Among other shortcomings I lack the capacity for small talk. In Key West this can be debilitating when you plan on making friends in a watering hole of a slow afternoon. Consequently bars aren't really my cup of tea as I have zero interest in sports, balls or light fizzy beer. I miss Finnegan's Wake, which is currently under reconstruction, and they say a refreshed first rate Irish pub is to be resurrected. I wonder if Colcannon Balls will be back on the menu? Or that dreamy vast Irish breakfast? Or draught Boddington's? I am apparently not alone in missing Finnegan's Wake. The new resort hotel on Caroline Street is coming to life and is overshadowing in a big way Schooner Wharf, a bar that doesn't do much for me but is exceedingly popular. I wonder how long its rustic charm will fend off this sort of gentrification:
I found myself at 511 Greene Street one evening and dropped into the bar there called World of Beer which is supposed to offer several hundred bottles of beer and a few on tap as well. I am no expert on bars unlike this blogger who liked this place quite a lot, so I suppose I should defer to another's expertise. I found the place cavernous and not terribly cozy, especially if one were in the mood to try tasting a few of the exotic and interesting beers listed in the massive menu. Instead I sat at a shiny bright wooden bar in a high chair that propped me up like a stiff backed mannequin and supped something from a bottle as the draft beers were all battery acid IPA "craft" beers. Ho hum, twenty minutes spent irretrievably and a handful dollars I'll never get back in this life. I dreamed of cozy settles and dark corners and stout smooth Irish beer and small silent televisions in the distance.
When I was out walking (and photographing bicycles) I walked past the World of Beer window and looked in. I was trying to figure out just why this place which is according to Trip Adviser (whence the photo) a franchised operation, doesn't do it for me when it gets rated so highly on the web. I was pondering the problem while my dog hunted down a few discarded pizza crusts in the area of Paradise Pizza on Greene.
Two men were standing on the sidewalk and one of them, a young African American asked me what I thought of it. I am no fan of impromptu conversations, certainly not on the street at four in the morning but one wants to be polite and by my nature when asked a question like that I tend to be honest. So I was. Not much, I said, pointing out the lack of warmth in the room and the uncomfortable high chairs which make me feel under aged as I swing my feet at the bar.
Whoever the kid is he's a devoted employee, pointing out the back room which I had not seen, the kitchen, the food the beer choices and on and on. Cheyenne was planted next to the trash can vacuuming crusts discarded by dainty pizza patrons and she would not be moved - bad dog! I was stuck on the end of her leash trying to sidle away from the World of Beer disciple while I was also getting cornered by his sidekick an older scruffy white man, who had picked up on my conversational gambit attempting, rather feebly to divert my dissatisfaction with the World of Beer into a lament for the loss of my favorite, Finnegan's Wake. The black guy was chuntering on about the amenities, nothing deterred while the white guy was cornering me and telling me about the Irish bar when it first opened...Much cleaner probably I said, unable to think of any small talk to extricate myself. Of course he snarled it was NEW! Finally Cheyenne, gorged on pizza left overs picked up the pace and headed off toward Duval in search of adventure. The cabs were lined up on Duval waiting for the bars to disgorge fares. and no one wanted talk to me. Lovely.
After that encounter I could have used a beer, but sales are banned between four and seven in the morning in Key West, so I was just out of luck. My bed called in one direction, at last I was sleepy, but dog pulled in the other, she was just getting started. Another nutty Key West morning.