The place to be day or night in Key West
is Duval Street, there is so much to do that you could spend two days here alone. Whether it's shopping
, dining, or dancing the night away this where you'll find what you're looking for. Duval Street runs north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. At the southwest end is the southernmost point in the continental Untied States, it is also dotted with Cuban cigar, and road side daiquiri stands, beer bars, and the fabulous Key West Butterfly Conservatory. The northwest end is the more famous party place with Mallory Square
and all the best known bars. It is named for William Pope Duval, who was the first territorial governor of Florida
Nightlife and Bars
At night, Duval is a carnival that lasts until dawn, similar to Bourbon Street. It is home to such famous name bars as Sloppy Joe's
, Hog's Breath Saloon
, and The Bull and Whistle, a three story night spot with Adam and Eve's on the rooftop. You'll also find Rick's Cafe, which sometimes has karaoke, Irish Kevin's bar, that has a live interactive entertainer most nights, you can even find a drag show or two, if you're so inclined. The bars are as rich in history here as the town itself.
The legendary Captain Tony's Saloon
, a local favorite, is the oldest bar in Key West and Capt. Tony was once elected Mayor. The most famous of the bunch perhaps is Sloppy Joe's, it was Hemingway's old hang out and there's a lot of memorabilia hanging on the walls from his days there. They have a live band most nights of the week and a gift shop on one side, there is also a smaller, quieter bar in back. A popular local activity to try is the Duval Crawl - This is when you walk, or stumble, up Duval Street from one end to the other trying to hit as many bars as you can. It is highly recommended that you take a cab after such a night. You can find many cabs there, most of them are pink and in one you can even sing karaoke. They also have rickshaw type transports too, young people willing to take you, for a price, in a bicycle type carriage anywhere you wish to go on Duval and the surrounding areas.
With all the restaurants, bars, drag clubs, and gift shops galore, Duval Street is alive and pulses with activity. The best thing is it's basically safe, nobody really bothers you here, Key West is too laid back for that.
Shopping and Dining
During the day, Duval Street is a prime people watching spot and the place to spend your day on land while in Key West
. They have many places that provide outside dining, from specific sidewalk cafes to places like the Hard Rock Cafe which offers spectacular sights inside, with all the rock memorabilia on the walls, and a garden like terrace for outside dining. The original Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Cafe and souvenir gift shop are also on Duval Street. You can find t-shirts, huge, embroidered beach towels, original art, Christmas ornaments, and anything and everything you can think of with a shell on it. For the adventurous there are some very interesting shops with assorted leather attire and whips. The sales people tend to be low key and laid back, after all this is Key West, but they are there if and when you need them, and most stores are open daily from 9am-9pm.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com