Welcome back, football season: a time of comradery and fun, cheering and chanting, and throwing things at the TV when the play doesn't go the way we'd hoped. College football season kicks in Aug. 30, and national football season kicks in just a week later. With all of the upcoming green-grass action getting ready to kick into gear, plenty of local on-island and off-island hot spots are offering some special celebrations, as game time slowly approaches. Hut! Hut! Hut!
17853 San Carlos Blvd., 689-8775
Bayside Grill has got some football fun rolled up its sleeves, with a big pre-college kickoff party planned for Saturday, Aug. 25, from 6 p.m. to close. Be sure to wear your favorite college team gear to enjoy 25-cent Miller Lite and Bud Light drafts, starting at 6 p.m.
Prizes, raffles and giveaways will be handed out throughout the night, and prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed college fan. Heads up, you must wear your favorite college team to enjoy those drink specials, prizes and giveaways, so suit up!
Lori Starr will perform that evening, and be sure to say a big hello to the SWFL Nuthouse, supporters of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are regulars at the Bayside Grill.
"We proudly celebrate Ohio State every Saturday from Bayside Grill's San Carlos Boulevard location, so come on down and party with us, any weekend," said Cyndi Wilson, one of the coordinators of the local Buckeyes group.
Happy hour takes place at Bayside seven days a week, so during your favorite games, enjoy $1 16-ounce domestic drafts, $1.75 domestic bottles, $2.95 well drinks and $3.50 glasses of house wine, from 2 to 6 p.m.
And, since it's prime rib dinner Saturday, enjoy a succulent prime rib dinner that day for just $12.95, which includes a salad and your choice of potato or vegetable, from 4:30 p.m. until it's gone!
The Beached Whale
1249 Estero Blvd., 463-5505
The Beached Whale is the perfect spot to catch all of the latest football action. Whether you catch the game inside the cool, air-conditioned restaurant, or upstairs at the Look-Out Lounge, where you and your fan friends can watch the cars go by as your favorite team brings it in for a touchdown, it's sure to be a great time.
The Beach Bar at Gulfshore Grill
1270 Estero Blvd., 765-5440
Swing by The Beach Bar at The Cottage and Gulfshore Grill to enjoy some good (and possibly bad) plays while enjoying the surroundings of the Fort Myers Beach shore just feet in front of you.
There's always something great to watch go by whether it's a boat, a group of visiting college kids playing touch football in the sand, or your favorite football team making an incredible pass for a touchdown.
The Sandbar and Grill
7205 Estero Blvd., 463-5544
The Sandbar and Grill boasts an extensive amount of flatscreen TVs for any football fan to catch their favorite team or division break away from the competition.
And, be sure to reserve your space during the Big Game Feb. 3, 2013, as this south-island hot spot offers an amazing special that includes all-you-can-eat-and-drink service.
Big Game Bar and Grill
2200 Main St., 463-3043
Stop by the Big Game Bar and Grill for great sports decor, dozens of flatscreen TVs loaded with the Sunday Ticket, Big 10 Network, ESPN Game Plan, free wifi and much, much more.
Enjoy food and drink specials regularly, and the award-winning location is proud to boast a hot spot for sports fans of all types, who are more than welcome to come by land or sea.
The Lighthouse Tiki
1051 5th St., (800) 778-7748
The Lighthouse Tiki Hut is proud to boast that it is a non-denominational bar, welcoming all who want to gather and watch some pig-skin action on the boob-tube.
The tiki hut hosts a tailgate party every Sunday, featuring more than 30 TVs to catch all the action.
"We show all the games that are on at one time. In most areas of the tiki hut, you can see most if not all of the games and at least all of the games that concern your conference," said Carl Marsh, general manager of the Lighthouse Resort and Tiki. "We offer drink specials every Sunday, bucket specials and all types of great tailgating food specials: ribs, cheeseburgers, and we're always changing it up making things that are appropriate for the grill."
In addition to drink specials, during Football Sunday, take your chance at winning raffles and prizes during the game. The biggest of all games, now in its eighth year, the Tiki's "I?Beat Herbie Contest" is still going strong, still with no winners!
"All a person has to do is put in $1, and if their picks are more winners than what Herbie picks, they win a free commemorative T-shirt," Carl said. "This year is a throwback from the first contest eight years ago. This year, if anyone picks all of the winners in one play, there is a two-night stay at the hotel."
Herbie used to be a bartender at the Lighthouse Tiki. Now he's a person who comes by the bar every week.
"He's our resident Jimmy the Greek," Carl said. "There are an awful lot of people who like to come talk with him and talk about his picks for the week. Also, our bartender, Tracy, from Wells, considers herself a football guru whether it's soccer or our version of football so, come talk to her for advice, too."
17264 San Carlos Blvd., 466-7788
Valerie's Lounge has all of the big college and national football games on every week. During college games, enjoy five for $12 buckets of Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Lite products, along with other great drink specials. And, from 9 a.m. to noon, stop by for "church" on Sundays, for some fantastic $1 bloody marys.
1204 Estero Blvd., 765-9100
The Mermaid also has all of the big college and national football games on every week. During college games, enjoy five for $12 buckets of Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Lite products, along with other great drink specials. And, from 9 a.m. to noon, stop by for "church" on Sundays, for some fantastic $1 bloody marys.
Nemo's on the Beach
1154 Estero Blvd., 233-8224
Nemo's is sure to offer football fans all of their favorite games from its 13 TVs in the back bar along the beach, and six more in the front one, facing Estero Boulevard.
"We'll absolutely be playing all of the games we'll always be playing the games all through season," said Sean Croy, assistant general manager of the establishment. "We're also planning to have a big kick-off-to-the-season party, featuring beer bucket specials ($11 buckets of five domestic bottles), other drinks specials, food specials, definitely wing specials, and much more."
Stay tuned for further details as they develop.
The Smokin' Oyster Brewery
340 Old San Carlos Blvd., 463-3474
The Smokin' Oyster Brewery, located right in the heart of the Bay Walk area, has plenty of football action taking place during the season. Stop by for a good drink, tasty meal and all the action on the astroturf.
416 Crescent St., 463-3838
With a perfect roosting spot one flight up along the back bay on Crescent Street, football fans can enjoy a cool gulf breeze, fresh hot pizza and icy cold brews as they cheer their team onto victory at Matanzas Upper Deck. Stop in regularly for great food and drink specials, and much more.
Enjoy happy hour at the restaurant daily from 3 to 6 p.m., or upstairs Sunday through Thursday all day, Friday and Saturday until 7 p.m.