The River District of downtown Fort Myers is, without a doubt, the up and coming place to go in the area. For years, the area has been in a process of a perpetual revitalizing effort. With the addition of The Firestone - Grille, Martini Bar & Sky Lounge, something has definitely clicked in this part of town. Named after Harvey Firestone (the founder of the famous tire company), the interior of the building is cleverly decorated in the look of an early 1900’s garage. Why Firestone? Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison (knows as the “Millionaires Club” during their day) vacationed and had homes in Fort Myers. They were greatly influential in making Fort Myers, “The City of Palms”, what it is today. There are already restaurants in town named after the latter two gentlemen, so the Firestone name fits in perfectly.
The building stands out with distinction on the river side of the skyline. An imposing eatery, standing at four stories, colored lights coat the front of Firestone. It stands out with the look of something you’d see in South Beach rather than Fort Myers. Complimentary valet parking is available out front which is particularly accommodating during the busy winter months. With that said, Firestone pulls in a strong and loyal crowd even throughout the summer months. Entering the building, you're greeted by an attentive staff who are well versed in pointing you in the right direction.
Fort Myers has a reputation of being a laid back town on the “quiet coast” of Florida. Snow birds flock there in the winter. Connected by a causeway to Fort Myers, tourists enjoy the islands of Sanibel and Captiva and all their quaint charm. Sure, Fort Myers Beach gets its share of raucous action during spring break. However, that area is like a whole ‘nother world to most residents. So what is there to do?
Grille, Martini Bar & Sky Lounge
Restaurant? Martini Bar? Sky Lounge? All three in one night? They’ll show you the way. If it’s busy, take the elevator to the fourth floor and enjoy the sunset while having a drink at the Sky Lounge; Firestone’s open air, roof top hybrid of a bar and nightclub. Sit at the bar or enjoy a comfortable sofa with friends. During the winter months, gas torches provide that extra bit of warmth of those chilly Florida nights. When it gets to be that time of year when temps soar, portable air conditioning units help cool things down on hot summer nights. When you get the text from the hostess that your table is ready, head back down the elevator. Seating is on the first two floors, known as the Grille Room and Loft, as well as sidewalk tables.
I took a look at the menu and was impressed at first glance. Chef Marbin, already well respected in the area, has put together an eclectic menu leaving me with more tantalizing options than I can put on my plate. I started with the Oysters Rockefeller and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna for my entrée. I was absolutely delighted with both dishes. The stir fry that accompanied the tuna was particularly delicious. The meal, as a whole, had a unique quality to it that made it distinctively Firestone. Chef Marbin has an adopted motto of “Live to eat, don’t eat to live”. It certainly shows in the energy, preparation and delivery of such an outstanding menu.
With dinner over, the night was just beginning at Firestone. We headed up the stairs, deciding to explore some rather than take one of the two elevators, to the Martini Bar. The room is one part New York City, a pinch of South Beach and touch of secret ingredient that makes it all Firestone. A live band was playing this particular night. A round of drinks was ordered and we enjoyed the music for a solid hour before heading back upstairs to the Sky Lounge. By this time, a DJ was spinning dance music and the impromptu dance floor had come alive and was absolutely packed. The crowd’s demographic was diverse but distinctively upscale. Everyone appeared to be having a blast. With that said, it is nice to go out to an evening of dancing where people actually care about how they look and act. Firestone is that place. Enough said.
1 AM rolled around and we found we’d been in the Firestone building for nearly 6 hours. Dinner in the Grille Room, drinks and a live band in the Martini Bar and dancing on the Sky Lounge had lead to an evening of good food, good friends and an outstanding time. Let’s do it again.
Visit The Firestone's website at www.firestonefl.com.