Key West Update - 2021
Key West is back! With all of the challenges of a pandemic, lack of cruise ships and a limited workforce, we are pleased to report the resilience of the Conchs triumphs again!
History tells us that despite hurricanes, civil wars, pirates and Indians, Key West has survived it all. Your favorites like Sloppy Joes, Hogs Breath, Irish Kevin’s and even the Tree Bar outside of Ricks were operating. Our visit during the week of May 17, 2021 found busy streets, almost full hotels and the sounds of music up and down Duval Street.
Our previous posts about this iconic southernmost town in the United States have highlighted the fun, attractions and quirky venues that make Key West a travel destination. Read about our previous adventures here and we are adding a few ideas below.
The Restaurant Scene
The restaurants in Key West are as diverse as the population. Most of the old establishments we documented here are still enjoying the success they have had for years. Some notable additions include the The Red Shoe Island Bistro on Petronia Street. This clean little venue serves some of the best seafood on the island and is just steps away from the Hemingway House.
The Moondog Cafe is not new, but their reputation as a bakery and cafe has grown along with the people waiting for a seat on Whitehead Street. We can recommend them as a great breakfast option.
Visits to some of our favorites like Shots & Giggles, Sand Dollar Sports Bar, Smokin’ Tuna, Irish Kevin’s and others found the same vibe as on previous trips. One notable change was The Green Parrot. A reliable source (bartender at The Bull) told us The Green Parrot had been sold. That is a likely possibility since friends tried to visit the local’s hangout at 9:30 one morning for their signature bloody Mary and found it was opening later now.
Additional Attractions in Key West
While in Key West we visited the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. While somewhat disappointed in the upkeep (mainly through volunteers), there is still plenty to see and learn about tropical fauna and flora.
While walking the island one day, we were reminded of the importance Henry Flagler was to the growth of Key West. Without this serial entrepreneur and the East Coast Railway, there may not be this island wonderland it is today. A visit to The Flagler Museum will remind you of the perils and visions of Henry Flagler.
Key West is an island museum itself! You can hardly walk more than a block or two without running into an historical building or two. It’s hard to imagine how the early settlers overcame hurricanes, lack of fresh water and the vast open waters around them to to survive and flourish.
A Few Parting Notes About Key West
Last fall there was a local referendum on cruise ships docking at Mallory Square. Voters passed a law that severely limits the size and capacity of ships docking in Key West. In fact, all major cruise ships will be effectively eliminated if the law stands as it is.
The Florida legislature is unhappy with the local ruling. They feel that the city took state and federal money to build the docks and Key West should not decide who can and can’t dock there.
At this time it is difficult to predict where this will eventually end. We do know that Key West seems to grow and prosper in spite of the many years of challenges. I’ll bet this is just another bump in the road that many in the Conch Republic just won’t get to excited about!
Key West is back! Visit soon.