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Urban oasis in Fort Myers worth more than drive-by

RedBone's Bar & Grill, Fort Myers

Mar. 15, 2013
The old neon sign from the former Ricochet nightclub lights up the stage on the outdoor patio at RedBone's Bar & Grill in Fort Myers.
The old neon sign from the former Ricochet nightclub lights up the stage on the outdoor patio at RedBone's Bar & Grill in Fort Myers. / Special to
A closeup of the Bloody Mary with all its garnishes at RedBone's in Fort Myers. / Special to

RedBone’s Bar & Grill

3604 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers
• Food: 2.5 Stars (Out of 4)
• Atmosphere: 3.5 Stars (Out of 4)
• Service: 3 Stars (out of 4)
• Price: $-$$
• Hours: 11 a.m.-close (midnight or later) daily, kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
• Call: 694-5100
• Noise level: Outdoor speakers help drown out the sounds of traffic coming from Palm Beach; sit away from these speakers if you’re seeking conversation.
• Etc.: Full bar, indoor dining/bar area is dark with pool tables and wood-back booths, smoking allowed on the patio, takeout available.

• 1/2-pound peel-and-eat shrimp, $6.99
• Chicken wings (10), $7.45
• Steak bites, $6.99
• Fried mushrooms, $4.95
• Raw or fried oysters, market

• BBQ spare ribs, $9.99
• Quarter chicken, $5.99
• Philly cheese steak, $6.50
• Fried grouper, $9.99
• 1-pound rib-eye, $14.99


>> Map: See where JLB has been and how the food fared

On Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers, amid the taquerias and bodegas, the body shops and used-car dealers, there is RedBone’s.

Speeding down Palm Beach, the building looks like little more than a liquor store.

You have to slow down.

The Key West colors will be your first clue. RedBone’s walled-off patio is layered in turquoise and yellow, sea-foam green, salmon pink and periwinkle. Walk past the giant gorilla standing guard out front and step into the covered bar area where servers are quick to greet you, offering up a seat, “anywhere you like!” on the expansive, paver-lined patio.

There’s a stage glowing under the neon light of the old Ricochet sign (as in the former country bar that once thrived a few miles southwest of here). There are fountains and flora and statues of dogs dressed as butlers. There are bike signs and birdhouses and arrows pointing the way to Cuba, the River or even Lookers (if ever one is so inclined).

Over the last few years RedBone’s owners have poured serious money into the one-time dive bar, and this stunning, funky patio is their crowning achievement.

On a Sunday afternoon, as folks in other parts of town suffer through lengthy waits, RedBone’s welcomes you to its breezy oasis with open arms. And with $2 Bloody Marys, each one stuffed with a leafy stalk of celery, a pickle spear and a chunk of smoky sausage. The rim is dusted in seasoning salt, and the kick of vodka is unmistakable. You kick yourself for not coming here sooner.

There are peel-and-eat shrimp served plump and steamy, and breaded chicken wings fried crackly then coated in eye-watering hot sauce.

RedBone’s menu is simple: Bar food, some seafood, and some serious barbecue they’re smoking themselves out back.

Ribs are the St. Louis kind, served meaty and pink under a crunchy layer of bark. Chicken is juicy beneath its smoke-charred skin. Pulled pork comes in tender strands that are best with a slathering of RedBone’s sweet and spicy barbecue sauces.

There are pizzas and sandwiches and even steaks. A 1-pound rib-eye is just $14.99. It was cooked perfectly one night, but the lower quality of meat was evident in the steak’s toughness and lack of flavor. A plate of grilled grouper suffered the same fate as that rib eye. A basket of fried shrimp were choked in salt. Though it’s unlikely you’ve come here for fine seafood.

The burgers, thick and juicy, are a better bet. Or maybe the Philly cheese steak smothered in melting cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions.

I’ve never been offered dessert at RedBone’s, nor have I ever felt a need to ask.

You exit the confines of the patio only to be jerked back to reality by the thumping bass of a passing car. You’re tempted to turn around. But living in this urban haven might be impractical.

You’ll just have to slow down more often. So you can come back soon.

Jean Le Boeuf is the nom de plume of a local food lover who dines at The News-Press’ expense. Contact; or @jeanleboeuf (Twitter).

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