Friday Night and at Bar Louie (and yes, the song keeps running through my addled brain, especially after sampling some of their draft beers), I found myself not feeling that I am in the old Edison Mall, but in a some new chic establishment downtown, or in an Orlando TINKish hot spot (TINK - Two Incomes, No Kids).
4125 Cleveland Ave.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
The first thing you notice when you belly up to the bar, are all the beer taps. No less than forty on tap. The good part, are half priced appetizers and $2 drafts during happy hour! Boom! Needless to say, this hill billy sampled around a quarter of the drafts (I will not review them all, but list them out, since you can get them either at your local pub, grocery, or a specialty beer shop).
I will be honest, I have not eaten a meal at Bar Louie (BL), but have enjoyed a few of their appetizers. If you are looking for the same, this place is a place to do it. Especially if you sample the draft beers, you will leave feeling full, trust me! Check with the server, the two for one appetizers change daily, but are great deal with the $2 drafts.
My comrades and I worked over three of their appetizers (two orders of the same thing). They were the soft pretzel sticks, the buffalo calamari, and the grilled chicken tenders.
Soft pretzel sticks? You are thinking wtf? Well, you know how pretzels go good with beer? Well the soft ones are even better, especially with the 3 dipping sauces (honey mustard, hillbilly/yellow mustard, jalapeño cheese sauce). The cheese sauce was my favorite, not too spicy. Try it sometime.
The buffalo calamari was an interesting new fusion, and trust me, I don't find much joy in the new fusion trend in food, fashion, or bar themes, but this one was a hit with me (like southwest egg rolls). The calamari was fried up crunchy, and golden brown. Then it was tossed in a fairly hot buffalo sauce that made the two a delightful twist on this hill billy's palate. Can I say, "Recommended!".
Lastly, we tried their chicken tenders. BL's twist on them, is that they are grilled, rather than fried. Their spices are sort of Cajun. I really like the fact that they were grilled (a nice departure from the fried variety). However, the spices might be a tad much for some tastes.
Now, we have to revisit the draft beers, or should I say, the plethora of draft beers. During happy hour, all drafts are $2 each, or for $80 you can sample every one (and probably a trip to the hospital, if not a trip to the porcelain god to worship). I have to say, my comrades and I made it through a quarter of them (yes, 10/11 to be precise). Here is the list (I apologize if I truncated a name or misspelled one):
LeinenKugel Sunset Wheat
Doghead Fish 60 IPA
Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale
Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
Needless to say, I was "feeling no pain" after we wrapped up the night, hehe. Our bartender was fairly attentive and our glasses never sat empty long. He was cheerful and knowledgeable about both the area, other Bar Louies (yes, it is a specialty chain), and definitely knowledgeable about the menu. I asked what giardinera was, and he told me (and said that most people will never ask what it is, but ask to have it taken off the pizza). BTW, it is the stuff you see at specialty shops in oil and vinegar, consisting of carrots, hot peppers, cauliflower, and celery (in the Italian version at least). I should be ashamed, since my grandmother is Italian and there is an Italian version of it. The wikipedia entry. I have since bought a jar of it to try (after seeing it in specialty stores all my life I don't know why it took me so long). Also, I know I told our server I would place his picture on the blog. Unfortunately, it didn't come out well in the lighting. If the server reads this, email me and I will send it to you.
Service: 5 out of 5. As I said, our bartender was excellent, need I say more? Food Quality: 3 out of 5. For appetizers, they were great, however, for the price and the location, I think that outside of happy hour it can be a little costly for what it is.
- Expectation of the cliental: 3 out of 5. My only draw back was the cliental. They were a mix of TINK's and tourists from the mall. Don't get me wrong, but I hate the mall, mostly because of the derelict kids that attend there (not to mention, Edison mall's surrounding area is going down hill in my opinion). The three young girls out front of the bar cursing was a major turn off.
Until we eat again,