Whether you’re into casual breweries, rowdy saloons or sophisticated wine bars, there are plenty of spots to raise a glass around Bonita Springs and Estero.Less
Wine is a major draw at this Bonita Springs Italian establishment, home to a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence wine list. The selection of 4,000-plus bottles—70% of which are Italian—is beautifully presented in the 30-foot-tall wine tower that anchors the space, where there’s almost always a live pianist. Sommelier Dinah Leach often encourages diners to discover lesser-known Italian varieties from regions like Campania to sip while tucked into one of the plush, curtain-framed booths.
The energetic team behind Downtown Coffee and Wine Company debuted this long-awaited fine-dining concept, off Old 41, in 2022. Inside, the 12-seat bar and small dining room lean baroque with jewel-tone walls, Palm Beach regency art and furnishings that mainly were thrifted locally, and gold-accented lighting for a dose of Art Deco cool. The 10-bottle wine list highlights hand-picked selections from lesser-known wineries, poured by the glass or in low-ABV cocktails.
There’s an undeniably alluring intimacy to the railroad-car-thin C Level Bistro—one that is belied by its perch in a humdrum strip mall on Bonita Beach Road. That’s why locals have sworn fealty to the restaurant throughout the past decade. The perennially dark interior, bathed in a neon blue glow, gives off a refined air not often found in the area. Throw in a respectable wine list where Saint-Émilion Bordeaux is available, and you’re on a whole new level.
Zach Smith had been a homebrewer for about six years before making the leap. The Naples native designed Ceremony to be a taproom, bottle shop (you can pick from the fridge or have them arrange a package for carryout), and a neighborhood hangout, with art, leather couches and a chill, indoor-outdoor design. Out of the brewery’s 18 taps, 10 are dedicated to Ceremony beers, and the rest are guest brews, focusing on rare, small-batch, seasonal releases.
Despite its Prohibition Era vibe, Chartreuse is not a pompous speakeasy. The lime green stools—a nod to the Downtown Bonita bar’s name—pop against the 1930s-inspired decor, with antique couches and stained-glass light fixtures. Bartenders and bow-tied servers spend time with customers, pinning down their preferences for artful, tropically cocktails. The no-standing-room policy also reflects personalized attention, which sometimes leads to long waits on weekends; reserve ahead.
After a million-dollar renovation, the bar at this Bonita Springs mainstay glimmers and the new leatherbound cocktail menu reads like a book. Its first chapter is dedicated to fine wines from iconic vineyards. That’s followed by a meticulously categorized list of nearly 250 spirits ranging from Japanese whiskey to mezcal to aged rum. The broad assemblage inspired the bar staff when designing the nearly 50 craft cocktails, with catchy names such as Taiwan-On (a ginger-laced sour apple martini).
Doc’s Beach House in Bonita Springs offers fish sandwiches, burgers, chicken fingers, Chicago-style hot dogs and drinks from their on-site food truck. It's outside-only dining while they rebuild their space, but a great way to still support this local favorite and catch some killer sunsets at Bonita Beach. Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Downtown Coffee and Wine sits in a small space at the corner of Old 41 and Abernathy Street in downtown Bonita Springs, with counter service and a couple small tables inside. Most of the action happens on the patio, among potted plants, under bistro lights and with a view of a historic cottage across the street. Craft coffees from Black Tulip, scratch-made flavorings, and alternative milk offerings (from goat to oatmeal) set the brew standard.
Fort Myers husband-and-wife team Darlyn Victor (the brewer) and Ana Rodriguez de Vera opened Hopsized Brewing Co. in the Bernwood Trade Center in Bonita Springs in late 2019. With five fermenters housed in a lofty, industrial-chic space, Hopsized crafts mainly sours and New England IPAs named after places the couple has visited. While still relatively new, the brewery’s already becoming a go-to for its events, like the monthly Night Market at The Springs, and its rotation of food trucks.
Tucked inside the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, Mangroves is a sleeker alternative to your average lobby bar. Artisanal pizzas come from the hearth oven, and bar snacks are on the elevated side. As for the drinks, take your pick of Grey Goose martinis, cucumber and coconut margaritas, and handcrafted mules mixed with pineapple juice and green chile vodka. If you want to go all-out, order a decanter of Louis XIII, which takes four generations and more than 100 years to craft.