Casual and Entertaining Nightlife on Fort Myers Beach

The party on Fort Myers Beach changes with the seasons. While it is almost always warm here, Fort Myers Beach does have its ‘seasons.’ They just look different from most of the rest of the world. The seasons here revolve around the tourists and so does the nightlife.

The nightlife is casual. Although people dress fresh for the evening hours, there is generally no requirement for stilettos or even collared shirts. Take for instance the Lani Kai Island Resort, party headquarters on Fort Myers Beach. It’s not fancy, always sandy and always great for people watching.

The neighboring Cottage at the Gulfshore Grill is found on a second story deck, has a lot less grit, great live music and still offers a view of the beach, as well as the shenanigans at the Lani Kai.

Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille also has a waterfront view, of the Estero Bay. Resembling a giant beach house, this two story bar and grill has several bars, a stage and a large outdoor dance floor.

Restaurants and bars are almost constantly being renovated to offer even more options for beach loving, nighttime partygoers. It never hurts to double check hours of operation. In the meantime, check out these 10Best spots.


The Yucatan Beach Stand is much more than a "stand." It is a massive, open-air restaurant and bar with bamboo, nautical design and an island themed menu. There are lots of TV's to catch a game and almost as many taps for trying beers from around the country. It might be hot outside but the beer here is always cold and the fans blowing. The bar tenders are entertaining and welcoming no matter what time of the day or night you show. Live music is booked most days of the week, even when it is not tourist season. Yucatan is in a great location, a block off of the beach and convenient for bar hopping.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: This al fresco bar is huge, with lots of space for big parties to party and listen to live music.

Gina's expert tip: If you're up early, have breakfast here too

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Parrot Key Caribbean Grill
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

Off the beaten path of the beach Parrot Key is on the bay side of the island, before you cross the so-called "big bridge" to the beach. Channeling the spirit of the Caribbean with both it's cuisine and it's atmosphere, Parrot Key delivers a variety of live music and fun events almost every night. The large bar specializes in fruity cocktails and cold brews. Once you find this spot at Salty Sam's Marina, be prepared to stay awhile as it's sister bar and restaurant, Bootleggers, also offers live entertainment so when one band takes a break, you can walk next door for more. Come by car or boat

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: Search out this spacious waterside restaurant and bar for a tropical atmosphere and live entertainment every night.

Gina's expert tip: Find Parrot Key by boat at Salty Sam's Marina

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Sitting at the base of the Matanzas Pass Bridge on Fort Myers Beach, Nervous Nellies has three levels of food and fun, all with views of the Estero Bay. Two out of three levels also boast live music. Uglies Rooftop Bar gets crowded quickly, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. Different types of live music is played in the bar every night, from rock to country and contemporary. Nellie's also has an outside deck where you can hear live bands on the weekends as well as other days depending on beach events. Many people arrive by boat, for both the party and food; the menu reads like a newspaper with something for everyone.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: With three levels of drinking, dining and entertaining, Nervous Nellies always draws a crowd.

Gina's expert tip: Free parking is available in a neighboring lot, but it's limited.

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Smokin Oyster Brewery, SOB
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Estero Bay on Fort Myers Beach, the Smokin' Oyster Brewery, or S.O.B., has been shucking oysters since 1997. The beach cottage has live entertainment on the open, front patio almost every night, with a good sized bar to belly-up to. It's a fun, yet low key place to spend an evening. Be sure to ask for a signature S.O.B. drink coozie to keep your specially brewed beer cold. Besides cold drinks and music, this bar serves fresh oysters, a variety of seafood steamer pots and delicious garlic crab claws. There is paid parking on the street and a few free spots on the east side of the building.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: This beach bar almost always has live entertainment and a fun crowd, day and night.

Gina's expert tip: Pick up S.O.B. shirts and coozies for fun souvenirs

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Liki Tiki BBQ
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

The popularity of Liki Tiki has steadily increased since its opening with its huge, open wrap around bar, and nightly entertainment. The bar is stocked with a generous selection of beer and tequila. The Sangria is house made and gets rave reviews. BBQ is the featured cuisine. The selection is large and comes complete with southern sides such corn bread and key lime pie for dessert. However, no beach establishment is complete without a healthy offering of seafood as well. You will find everything from oysters on the half shell and peel and eat shrimp to conch fritters and grouper.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: Over the last several years Liki Tiki has been picking up steam, gaining popularity for its nightlife, entertainment and brag worthy BBQ.

Gina's expert tip: Get there by 4pm and get happy hour discounts until 7

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The Whale
Photo courtesy of HM Restaurant Group

It's downright impossible to miss the turn for this time-tested establishment on Fort Myers Beach with signage that boasts a pink-skinned beachcomber, frothy ale held aloof, sitting atop a purple whale. Such good-natured quirkiness is what has so endeared this bastion of barbecue and seafood to regulars over the years. The live entertainment here spans every night of the week both up and downstairs, featuring the most popular local and regional bands. The rooftop, Lookout Lounge also provides great views of the beach and the sunset. This establishment also has parking, a plus for any party place found on the beach.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: This beach bar has a sometimes raucous rooftop and is known for booking talented musicians and bands.

Gina's expert tip: Lots of TV's also make this a great place to catch a sports event

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Doc Fords Rum Bar & Grille Fort Myers Beach
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

Most beach goers spot Doc Ford's from the big bridge (Matanzas Pass) while crossing over Estero Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Resembling a sprawling stilt house, Doc's has a cool (as in temperature) inside bar as well as ample dining space. However, the biggest parties occur downstairs, along the dock. Here you will find all kinds of live music, every day and or night of the week. There are two dockside bars and a large dance floor for when the music moves you. It's a fun, casual spot where partygoers can also arrive by boat. Also under the Doc's management umbrella is the neighboring Dixie Fish Company which also offers live entertainment.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: This large, two story bar and restaurant has a spacious party deck where live music and dancing happens almost every day/night of the week.

Gina's expert tip: It's under the bridge to Fort Myers Beach, cross the bridge and you've missed your turn.

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Lani Kai Island Resort
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

The Lani Kai is a legendary party spot on Fort Myers Beach. People come by car and boat to see what is going on, and there is always something. It's not fancy but it's fun, at times downright raucous, with live music, games lots of skin and lots of drinking, both day and night. Especially during spring break season which begins as early as February and lasts through the beginning of April. At times, it is standing room only on the beach, and the bars are three deep. It can get loud, silly and there is never a shortage of entertaining people watching. The rooftop bar offers a great vantage point and a break from the frenzy below. You can pay to park here for the day but the lots often fill up fast.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: Lani Kai is known year round, as party central on Fort Myers Beach and a popular spot for Spring Breakers to congregate.

Gina's expert tip: Try happy hour on the rooftop, inside the Island View Restaurant

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Shuckers at the Gulfshore and the Cottage Bar
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

The Cottage is cool, a favorite spot for locals year round. As part of the more civilized and recently renovated Gulfshore Grill, the Cottage is a casual, outdoor beach bar with an unobstructed view of the water. People come by car, by boat and by foot to party here. You'll find live music at just about every night. Sometimes the acts are solo and more mellow, other times full bands set up and rock the deck. When the bands break, you can often hear the music thumping from the neighboring Lani Kai Resort, a Spring Break magnet. It's fun to watch the madness from the safety of the Cottage deck, but also easy to walk next door and join the raucous celebration if so moved.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: The crowd is always fun here, the food served late, the music is good and so is the view of the beach.

Gina's expert tip: Take advantage of the free valet as parking is limited

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Fort Myers Beach Sunset Celebration
Photo courtesy of Gina BIrch

Beaches in the Fort Myers area are full at sunset. Some people watch in reverence as the sun slips away into the great Gulf of Mexico. However others like to celebrate, like victory in a sporting event, the conclusion of another day. These are the people who gather on Fridays and Saturdays for the Sunset Celebration at the so-called Times Square area of Fort Myers Beach. The square is a pedestrian area at the foot of the beach pier, full of shops, restaurants and bars. But for weekend sunsets, the paved space is taken over by artists, musicians and other performers, gathering to celebrate the mighty sun. Activity begins around 5:00 and will continue as late as 10pm. It's free and it provides great people watching.

Recommended for Best Nightlife of Fort Myers Beach because: If you want nightlife without the bar scene, the weekend celebration at Times Square begins at sunset and lasts well into the evening.

Gina's expert tip: Park south and take a trolley to avoid traffic

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Meet Gina Birch

Gina carries the rare title of "Native Floridian". Living in Southwest Florida for more than 20 years, she is a well known, award winning radio and TV personality. She also writes for a number...  More About Gina