For the past seven years, the Mantra Bar & Lounge at Naples Grande Beach Resort has celebrated the beginning of the weekend with bubbly Friday happy hours featuring Veuve Clicquot French champagne. This season, it is one-upping itself with a switch to Perrier Jouet.
“We had been pouring this high-end champagne,” said Eddie Thomas, director of food and beverage. “We couldn’t downgrade. We had to find an upgrade.” And so, he established a new partnership with Perrier Jouet.
Because the happy hour runs seven hours each Friday, from 3 to 10 p.m., the F&B team settled on $7 for a glass of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut during those hours.
A menu of seven specialty cocktails? Right, $7 apiece. And the signature nosh that gives the weekly event its name Flutes & Frites – a variety of different French fries (shoestring, waffle, waffle sweet potato and crinkle cut) with a trio of sauces (Thai chili, sambal aioli and mango ketchup): $7 per Chinese takeout-style carton.
Seven appears to be a lucky number as already at the happy hour’s seasonal debut on Aug. 30, guests were shooting selfies with Perrier Jouet neon displays and their bubbly flutes. Thomas christened the event with a surprise flourish – a sabered uncorking of the first bottle.
Because I was interviewing him at the time about the new happy hour, I had the privilege to receive the first flute of the wonderfully floral and fruity nectar-of-gods. We all toasted the happy occasion, hoping for the safe passage of then-lurking Hurricane Dorian. We soon enough shed any worries, munching frites (the sweet potato fries with Thai chili wins in my estimation) and enjoying the music of a live 70s cover band in the elegant lobby lounge.
“We do this happy hour for the local market,” said Thomas. “We’ve built a lot of great relationships over the years. This is their place to go after work to kick off the weekend.”