Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Best Bars In Key West

To start with, there are always three root viewpoint perspectives on the best bars in Key West. One is the Tourist. Another is the Visitor, and the third is the Local. The Local is self explanatory, however, what is the difference between a Tourist and a Visitor? Complicated, yet simple. In a nutshell, A Visitor is someone who visits Key West and want's to move here when all the ducks are in a row. Maybe a few months, maybe a few years, but it's on the "Bucket List" of things to do. As it's on their agenda, they want to discover the local's bars, so they can get a feel for the lay of the land and be part of the scene. Because of this, many Visitors actually cherish the locals places more than the locals! The Tourist want's to come here, raise some cane that perhaps they can't where they come from, and go back home. The emphasis being on the desire to "Go Back Home".

Bear in mind, that all is good! Also keep in mind that the Tourist will have the desire to go to tourist bars, where as the locals and visitors tend to go to Local's bars. Yes, most bars cater to all, it's just that the percentages can range from 75% local to 0% Local. Many Locals would just as soon have molten lead poured in their ears, rather than go to some of the Tourist bars on Duval St. It could be used as a prison sentence for some. A sort of Devil's Island of the damned.

"Your Honor, I am at the court's mercy and I kindly ask the jury to have me tarred and feathered, then paraded about town for all to see, laugh at, and mock, rather than be sent to Irish Kevin's for an evening! I beg the Court's mercy to start boiling the tar now. Anything but that!"

Of course, be advised that the list below is a list of the best bars in Key West. Also be advised that they are chosen by a local, who, indecently, has no desire whatsoever to be tortured and left to rot on Devil's Island.

1) The Green Parrot - The Green Parrot dates from 1890... or some say 1888. It's a Classic Key West Bar, from the get go. For starters, it's a real bar. There's no food, just Beer, Wine, and Liquor. The staff are real people. You won't get the "Hello, my name is Bubbles and I'll be your server tonight" Bullshit. They won't tell you about any specials, because there aren't any specials. It's a bar. In catering to the local working crowd, there is a Happy Hour however. Live music from all over the country and town Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday afternoons. The best jukebox in town, as well. No sniveling allowed. Drawbacks: None.

2) Schooner Wharf - Schooner Wharf is the best outside bar in town, located right on Key West Bight, off Lazy Lane. Great staff! Key West icon Mike McCloud plays six days a week from noon to five. It's real Key West, so if you don't like hearing the F word, don't fucking go. Music all the time, as well. Food's good too. Great music, fantastic atmosphere, great staff, great view, and you're outside. Hello. Drawbacks: None

3) Finnegan's Wake - Finnegan's is a fun Irish Pub located on Granell St., across from the power company. Irish music brought in on weekends from all over the United States. Best beer selection in Key West, no holes barred. Really! Kitchen open until 2 am. Very good staff. Drawbacks: huummmmm

4) Don's Place - Don's Place is most likely the very last place a Tourist will stumble into. It's well off the Tourist path, for one, located at 1000 Truman St., about 5 blocks east of Duval. A real bar that serves alcohol and no food. Darts, Jukebox, also has an outside Tiki Bar.

5) Hog's Breath Saloon - Hog's best asset... and it's a great asset, is that it has top notch live music from all over the island and the U.S. all day long. Good bar staff too. Drawbacks: Leans a bit on the corporate side

6) El Alamo Bar - A new bar, just off Duval's 200 block. Set up in a large courtyard and well managed by Billy. Music most evenings and a good bar staff to boot. Drawbacks: Still new and trying to find their nitch... but doing that very well!

7) Captain Tony's Saloon - What can you say? Hemingway used to hang out here five out of seven days a week. A woman is buried in the pool room. No food, it's a bar. Holds Florida's oldest liquor license. Dates from.... early 1800's. Woman have been known to take their shirts off and sing with the musicians from time to time. Good bar and apparel staff. Drawbacks: 1) Needs a new week-night manager. Annoying the crew all the time doesn’t work in a bar. 2) Waterless urinals in the men's room. Hello! Don't go in without a gas mask. Who was the Einstein who was suckered into this deal?


  1. No mention of the Chart Room? Easily, to me, the best bar in Key West. Hidden, quiet, no blenders, cold beer, cool on a hot day, and the haunt of many a notorious Key West denizen over the past 50-60 years.

  2. Hey Chris
    This is greg just checking out your blog. U and i know that the best place for libations is the Green Parrot. Hopefully i will get back there soon. Keep me posted on the upcoming events