SWFL Hot Hangouts: The Seaside Bar
By Samantha Roesler
March 17, 2020 was a shocking day for many restaurant owners— it was the day Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all bars in the state to close down due to COVID-19 concerns.
It was also the day that The Seaside Bar and Grill opened its doors for business.
“The first day was very scary,” The Seaside Bar owner Marc Devisse said. “But, we were very busy, everyone was excited to see something new.” After being open for one day, Devisse closed the bar for the next ten days to reassess the situation and decided to open up a window for carry out.
Devisse is an FGCU graduate and is also the CEO of a construction company in the Southwest Florida area. Out of caution that the economy was going to take a hit, he opened a restaurant with the thought that the food and beverage business would be more recession-proof.
The Seaside Bar holds a modern atmosphere with both an outside and inside bar/seating area, and an upstairs nightclub-like deck. The bar opens up at lunchtime, which has proven effective for attracting customers of every age demographic.
“I’d say that the age group is really flexible,” The Seaside Bar employee Lisa Johnston said. “We get a lot of different ages, I think so far we’ve done a good job and come season the live music will keep the younger crowd around.”
As the Seaside crew continues to aim to be the coolest spot in town, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a large roadblock for successful business. Now that Florida has recently increased the allowed capacity for restaurants and bars, customers seem to be wearier of social gatherings.
“We are constantly battling people who are anti-masks and people who are for masks,” Devisse said. “Catering to people’s decisions is tough. When capacity increased, we saw a decline in sales. The only thing we can think of is that people don’t want to be in a crowded space.”
This new SWFL hotspot continues to have almost daily events and specials for people who are getting more comfortable with going out in a public setting. They have live music Friday and Saturday nights, trivia nights on Thursdays, bottomless Mimosas and more exciting nights that can be found on their social media.
“We’re trying to keep it new and fresh, just kind of changing and bringing in new talent and acts,” Devisse said. “If something doesn’t work, we change it and try to improve.”
For now, Devisse and his employees are just focusing on being a place for anyone to hang out and feel comfortable. “Our goal is to be the neighborhood hangout. Everyone is welcome, and everyone feels welcome with great food, service and fun atmosphere.”
FGCU students will get 10% off any full-priced menu item with a valid student I.D.