Planning a trip to Key West? Great idea! I spent about 7 action packed days there in late June to attend a wedding. I love the fun people, the fresh seafood and the laid back atmosphere. It's like having the Caribbean right here in the U.S. of A.
Here's my recap of our favorite spots/activities from this last trip; some new finds; some old standbys; all great.
Bagatelle: Great for lunch and dinner. We sat out on their pretty porch for dinner and I can imagine if you're with the right person (no offense to my fellow diners, of course) it would be totes romantic. A little more upscale feeling than the rest of Duval -- which is a nice change of pace.
Pizza Joe's: OK I will admit, this was a late night stop. But of the three "Key West Pizza Quest" stops we had over the course of the trip (we were hangry) this was the best. True NY pizza served by real New Yorkers ("Tony from Queens").
Blue Heaven: Everyone raves about this place. And yup, it was good. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Pretty sure we had the scallops to start and the snapper for my entree (this is what you get from a drunk reviewer). They even have a Rooster Cemetery which says "One of the oldest burial grounds on the island. Hemingway buried his cock here." Hee.
BO's Fish Wagon: This place started out as a wagon 25 years ago but is now more of a shack. It's a little rough looking and aside from a couple powerful fans, it's hot as balls. But the fish is delish. No grouper that day (their specialty) but still good. Crispy fish and fries with creamy Cole slaw and beers. Cute cashier to boot. (Good pick, Beth!)
Louie's Backyard: Met up with the bride and groom here on Monday for lunch. Sits right on the water and has great views of paddle boarders and jet skiers. Had the fish tacos and a Louie's Lemonade. Highly recommend both!
Irish Kevin's and Sloppy Joe's: I'm not going to write much about these because everyone knows them already. Both have live music. Both have copious amounts of alcohol. Both are a little touristy, but if you are with a group, you'll find your groove. Always a good time.
Hot tip: you can have open container on the streets in Key West! As long as you pour your drink in plastic you can bounce from bar to bar without wasting a drop!
Chart Room Bar: Open since 1968, this place is known as "a weird little bar trapped inside a luxury resort;" that resort being the Pier House Resort & Spa near Mallory Square. Rumor has it Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley got their start here. This place is a tiny locals bar with free popcorn and dogs and one bartender. A nice break from the tourists on Duval.
801 Bourbon Bar: If you have a hankering to do drag bar karaoke, this is the place! I hear they have a pretty legendary drag show upstairs too.
The Porch: From The Porch's website: "The Porch is a craft beer and wine bar located in Downtown Old Town Key West in the historic Porter Mansion. You can find 18 beers on draft that change weekly, over 50 more in bottles and 20 big bottles to choose from. We also carry 12 wines by the glass and a hand pick selection of over 70 bottles to drink or take home with you." That's no joke! Once you've figured out what you're going to drink, go sit out on their giant front porch. Fabulous.
Sunshine Bike Rentals: Get a bike. It's fun. It's cheaper than cabs. And if it's hot, it beats walking. Just be careful: "it's just like riding a bike..." is not really true. Sunshine will bargain with you so don't be afraid to ask for a deal.
Hot tip: you can ride on the sidewalks anywhere but on Duval Street. This is great for scaredy cats like me who are afraid of smashing into a car.
Danger Charters Wind & Wine Sunset Sail: Now this is living. Beautiful boat? Check. Wine? Check. Sunset? Check. Cool breezes? Check. Cute captain? Oh yeah, check! You really can't go wrong. We did this cruise as a bachelorette party and it didn't disappoint. Granted, we were a gaggle of drunks by the time we hit dry land, but it was a blast. The stories that came out of that night were priceless.
Sebago Afternoon Reef Snorkel: This is the snorkel trip for people who can't get out of bed for a 9 am trip. This one starts at 1pm and is about 3 hours. Perfect amount of time. We saw a sea turtle and rumor has it someone saw a small shark (good thing I didn't see that).
Hot tip: stay in the water until they call you back in. Otherwise you will just be sitting on a listing boat waiting for all the other people to get back on and that may or may not make you want to chuck.
Mallory Square Sunset Celebration: This one is a no brainer. THE best place to see the sunset in Key West. And trust me, the sunsets are amazing. See for yourself:
Moral of the story: visit Key West!! You won't be disappointed.
Need advice on where to stay? Like a restaurant I didn't mention? Post a comment and let me know!