Whether you’re out for a quick bite and a few cocktails, or a full blown meal with a few glasses of some of the world’s best wine, the bar scene in Key West is definitely one to write home about. Spend an evening in one (or two) of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunts, enjoy the coolness of classic piano at a luxury resort hotel bar, or dance the night away in one of Key West’s hottest Cuban clubs, whatever your fancy, Key West knows exactly how to keep you entertained. And to narrow down the choices, and trust us, there’s a lot, here are a few favorites.
Key West is chock full of restaurant/bars combining top notch dining with great evening, afterhours ambiance. This local favorite has a downstairs restaurant/bar that is second to none. Visitors come from neighboring keys to come experience the opulence an outdoor deck that floats over a canopy of lush palm trees. The in-restaurant martini bar serves up sassy cocktails like the Mexican (A Don Julio concoction complete with agave and fresh lime), or the gravity defying Buzz Aldrin, a vodka and Tang blend that is sure to take you out of this world. The Bagatelle is often the place you come to at the end of a bar-hop, with a resident DJ performing every weekend.
Point 5 Lounge
Come to a place where history meets chic and trendy. The Point 5 Lounge sits on the second floor of a Victorian manor, just above Restaurant 915. This is what happens with you cross a laid-back Atlantic feel with a sub-tropical island groove. Resident DJ’s spin sultry music all night, the crowd is a mix of cool trendy youngin’s, and mature, fun-loving folks. It’s not just the music that keeps the crowds coming back, the food is creative fusion of Asian, and European. The Vietnamese chicken rolls are to-die-for, the brick-oven baked pizzas delish and for the vegetarians, there are plenty of meatless dishes to sate your appetite. A fabulous Eurocentric beer, wine and cocktail list, combined with jovial bartenders make the Point 5 Lounge a must-see if you’re planning a night out on the town.
One may think that heading into the thick of the tourist district would make for a somewhat flashy Key West experience, but at the end of Duval Street, amidst the rowdy bars catering to fly-by-night cruise ship passengers and rowdy Spring Breakers lies a Key West treasure, The Porch. If you’re looking for a little slice of tranquility in the midst of chaos, come have a drink in the garden, and mingle with laid back locals. The crowd is an eclectic mix of highfalutin professionals, artists, or a bartender on their day off looking to let their hair down. The vibe is always chill, the drinks always cold, and out-of-towners always welcome.
Anyone in Key West looking for the after-party for the after-party knows to come to Don’s Place. A fixture on the bar circuit, beloved by heavy-duty late night drinkers and early risers, this legendary bar is situated just a few blocks off the main strip and serves up quick and dirty beer and shots. There is a sad looking outdoor tiki bar and drive-through liquor store, believe it or not, add to its authenticity and charm. So if it’s an unpretentious party joint that you’re after, Don’s Place keeps the good times a rollin’!