Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Name Pub

I don't often go to No Name Pub on Watson Drive on Big Pine Key, but I ride by now and again on my way to the walks on No Name Key itself, which is a bridge away from the pub. The pub prides itself on being hard to locate which piece of marketing is given the lie by the huge inevitable crowds to be found there every day of winter, and frequently during the summer.
I chose to take out of town guests to No Name on an extremely wet winter's day earlier this week, a day when it was pouring down like a sumer thunderstorm, which made exterior pictures difficult to take. as usual the crowd was tremendous and we were packed into the waiting room in the back which opens out onto a fenced yard at the time rapidly becoming submerged under the incessant rain.
If the food and drink isn't enough they have a range of merchandise featuring the panama hatted dude, parrots and their slogan about the difficulty of locating them. Just to prove you have been there, as it were.There is of course a television hanging off the wall which I dislike intensely. I can't stand TV as background, and the idea of having a TV blaring while I am supposed to be being sociable (something that's hard for me to do anyway) is very off putting. We didn't have to wait very long for a table but the choice of seating was nil so I found myself facing the hated screen. Oh well.Despite being packed the service is pretty fast and that would be helped by the kind of food offered here. The pizza is claimed to be the best in the Lower Keys though I dispute that. If you like heavy pizza dough weighed down by too many ingredients this is the pizza for you. I prefer the more intensely flavored and interesting pizza flavors sold at Slice of Paradise in Summerland Key. However that is a pizza parlor, No Name Pub sells beer and you get to eat the pizza at their tables if you like. A great many people do like.
The menu is mostly fried and so it is I have one dish, old reliable, that I stick with in the "keep it simple" department. I go for the fried grouper basket and it does the job.
The bar is as noisy as you might expect, dark and atmospheric I suppose. The furniture is rough hewn wood heavily varnished and the decor is,as you can see, all dollar bills stapled everywhere.The baskets come with salad and bread sticks (as if the meal lacked carbs!) and lots of silver dollar fries. They are round slices of real potato fried and covered in salt to keep you thirsty. They are quite delicious.I am not enamored of the beer selection, and I passed on Yuengling draft and went for a No Name amber in a small plastic cup for $2.75. Or you can go bottled if you prefer. The dollar bills are the pub's claim to fame and no one really knows how many there are:
Any guesstimate up to a round 100,000 will do. More if you prefer. Or less.Defacing the currency is part of the fun. I hope Jerry and Linda are still hearting each other (yech!). Jerry gets around:
In light of the intensely heavy rain still falling I ran for the car but on a normal day outdoor benches are available out front:And at night the place looks quite charming: When the place was built in the 30's as a convenience store this was the main road to Key West. The Ferry landed at the end of No Name Key, a journey of 40 miles over four hours from Lower Matecumbe Key, where the road from Miami ended. And from here one drove a series of wooden bridges and a narrow road 35 miles to Key West. Now it is a backwater and destination unto itself.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

This bar looks like the kind of place I could have had a ball in — twenty years ago. I really prefer the ramshackle joint, with the beer-staned pool table, and the cigarette-smoking bleached blonds hanging out of their halter tops, accompanied by a bartender wh pours chaep whisaky with a generous hand.

It may be said that desperation likes company, but I have never had to listen about someone's 401k in the company of desperation. Where did you stash the dog when all this socializing was going on?

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads
(New blog posts every Monda and Thursday)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

Twenty inches of snow in the driveway, at present.

I'm off to cover a bike event.

Fondest regards,

Conchscooter said...

In the car. She slept.We walked after the rain stopped.

Anonymous said...

The bills remind me of Willie-T's on Duval. I liked to think of them as contributions to the bar owner's retirement fund.

Imagine a wrinkly wized old dude showing up at the bank one day after locking the doors for the last time, with a bag of defaced bills covered in lipstick, sharpie, vomit, beer, cooking grease, long-abandoned vows of eternal love and peace signs.

Teller: "What the hell..."
Former Bar Owner:


Anonymous said...

D'oh, stupid formatting (don't use greater than/less than signs in your comments, verbotten). Last line was supposed to be:

Former Bar Owner: (Benny Hill shrug, and a wink for the camera)


Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

No name got quite a few of my bucks, but they were all traded for beer and food, so I feel I made out alright. It seems to be an infliction in FL to decorate subtropical honky tonks with currency. Wille-T's, No Name, Cabbage Key Inn are some I recall the names, but have been in others up and down the west coast of FL.

Interesting if you think about it, it is a reverse souvenir.

Shonassie said...

I had their shrimp pizza the last time I was there. I was told the tale of how their distributor was talking about not driving to the keys anymore because it was too expensive (gas) and that they had already raised the price so much on the flour they used for their pizza crusts, that they had no choice but to raise prices. Our waitress was quite distressed over the whole thing. Glad to see they are still alive and thriving. I heard tales that back in the day when it was much quieter out there, ole Jimmy Buffett liked to hang out over pizza there. Of course, I suppose everyone says that to draw tourists! LOL!!! Nice pictures sir! As always!!