Dining in Naples during the busy winter season can be adventuresome if not downright problematic. Popular restaurants in and around Naples often demand reservation bookings well in advance, especially on weekends. And then there’s the matter of dining and socializing at a reasonable hour and not in the dreaded “early bird” or “night owl” seating. The standard advice is to plan ahead or to take one’s chances by eating at the bar if seats are available.
After visiting Naples the past few winters, I better understand why residents at gated private communities prefer at times just to stay at the club and not bother with the hassle of venturing out. Case in point is The Tavern at The Club at Mediterra. I’ve been a lucky guest there on several occasions after playing its exceptional pair of Tom Fazio-designed courses. With its expansion of outdoor seating, its inviting fire pit and casual yet chic atmosphere, The Tavern is my candidate for “best 19th hole” in the area.
It’s a versatile gathering spot for members. It affords casual and family dining in a roomy and comfortable setting while being the antithesis of stuffy. And for those happily fixated on the latest PGA Tour event, there are large flat-screen TVs at the bar lending still another focal point for members and guests. So presto: it’s a sports bar, too, with eclectic offerings of beer, wine and cocktails. Moreover, the menu items are diverse, affordable and health-oriented with selections of gourmet brick-oven pizzas, seasonal salads and grilled entrees.
Mesmerized by the dancing flames of the fire pit, I mused how savvy clubs like Mediterra are meeting the demand for more casual dining and gathering spaces. If clubs want to attract younger-thinking members and their extended families, then this is the way to go. To that end, it was also interesting to learn Mediterra, one of Naples’ 5-star rated communities, relaxed its dress code beginning this season, allowing denim in the clubhouse as it had been allowed at its Beach Club. However, defibrillators won’t be needed for purists decrying the demise of manners and Western Civilization. Other dress codes for the course and other specified areas of the club still prevail. To its credit, the club is simply responding to the changing and more relaxed mindset of its members.
Relaxed mindset? Yep, that’s also on tap at The Tavern at Mediterra.
For more information about The Club at Mediterra visit www.theclubatmediterra.com