Where do you go when you want a drink, a smoke, friends and a good time? Until last Saturday it was Fortune’s Lounge.
My wife Anne and I met with longtime friends, Bruce, Sheila and Troy Miles for the final night at Fortune’s. We have been going to the club on Collier Boulevard for years for it’s Cheers-like atmosphere, good bar food and, of course, generous drinks. Of course, one big attraction was that smoking was allowed there. The overhead electronic air filters kept the room clear and comfortable, and the bar food was great.
When we walked in the door and took our seats, a large green onyx ashtray was delivered to the table. Bruce gave it the owner, Ray Fortune, years ago to keep at the bar for him, just one of the many nice touches we enjoyed there. Jeremy and Natalie were the capable bartenders, and remembered that Troy drinks only coke in the daytime and ginger ale at night. As usual, the bartenders make sure Troy’s guide dog, Mary Jo, gets some room under his table so the guests don’t step on her. Grumpy’s (Tim Collins) food was delicious as usual. Compliments of Fortune’s were meat loaf, a baked ham, two kinds of potato, and a pineapple-upside-down cake for desert.
One unusual and unforgettable thing that Fortune’s did for years was a dinner for veterans around November 11. Invitations went out to the VFW and other veterans for a free dinner at the restaurant. You couldn’t pay for anything, even drinks and wine. Ray and his Son, John, made us feel at home, with thanks for our service in a fantastic expression of American generosity.
Where will we go now to have a drink, a cigar or cigarette, and meet with friends? It won’t be Fortune’s, unfortunately. Maybe Ray will open a section of the Sand Bar for us. Marco Island’s ‘Cheers’ would live again.