One With the Water

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Perched on the corner of Hendry Street facing the Caloosahatchee, Oxbow Bar & Grill reflects the downtown Fort Myers ambiance of past and present, with exclusive riverfront views to boot.

“It’s really the only restaurant in downtown Fort Myers that is on the water,” says Bob Megazzini, general manager of Luminary Hotel & Co.

Opened in March, the multilevel restaurant and entertainment venue is the latest downtown Fort Myers project by Mainsail Lodging & Development, creators of the new Luminary Hotel & Co. and developers of the Caloosa Sound Convention Center, formerly known as Harborside Event Center and the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater.

Naples-based BSSW Architects and Wegman Design Group teamed up to transform the Mediterranean-style building, which formerly housed Art of the Olympians. A new, contemporary facade provides a preview of the fresh and modern-meets-maritime features inside.

“We really think it’s reflective of what’s going on downtown with modernizing some of the older buildings and things like that,” says Loren Wegman, design director at Wegman Design Group. “We’re taking a nod from the adjacent buildings and creating a mixture of new and old.”

That combination includes reclaimed wood, white-washed brick, antique finishes, sleek matte black and polished copper accents and pops of green and blue. “There’s a really cool mixture of textures and color,” Wegman says. “There’s a bit of a nod to nostalgia.”

A kayak revamped with lighting hangs from the ceiling in the first-floor watersports outfitter, which features rental services and merchandise supplied by St. Petersburg-based Boaters Republic. Nautical knick-knacks hang on reclaimed wood shelving, boat cleats and other creative displays.

Just beyond the retail space is the restaurant. Guests can unwind at the U-shaped bar and catch a game on one of three big-screen TVs, enjoy a seafood or steak dinner in the main dining area or settle in on the waterfront patio for a craft sandwich and cocktail.

Guests needn’t sit outside to catch the cool Caloosahatchee breeze. “The whole first floor can be opened to the water,” Megazzini says, thanks to fully contracting windows.

“It’s a pretty cool location to be sitting at the bar and see boats coming in and the waterway beyond,” Wegman says. “Not only do you get the experience of being on the water, but people can dock their boats right outside.”

Business executives can treat staff or clients to a more exclusive experience in the second-floor, 2,400-square-foot event center, which fits approximately 150 people and boasts its own patio and private access, along with a catering kitchen. “The views from the second floor are very spectacular,” Wegman says.

Each floor has its own appeal, but the overall upscale-casual contemporary style is deliberately subdued to not detract from the star view: the river.

“We have glass all along the back of the building, and all that does is overlook this insane water view,” Wegman says. “That’s really the artwork, that’s really the expression of what you want to see—how cool it is to be right there in downtown Fort Myers on the water.”


Oxbow Bar & Grill

Address: 1300 Hendry Street, Fort Myers Opened: March 2021
Architect: BSSW Architects
Designer: Wegman Design Group
Developer: Mainsail Lodging & Development

Photo Credit: Vanessa Rogers


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