncommon for a pool bar, but we are not complaining about it being different from the rest!
It’s a shame this spot isn’t so easily accessible for many. Or that a lot of the nice touches they’ve implemented aren’t seen on a bigger scale at other locations. Other Disney watering holes can have limited-time drinks, but they still tend to have that Disney World “mass-produced” vibe to them. If other spots popped up with unique, smart cocktails and handmade touches like we’ve seen at Bar Riva, we’d be extra happy campers. In the meantime, we won’t be going out of our way to seek out Bar Riva, but whenever we’re nearby we’ll certainly be swinging by to see what’s on the menu that day. We didn’t think one of our new favorite chicken sandwiches or cocktails would be at a pool bar, but here we are! You never know what you’ll find if you keep your eyes out.
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Which Disney World pool bar is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!