Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bars Of Key West

It is said by tour guides that Key West has more bars and more churches per capita than any other US city, which statistic is not easily verified, I guess. I am not a barfly, and I have never bothered to have a drink in any of the bars on the 200 block of Duval.

I end up walking past them a lot and they are easy enough to peer into on a whim as they are wide open and inviting. I'm not sure why I'm a reluctant bar crawler but noise doesn't do much for my Asperger's and I have a hard time with making myself understood or even simply listening to a conversation.

A friend of mine with a history of working in bars restaurants and hotels estimates a complex like Ricks must take in money in the the tens of millions of dollars annually with ten bars squirreled away in the complex. It is an estimate that boggles my mind. A least City Commissioner Rossi makes enough to be able to decline the $20,000 annual salary the city pays it's elected leaders.

A peak into the Lazy Gecko with televisions competing for my attention and the same basic layout as every other bar - stools tables and chairs in an easy to clean format, just doesn't draw me in. But these places are positive havens for hundreds of thousands of people. They are a large part of the draw of Key West. Irish Kevin's draws a younger crowd I'm told.

I find it mystifying. For the same price one could get a craft brewed beer at The Porch or even drink beer or wine at The Tropic while watching a movie. Yet bars are the ultimate appeal to so many people in Key West I feel I am missing something fundamental.

It was early evening and people weren't out yet. As I was going to work I was hoping the promise of cold damp weather might keep them all home for a quiet night of dispatching (it did!). The Bull was quiet, lacking the usual crowds fueled by alcohol fueled for that particular momentary friendship of the bar stools.

The quantity if not variety of bars is stunning. I did have. Drink once in Captain Tony's on Greene street but that was to get an out of town friend a memorial cup. My kind of drinking requires me to be able to enjoy a conversation among friends, not to be deafened. I like my porch quote a lot too, watching my own sunset celebration which I know is cheating when discussing a tourist town.

Then there is The Top which opens at 3pm and has a bar that opens at 5pm so you can look out over the city from high atop La Concha while sucking up the demon alcohol. That is decidedly worthwhile. Tradition says suicides preparing to jump drink white wine prior to the fatal leap. That and a grain of salt perhaps.

I think the Grand Café starts to look appealing around dusk but I've never eaten there. Why? No clue- we just go elsewhere, if on Duval, Fogartys for cheap and cheerful or 915 for atmospheric and exotic (and fries in a fake newspaper). I think perhaps this is too much the tourist strip to be appealing, is lower Duval. It's hard to imagine places catering to visitors with the horrendous rents charged around here, can do as well as places off the beaten path.

Finally, in this incomplete and decidedly unscientific look at a few of the many choices of drinking holes there is a new place named rather grotesquely the Tattoos and Scars Saloon, on Greene Street. It doesn't look grotesque.

The only thing that made this place stand out was the dirt bike racing on the television. Not enough to suck me in I fear, even had I not been off to work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Garythetourist said...

Welcome home Michael. Be on the lookout for a package that should be arriving soon. (Ignore the ticking noise.)

Conchscooter said...

You silly bugger.

Garythetourist said...

I was teasing about the ticking noise but I'm serious about the package.

Conchscooter said...

You're very kind- i got the package today and plan to play doctor this weekend.

Garythetourist said...

You'll have to report to Jack if you find any interesting patients during you rounds.