Two Waterfront Locations – Open 365 Days a Year!
about the Boathouse
Boathouse Tiki Bar & Grill
THE MOST FUN BAR & GRILL EXPERIENCE ON FLORIDA’S SOUTHWEST COAST
The history of the original Boathouse Tiki Bar & Grill at the Cape Coral Yacht Club dates back to the early 1950’s. Businessmen Leonard and Jack Rosen, brothers from Baltimore, Maryland, spent two weeks flying around Southwest Florida looking for land to develop. While flying over Redfish Point(Location of the Original Boathouse), across from already established city of Fort Myers and what would eventually become Cape Coral, Leonard decided to develop this plot of land, marking it by tossing coins out of the window of the plane. The area didn’t know what was about to hit it!
The Rosen brothers changed the Floridian wilderness into a waterfront paradise: a place for selling and buying dreams. Cape Coral was to become the largest master-planned community in the United States. Building such a paradise came with many challenges. Clearing the land involved chopping through mangroves, pine trees, and native Florida brush with machetes. The men slept in tents and had to battle rattlesnakes, panthers, and alligators. The humidity and heat were brutal; there were salt marshes and muddy pools, as well as thick, hard-to-cut limestone to tackle. Once the clearing process was complete, canals were dug out with dredges and the leftover Earth was used to build up the land to the required elevation of 5’ 6” above sea level. The first official building in Cape Coral, even before any houses were constructed, was the Rosen’s sales office. The location is where George’s Auto now stands at Cape Coral Parkway and Coronado Parkway.
A team of hotshot salesmen used a fleet of planes to offer free rides as a very effective selling method. Sacks of flour were dropped from the plane to mark lots customers bought from the air! At the beginning, landing strips were made for sales flights on SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral Parkway, and Coronado Parkway. They eventually moved to a small airport near what is now Del Prado Boulevard and SE 21st Street. In 1965, the airport was shut down and flights were moved over to Page field in Fort Myers once the Cape Coral Bridge was built.
The Rosens thought they would sell most of the lots immediately, with the intention for people to make monthly payments before retiring to their property later, so they could have the time to construct future amenities. However, land sales soared to $5 million within the first five months! They found that most prospective buyers wanted to move down right away.
TWO UNIQUE LOCATIONS
OPEN 365 DAYS A YEAR!
Before buyers could move down, model homes had to be built. A motel and restaurant were also needed to accommodate buyers. They found difficulty in keeping up with the demand for the good life of swimming, lounging, fishing, boating, and golfing promised at the time.
There was a lot of hype, promotion and advertising to encourage people to move to Cape Coral. Celebrities like Bob Hope, Anita Bryant, and Hugh Downs were brought in to help promote sales. A movie staring Phyllis Diller called “The Fat Spy” was filmed in Cape Coral along with episodes from the TV show Route 66 was filmed during Cape Coral’s early years.
The city became known as a “Waterfront Wonderland”, with over 400 miles of navigable waterways. After several houses were built, the Yacht Club was constructed with a beach, pool, pier and clubhouse. It was kid friendly and had a popular teen club, where adults were not allowed unless they accompanied a child.
Almost 52 years to the day after the Cape Coral Yacht Club opened, the Boathouse Tiki Bar & Grill held it’s grand opening to the public. The restaurant has grown to become one of the most popular tiki bars in the United States. It was featured on the Travel Channel show “Food Paradise”, showcasing the popular menu items Authentic Cuban Sandwich and The Big BLT along with the Boathouse’s famous Liki Tiki cocktail. It’s a little hidden gem nestled among the palm trees at the end of Driftwood Parkway. With unmatched beautiful sunset views of the Caloosahatchee River, this local landmark boasts a private beach, multiple seating levels, two full service bars, award winning cuisine, over 400 feet of dockage, fuel services to boats, and live music daily; all while having some of the most stunning scenery in the in Southwest Florida.
Welcome to the Boathouse –
Where No Passport is Needed!