Walking Lazy Way Lane of an evening one comes across a mural painted on temporary plywood walls. The walls surround the development that was known first as Watermark and shot down by neighbors for being too grandiose. Then it came back proclaiming it's local-ness and was renamed as Harbor House. Harbor House has gone dormant, or bust, depending on who you listen to and the temporary walls around the former construction site have taken on a patina of permanence.Which is where creativity rears it's colorful head: Which message told me I was overdue for a few pictures of a "last little piece of old Key West," as the waterfront bar is known to it's aficionados: SWB- Schooner Wharf Bar. This guy appeared to be an habitué, yelling at the top of his inebriated lungs at a patron sitting not five feet away:The open air theme is what the bar is all about, pea rock for floors and junk with a possibly nautical theme hanging everywhere. The bar overlooks Key West Bight ('bight" is a nautical term for an indentation in a shoreline), but the main entrance faces Lazy Way Lane on the inland side: The crows nest overlooks the harbor and was where the bar's owner Evalina Worthington was shooting off commentary at the last Minimal Regatta, http://conchscooter.blogspot.com/2009/05/sink-and-swim.html is the place to click for that essay from May 26 2009. There aren't many bars featured in Key West Diary, not least because I am not much of a fan of them. They tend to be loud and frenetic and if they don't have at least a dozen TV screens they aren't doing their job. So I don't feel particularly capable of telling a story about this place. Feel free to add comments and tell all the stories you have about getting pie-faced at SWB...where everyone, except Conchscooter, knows your name:
When guests want to go out in Key west after a day in the sun they frequently can be heard to ask if they need to get changed. The rule in Key West (aside from the yacht club as far as I know) is to come as you are, even if that is a delightful electric blue evening gown:
Or not:It takes work to run a bar and the ice machine, like the patrons, sits out in the open churning out desperately needed ice, in all weathers, as SWB really is a ramshackle place in keeping with it's shtick: You don't need a limousine to travel around Key West either:
I love the Slovenian Tomos moped which my mechanic sells at $1200 apiece. Ideal urban wheels which can even be pedaled if gas gets too much at 120 mile per gallon. You'd better not need to travel above 30mph (50km/h) though:
This is actually the best way to leave any bar in Key West. A drunk driving ticket gets you a night at the Stock Island Hilton, complete with body cavity search, thousands in fines and six months loss of driving privileges. Plus you get your very own, personal, FBI felony record upon conviction. All for the price of a twenty dollar cab fare. Besides all that, you might run me over on my lunch break, kill me, and end this blog. Aside from all the drinking possibilities there is sailing to be done from Key West Bight. The bight used to be a commercial fishing port, then tourism got a hold and it became a series of separately owned marinas. In the 1990s renting a berth in the bight was quite the mark of the old timer (or the very wealthy parvenu) but commercial boats still have some sort of right of way here. Wolf is the so-called flagship of the Conch Republic fleet, and it sits right in front of the bar:Just a note here for people who want to talk like pirates. If the boat is called Wolf, that's what you call it. The Wolf is landlubber talk, and no one wants to walk the waterfront in Key West sounding like a -gasp!- landlubber, now do they? Another piece of nautical etiquette is not to walk past some dude's boat and make disparaging remarks about it. Voices carry and you have no idea who might be below decks listening. Nor is it polite to remark on how stationary the notional sailing vessel might appear, like commenting on the lawn growing at the waterline. This is September and the waters are warm, facilitating growth and the paying passengers are few:I am informed the Sebago people now run Wolf so one might hope it is someone's job to make Wolf pretty again in time for a busy winter. There is a lot of key west history in this boat so it will be nice to see it out sailing when cold fronts blow. Meanwhile take an artsy-fartsy picture and keep moving.
I miss sailing sometimes but I don't miss the time and effort involved, so I guess I don't miss it that much:
I still get to smell the fresh salt air and look out at the water and live, like an old man, on my memories:
I should have sat down for a beer at Schooner Wharf Bar and looked out across the water, but my wife had finished her meeting which had been called to impress the school board, and we had a dinner date with friends somewhere else. Finnegans Wake actually, well away from the waterfront. No report to follow for I was off duty and the camera stayed in my backpack.