... by Linda Y. Walters
When it comes to having a great time, Key West, a city founded back in 1822, is an incredible mixture of excitement, sea faring exploration and most of all, one's own imagination. There's no shortage of local bars and legendary haunts to "drop in on" on any given day. Just don't try to do them all at once!
Duval Street, a hub of activity, has long been the center of Key West night life. You might want to visit The Bull, Sloppy Joe's Bar, or The Whistle Bar which has a clothing optional mantra. Captain Tony's (known for its bar stools which hang upside down from the ceiling) was also reportedly the favorite afternoon haunt of the Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway. Many world reknowned persons including Tennessee Williams, former President Harry Truman and the legendary ocean treasure hunter, Mel Fisher, have contributed to the undeniable lure and history of this tiny island just 90 miles off the coast of Cuba.
Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, ferries and trade between Key West and Havana were a common daily occurrence. Visit Zachary Taylor Fort for an exciting look at Key West's historical past.
With local haunts like Blue Heaven, Smokin Tuna, and a liquor store named "The Lost Weekend," Key West's significant cultural allure remains in place. Even John F Kennedy is said to have visited Captain Tony's, still known for the distinction of offering its visitors the opportunity to flip coins into the mouths of groupers. Recently renovated, this undeniable landmark reopened in early November of 2016.
Mallory Square, located just a short walk off Duval Street, offers a popular stretch of beach which comes alive daily with a celebration of entertaining street performers and crafts vendors. There's also the undeniable allure of the amazing daily sunset. Thousands gather nightly to witness the splendor of watching as the sun seems to meld with the vastness of the ocean. Cameras poised, its a nightly celebration aptly named "the Sunset Walk".