Season Preview / In Good Taste

Best New Bars and Cafes in Southwest Florida

A slate of new drink spots—from European-style wine bars to craft coffee shops open in SWFL.

BY November 1, 2023
Flock Wine Bistro
Flock Wine Bistro (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

For those looking for a vino, head straight to Rebecca’s Cocktail and Wine Bar—the new project from Rebecca Maddox, the Naples Bayshore Arts District trailblazer behind Three60 Market and Celebration Park. Select one of the 1,140 bottles to take home or sit and sip while enjoying caviar from an extensive selection, including famed chef Thomas Keller’s brand, and nibbles from Darren Villeux, formerly top toque at Sails Restaurant. At The Ritz-Carlton, Naples’ new lobby Champagne bar, prepare for an indulgent Master Sommelier-curated bubbly tasting menu paired with bites like Wagyu truffle sliders adorned with gold leaf. District and its accompanying speakeasy, Staff Only, are standard bearers as the city’s first offering of the kind. Slide up to the teal velvet stools at the bar and order a cheeky cocktail for proof. 

Natural Wine Naples’ owner, Peter Rizzo, draws from his 30-plus years of experience and works with young gun Ming Yee to shift Ming’s Café Nutrients restaurant into Bar Nat. Naples’ first natural wine bar champions small winemakers and chemical-free viticulture with a rotating list of by-the-glass picks. The vinos pair beautifully with morsels like sweet-and-spicy roasted Marcona almonds or a béchamel lasagna, which showcase Ming’s culinary genius.

In Fort Myers, esteemed chef Gloria Jordan-Cabral opened Jordan’s Wine Bar & Cellar, with tapas inspired by Barcelona and Havana, live music, and a wine bar and shop. Meanwhile, nearby, couple Matteo Affatati and Alyson Casey takes cues for their ‘pinsa’ Roman flatbread pizzas, bruschetta, and charcuterie boards at Flock Wine Bistro from Rome’s aperitivo bars.

On the brews front, long-time home brewer Chris Gutierrez’s Swamp Cat Brewing Company debuts next spring in Downtown Fort Myers at the Refuge, in a former 1950s church, with an outdoor beer garden and food hall. Following a handful of fantastic craft brewery openings in Bonita Springs over the past few years (including Hopsized Brewing Company and Ceremony Brewing), Chubby Mermaid Brewing Co. joins the Bonita ranks early next year with small-batch beers tested in the brew house and gluten-free options.

For caffeine aficionados, stop in Clara Fasciglione’s newly opened Wolfmoon in Bonita for from-scratch croissants and one of the most serious coffee programs in town, with locally roasted Take Two beans and no-frills, purist drinks. Down in Naples, Black Tulip Roasters combines a cafe, vintage store and art gallery to offer organic, small-batch coffee (think Ethiopian nitro cold brew on tap), vegan iced matcha lattes, brunch, live music, and occasional yoga classes in the tropical garden. Off Fifth Avenue South, Cafe Marquise bakes traditional Turkish treats like pistachio-filled baklava and shredded phyllo kadaif.

And, one of the biggest coffee names in the region, Caleb MacPherson (formerly behind Narrative Coffee Roasters), launches Take Two Coffee. Find his locally roasted coffee (along with freshly baked donuts) at the Friday Fort Myers River District’s Farmer’s Market until he opens a brick-and-mortar. Meanwhile, check into Fort Myers’ Good Ground, opened by a trio with a long-time dream to build a space for locals to commune over coffee. “[Coffee] is something almost everyone can bond over,” co-owner Abel Pardi says. 

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