Tag Archives: Drink

Key West Sloppy Joes, Florida

Key West’s Infamous Duval Crawl


When the sun sets over Key West, the flicker of street lamps turning on in the dusky light means one thing: It’s time to start the Duval Crawl. There’s never a shortage of bars, cocktails or colorful characters on Duval Street, which cuts through the western part of the island’s Old Town neighborhood, but it’s after dark that the crazy comes out in full force to kick off the party. By getting an early start, you can sample the island fun without going full tilt and also avoid the crowds while still taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of Duval Street’s must-stops. Or you can start your crawl well after dark when the party is in full swing and the rousing crowds overflow onto the sidewalk and road and the sounds of laughter compete with blaring music.

Key West Duval Street, Florida Keys, Duval Crawl

Key West’s Duval Street is where the nightly party known as the Duval Crawl takes place, with crowds moving from one bar to the next. Photo: Mike Cherim/iStock

When it’s time to head out, simply walk north to the 200 block. Every Duval Street experience must include a stop at Sloppy Joe’s, a Key West icon made famous by author Ernest Hemingway back in the 1930s. Photos of Papa line the walls, and local bands strum island tunes, light rock and jumpin’ jazz. Slip into the adjacent Joe’s Tap Room for a taste of craft beers on draft before heading one door down to the Lazy Gecko. This is your place for a frozen daiquiri or a Gecko Rum Punch, which really packs a wallop. Watch for people dressed in oddball getups, with anything from neon wigs to fuzzy animal-print hats perched on their heads in an attempt to attract attention.

Cross the street and stroll into the Hog’s Breath Saloon to blend with Key West locals, known as “Conchs.” This famous pub prides itself for pouring strong drinks. Slightly quieter than other nearby bars, it’s a good stop for grabbing some munchies like fish nuggets and conch fritters. For a taste of authentic Old Town, you have to stop at the Bull. Murals of old Key West line the walls in this open-air bar, and the balcony of the upstairs room, dubbed the Whistle Bar, is a prime spot for gazing down on the antics of Duval Street while enjoying a finely crafted margarita. The truly adventurous can head to the Garden of Eden, a rooftop bar, which, true to Key West’s anything-goes spirit, is clothing optional.

When you need to soak up the alcohol with a bite to eat, turn south, away from the increasingly celebratory crowd, and onto the 900 block for the delectable offerings at Nine One Five. The chic setting of a Victorian home and an upscale menu belie the restaurant’s relaxed vibe. Dine alfresco on the porch and share plates of beef carpaccio and lamb loin or dive into rich entrees like duck confit with butternut squash or seared scallops with pine nuts. For a taste of local seafood, Blackfin Bistro serves up adventurous versions of Key West favorites. Instead of conch fritters, they have conch cakes served with a house-made remoulade, and their pan-roasted grouper comes with couscous and Key lime avocado tartar sauce, a tasty way to ensure you’ll be walking back to your room rather than crawling with the late-night crowd.

Key West Sloppy Joes, Florida Keys

The action on Duval Street in Key West is non-stop, with daytime shoppers and strollers and nighttime partiers doing the Duval Crawl, the popular bar-hopping scene. Photo: Raul A. Rodriguez/iStock

Depending on how close you want to be to Duval Street, accommodations run the gamut. An ideal base for a quieter Duval Crawl experience is the Southernmost on the Beach Hotel, set on the calmer, southern end of Duval. Although you’ll have to walk a few blocks for party action, it’s steps from the sands of South Beach. Here you can watch palms sway in the breeze and the tranquil Atlantic water lapping up against the sand while sipping a mojito or Rum Runner at the Southernmost Beach Café, which is a relaxing way to start the evening.

If your style is more party hard and fall into bed, then choose a hotel in the heart of Old Town on the opposite end of Duval. The Westin Key West Resort & Marina sits on the waterfront, three short blocks from Duval Street and next door to Mallory Square, where crowds gather nightly to celebrate the sunset. From here you’ll be doing the Duval Crawl in just minutes. The Ocean Key House Resort & Spa, with the address 0 Duval St., is at the very northern end of Duval, tucked between the Key West Harbor and Mallory Square. Staying here, you can start or finish your night on the resort’s Sunset Pier with food, drink, music and dancing.


exumas, chat n chill, Bahamas bar

Best Beach Bars in the Bahamas


Barefoot on the beach, keeping time to an island beat with a tasty libation in hand is the quintessential tropical vacation indulgence. Here are seven of the Bahamas’ best bars where you can do just that.


best beach bars in the bahamas, Nippers, Abacos, BahamasGuana-Cay

Nippers overlooks the Atlantic on Guana Cay, Abacos. Photo: Debbie Snow

The view alone is intoxicating. Perched high atop a dune overlooking the blue Atlantic, Nippers is the place to spend the day on Guana Cay. Steps lead up from a sparsely-settled swatch of powder sand to a multilevel complex of decks, outdoor and indoor serving areas and a pair of swimming pools. Beach games, televised sports and live music add to the fun, creating at atmosphere that is festive but still family friendly.

Where: Great Guana Cay, Abacos

Must Try: Nipper Juice

Get There: Fly into Marsh Harbour airport, taxi and ferry to Guana Cay, short walk to the beach

Stay There: Dolphin Beach Resort on Guana Cay; Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour

Chat ’n’ Chill

Join the cruising crowd who take daily shore leaves from the sloops and trawlers that bob in adjacent anchorages. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with grizzled boat bums and CEOs alike, and the action spreads beyond the bar to the pine-shaded picnic tables and volleyball courts. Come for open-air worship on Sunday morning and stay for the pig roast, where banker-turned- restaurateur KB Bowe presides over the pit.

Where: Stocking Island, Great Exuma

Must Try: KB’s Rum Punch

Get There: Fly into Exuma International Airport, taxi to Georgetown, water taxi to Stocking Island

Stay There: St. Francis Resort on Stocking Island; Grand Isle resort or Sandals on Great Exuma


A respite from the hustle of Nassau and the swank of Paradise Island, Nirvana is an old-school board-and-thatch beach club where you can grab a bite, savor a cold one or rent a beach chair to enjoy access to the uncrowded—and otherwise inaccessible—Love Beach. The vibe is low key during the day, but the action heats up at happy hour, and the party can go well into the night.

Where: New Providence

Must Try: Margarita

Get There: Cab, rental car or the #10 bus from Nassau

Stay There: Compass Point Resort is next door; mid-range Blue Water Resort and Sandyport Beaches Resort are a few miles to the east

Billy Joe’s On the Beach

Billy Joe's, Grand Bahama

Billy Joe’s in Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama. Photo: Debbie Snow

This long-time landmark sits beachside, and in appealing contrast to the sleek, upscale Port Lucaya developments next door. There are no apologies for the rough plank flooring or plastic beach furniture because this place is all about direct water views, local music and what many consider the best conch salad in the islands.

Where: Lucaya, Grand Bahama

Must Try: Conch salad and a Kalik beer

Get There: Cab, rental car or stroll down the beach

Stay There: Pelican Bay and the Grand Lucayan are within walking distance; the value-priced Bell Channel Inn is a short cab ride

Bishop’s Big Boy Bar

It’s 45-minute pilgrimage east from Freeport to the quiet settlement of High Rock, where it may take a bit of searching to find Bishop’s Bonefish Resort. The reward is a near-deserted beach, and fresh run-and-juice concoctions served by Mr. Bishop himself. Rent snorkel gear to enjoy the reefs, then head over to the restaurant for some local seafood. It’s a no-frills place, but when sand, sun and sea are the focal points, you won’t miss the crowds, the DJs or the tiki torches.

Where: South shore, Grand Bahama

Must Try: Bahama Mama

Get There: Rent a car in Freeport and drive 25 miles east

Stay There: If quiet and simple are for you, book into Bishop’s adjacent seven-room resort

Sherri’s Paradise

The simple sundeck overlooking Bimini’s spectacular Radio Beach oozes island time; the adjacent yellow clapboard kitchen, with its variable hours and whatever-we-caught menu confirms the pace. Relax and order a cold one, because the cracked conch and lobster are worth the wait. You may want to linger even longer when there’s local music, or to catch a memorable sunset.

Where: Alice Town, Bimini

Must Try: Sherri’s Pina Colada

Get There: Fly to South Bimini and water taxi, or take a seaplane into the harbor

Stay There: Bimini Big Game Club remains the first choice while the future of Resort World is solidified

Pete’s Pub and Gallery

Pete's Pub, Abacos, Bahamas

Unique bar at Pete’s Pub, Little Harbour, Abacos. Photo: Debbie Snow

Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe Pete’s Pub and Gallery. Part beach bar, part art gallery, it features the works of Peter Johnson and his progeny, who form their bronze creations in the on-site foundry. Wade right into the harbor to cool off, climb the upper deck for water views, or walk the sandy path to the surf-washed Atlantic.

Where: Little Harbour, Abacos

Must Try: Pete’s Rum Blaster

Get There: Drive a half-hour south from Marsh Harbour or go by boat

Stay There: On site is Barnacle Bill’s Cottage, or the Abaco Club in Marsh Harbour


postcard inn Islamorada, best tiki bars in florida

Best Tiki Bars in Florida


Thatched roofs, bar stools and crazy concoctions, made with lots of potent rum, are what you’ll find at these old and new tiki bars. Set on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, these Florida bars continue to attract the party folk. It doesn’t have to be happy hour to visit any of the on-the-edge-of-the-water bars, where making new friends gets easier with every sip.

Isle Tiki Bar, Islamorada

Back in the day the old salts packed this bar at the Holiday Isle Resort. And even after a 21st century face-lift and rebranding turned the property into the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, the outdoor Holiday Isle Tiki Bar with its thatched roof and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean continues to draw a crowd.

The Drink: Nothing will do but a Rum Runner, which supposedly was invented here.

Casey Key Tiki Bar, south of Sarasota

Any Saturday afternoon, the hogs are lined up roadside at the Casey Key Tiki Bar. Perched on an island between Casey Key and the mainland, the open-air bar is packed with the regulars in T-shirts and shorts and the visitors with signature Tommy Bahama attire. Squeeze in under the fringed roof or hang out on the little beach in the back, where doggies are welcome. 

The Drink: A pina colada on a hot sunny day works really well in this setting.

Stan’s Idle Hour, Goodland near Marco Island

If you’re on Marco Island on a Sunday, you have to make the drive to Goodland, an obscure spot made famous by the late Stan Gober when he opened Stan’s Idle Hour almost 30 years ago. This is a let your hair down kind of place where folks arrive by boat, bike and Benz to party the afternoon away with live music and curious conversation.

The Drink: You got to have the signature Stan’s Buzzard Punch, a concoction of light and dark rums, orange and pineapple juice and splashes of grenadine and sour mix.

Guanabanas, Jupiter

Definitely one of Florida’s more sophisticated choices, Guanabanas’ horseshoe-shaped bar is tucked behind thick tropical foliage under a palm-fringed roof just steps from the Loxahatchee River. Locals, from boaters to golfers, mix with visitors. During season, February to May, the line’s out the door.

The Drink: Topping the list is the My Wave Mojito, made with the Dominican Republic’s Atlantico Platino rum, muddled mint, lime juice and sugarcane.

Lido Key Tiki Bar, Sarasota

This tiki bar is right on the sand, so stroll on over sans sandals. One of the oldest around, the traditional Lido Key Tiki Bar was saved from bulldozers in 2003 by preservationists with help from the Ritz-Carlton, which now owns it. Guests from the hotel’s nearby beach club mingle with the locals who love this breezy Gulf-front spot.   

The Drink: Hurricane Category 5 is one of the strongest drinks served here. Banana, coconut, mango and pineapple rums get a 151-proof-rum floater, and the mix of orange, pineapple and cranberry juices disguises its potent character.