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Local Bars That Every Key West Tourist Should Visit

Updated on April 2, 2013
Outside The Green Parrot
Outside The Green Parrot

If you're looking to party like a local in Key West, even for just the day, you're likely to be in search of the best watering holes in town. Because as everyone who's ever been to Key West knows, a true conch knows how to have a good time. And while there are many bars and pubs on this tiny island, finding the perfect place to play like the locals may be a daunting task.

Sloppy Joes

If you’ve never been, check out the famous Sloppy Joes. While it's usually crowded and loud, you're in for a good time- but keep in mind that although this place was once where Hemingway was a fixture on a barstool, Sloppy Joes is very much a tourist attraction and one of the most popular Key West bars for tourists and locals.. In fact, the Original Sloppy Joes is now Captain Tony’s and that’s where Hemingway’s barstool is located. It’s a common misconception for many tourists to think that Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street is where Hemingway frequented, but we’ve dispelled that myth for you.

Green Parrot

Another well-known local bar you may want to check out is the Green Parrot Bar. Located at 401 Whitehead Street, they deem themselves as “A Sunny Place for Shady People”. And their slogan really says it all—no sniveling. It’s a really cool dive bar that doesn’t serve food (except popcorn) so come ready to drink, raise a raucous and get down to some excellent live music. The Green Parrot has an exceptionally long and fascinating history, it’s been a Key West icon since 1890 and though it’s the eccentric conchs, bartenders and musicians that have made it what it is today, barstools have been known to be filled by celebrities laying low and other infamous characters doing the like. Come as you are as they say, play it cool and you’ll feel right at home as long as you try not to look too much like a tourist!

Craft Beers at Charlie Mac's 404
Craft Beers at Charlie Mac's 404

Captain Tony’s

Other noteworthy Key West bars are the Schooner Wharf Bar, on Williams Street close to the historic seaport, the Hogsbreath Saloon, and Captain Tony’s on Greene Street. Captain Tony’s claim to fame is that they have Ernest Hemingway’s original barstool. There are also several other celebrity barstools there, like one for Jimmy Buffet, Shel Silverstein, Truman Capote, John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman. Supposedly, every time a celebrity visits, a barstool is added with their name. All of these bars have a longstanding reputation among visitors—and are places you should at least stop into just to check them out and say you’ve been. There’s plenty of good bar food available also.

Smoked Brisket at Charlie Mac's 404
Smoked Brisket at Charlie Mac's 404

Excellent Food & Drinks

If you're looking for great food and extensive selections on liquor and craft beers, consider The Rum Barrel or Charlie Mac's 404. The Rum Barrel offers more than 100 different types of rum in addition to excellent American food. If you're in the mood for Key West BBQ and craft beers, then Charlie Mac's 404 is your place. Experience choice cuts of meat that are carefully smoked for 14 hours with a secret spice recipe that will have you coming back for more!

So walk the walk, talk the talk and party like a conch in one or several of the local Key West bars. No matter which ones you decide to visit, you’re sure to have a good time that you may or may not remember.


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    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      Thanks for sharing these places and if we make it your way we shall call in. We are exploring Europe at the moment . Get to the USA in August/