Cool Bars, Live Music and Buzzing Clubs Define Nightlife in Fort Myers

Fort Myers and the Gulf Islands that surround the city, offer some of the best nightlife in Southwest Florida. One of the best stops for the party crowd looking for options is downtown Fort Myers. The brick streets are lined with funky dens, wine bars, pubs and clubs. The area really gets cranking during the monthly Music and Art Walks.

Another hot destination for the bar hopping bunch, is Gulf Coast Town Center. Even though it's extremely popular with the college crowd, there are spots that cater to every age and any taste; from Tequila bars to cigar bars, and sushi bars to piano bars.

Vacationers looking for a more relaxed island-style vibe will enjoy sipping a beer or cocktail at one of the many beach pubs on Estero and Sanibel Islands. If you're looking for a party on Fort Myers beach, the Cottage Beach Bar consistently delivers a good time. It's directly on the beach with live music nightly, and it is right next door to the Spring Break party mecca of the Lani Kai Island Resort, if you're feeling adventurous. 

Whether you want to chill to live music or dance to a DJ, you'll find a spot to embrace in this 10Best list. 


Cape Coral

Nevermind's moniker is "Awesome Bar and Eatery", and that it is. One of the hottest spots in downtown Cape Coral and the brainchild of successful Southwest Florida restaurateur Shannon Yates, Nevermind is a small space so it fills up fast. Good thing the space has expanded next door to add an Irish themed bar, along with plenty of outdoor seating in the front and the back. Fans come here looking for great bites, specialty cocktails made with fresh ingredients, entertainment and a lively staff. For a refreshing cocktail try the white sangria made with St. Germaine, Citrus vodka, Sauvignon Blanc and fresh fruit.

Fort Myers Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

One of the first local breweries in the area, this one has grown to become the biggest and most popular by far. Expanding its facility in an odd, off the beaten path industrial park, Fort Myers Brewing Company has more than 20 taps, TV's to watch your favorite sporting events and oversized games like Jenga and the bean bag toss, to keep you company while you sample the award winning brews provided here. The atmosphere is laid back, people even bring their own lawn chairs to hang outside. Food trucks can be found along the narrow roadway so you can hangout here for hours without the pressure of having to fit into a "scene."

Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

At nearly 15,000 square feet, Society is a big open space with a cool vibe. You'll find several bars, both indoor and out, with a 360-degree video wall system in the dining room. While much attention has been given to the dining and cocktail program, it's the entertainment that seems to be hitting the spot with locals. You'll find solo acts downstairs for happy hour and DJ's later in the evening. The rooftop Treehouse Bar is where most of the action is found. The drinks up here are Tiki inspired and there is an herb garden for fresh garnishes. The stage hosts live bands, and DJ's, many of whom have a national following. On these nights it's a capacity crowd.


This former Chinese restaurant has morphed into one of the most infamous local bars in the Fort Myers area. You'll know you are in the right place by the giant statue of Buddha, sitting in the parking lot. A couple of things you can be sure of in this bar, the drinks are cold and cheap and the music is loud. Local bands love to rock here as well as those on the touring circuit. There's something about the small dance floor of the Buddha that makes people get a little crazy. It's not uncommon to see party goers dressed in jeans and a T, jumping around next to someone in a polo or even in formal attire. Everyone is welcomed at the Buddha.

The Cottage Beach Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

The Cottage is cool, a favorite spot for locals year round. As part of the more civilized and recently remodled 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 The Cottage just about every night. Sometimes the acts are solo and more mellow, other times full bands set up and rock the deck. At times you can also hear the music coming 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.

The Roadhouse Cafe
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch

The owners of the Roadhouse have connections and they use them, to the extreme delight of music lovers. The family of famous trumpeter Louis Colombo, opened the cafe in 2007, inspired by their successful restaurant in Cape Cod. Colombo had quite a career, performing with legends the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett. He spent the winter months in Fort Myers where he loved to get on stage at the Roadhouse, his famous friends did too. Colombo passed away in 2012 but his friends still come back and play in his honor. This is a great place to both dine and dance, catering to the over 40 crowd.Once inside this beautiful cafe, you'll forget you're in a strip mall in Florida, you'll think you're in the big city and have just hit the musical jackpot.

The Downtown River District of Fort Myers really comes alive during the monthly Art Walk (first Friday of the month) and Music Walk (third Friday of the month). Galleries, museums and shops stay open late, with special exhibits, activities and lots of music. During Music Walk performers and bands take to the streets and to dozens of venues, playing jazz, rock and roll, top 40 and everything in between. Just as fun as the street party is the extended bar hopping at popular watering holes like the World Famous Cigar Bar, Gotham, Ford's Garage, Space 39, The 86 Room, Club Indigo, City Tavern, Downtown Social House and more. You'll find a bar downtown to match almost any mood.

You don't have to wear cowboy hats and boots to get into this country themed club, but you will fit right in if you do. You'll also do well if you like to, and know how to line dance. However, the Dixie, as locals call it, wants everyone to join the fun so they offer free line dance lessons at the beginning of the night. Dixie boasts the biggest hardwood dance floor in the area and also has plenty of room for live bands and other special events. If you don't think you can handle country music all night long, then you'll be happy to know that the DJ's here love to spice things up with hip hop and dance mixes. In addition, there are drink specials and freebies almost every night of the week.

The Firestone is a four-story entertainment and restaurant complex in an historic building, facing the renovated waterfront in downtown Fort Myers. The Martini Bar on the third is known to locals as the "Brick Bar", home to live bands playing everything from blues to rock-n-roll. The bar has been renovated, and while it still has some of the old rustic feel, it is definitely more posh. On the rooftop Sky Bar, some of the area's hottest DJ's keep the party going until the wee hours of the morning. Reserve a couch and take the express elevator from the front door, right up to the roof. Check the website for an updated list of bands and expect to wait in line on a Friday or Saturday night.

Gulf Coast Town Center (GCTC) is one of the hottest dining and drinking destinations in Fort Myers. The sprawling village-like layout has watering-holes in every corner making it a one-stop party shop. No matter what the crowd or what your mood, you are bound to find a suitable place to play here. Enjoy live music, cognac and premium hand-rolled cigars from The "World Famous" Cigar Bar, premium tequilas at Cantina 109, or dealing pianos and dancing at The Keys Bar & Grille. The beautiful people go to Brahma Sushi for fancy cocktails and live DJ"s. You can even catch a movie here. GCTC is close to Florida Gulf Coast University so it's a popular place for the college crowd, but with the sheer number of restaurants and bars, any age will find something enticing.


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