Tuesday...in the car.
Suzanne & I hit the road around 5:15 and of course hit that lovely Tues rush hour traffic that only 77 can provide. Not to be put off by the traffic, we roll the windows down and put in one of Jordan's CD mixes. Somewhere on 26, we hit light rain but sing and laugh our way through. On 95, more rain and into Georgia, we realize that the entire state is covered by rain. We settle into the car, still singing along to Jordan's awesome mixes and watch the lightning storms that light our way. These were perhaps some of the most beautiful lightning storms I have seen. They just lit up the sky, brushing their fingers through the clouds and from behind the trees. (You can see the super fast clip of it in the video below.) We arrive in Key West around 9 am on Wednesday morning to the sight & sounds of jet fighters...yes this trip is going to be memorable.
Day One - Wednesday - Key West
Upon arrival, we know we cannot check in so we do a quick change and walk to Pepe's. (I found Pepe's with my dear friend Amy 2 years ago. I've made it my first place to visit every year since then. Fresh margaritas and fantastic oysters!) We stumble sleepily to the bar and immediately befriend Jimmy, the bartender. We are a tired mess and thankfully, he found us amusing. Though sleep deprived we power through shots of Patron, margaritas, Miller Lite, Redbull Vodka, screw drivers, & mimosas. Tired and hammered, we grab our check, exchange numbers with Jimmy, and head to the room since it's now ready. After we wake up and freshen up, we found our rally shoes by the door, put them on, grab dinner, and head onto Duval St. It is Captain Tony's birthday so we arrive @ Captain Tony's for our second round of drinking. The bartender immediately asks Suzanne, "Can we make out?" She responds, "Maybe later," and that truly sets the pace for the night. Jimmy joins us and we head out and enjoy the night life that only Duval can bring. We end the night @ Finnegan's Wake...Key West's very own The Gin Mill...it is filled laughter, dancing, drinking, and more laughter.
Bar Tour: Captain Tony's, loop through the Smoking Tuna, Irish Kevin's, The Porch, Willie T's, Finnegan's Wake
Best Bartender Award: Jimmy @ Pepe's and Denise @ Finnegan's Wake
Day Two - Thursday - Key West
I worship the Sun while Suzanne is resting. Once she's ready, we eat lunch @ Pier House. I could really never leave the resort...great food, great drinks...great atmosphere. We hop on our bikes and bike over to Fort Zachary Taylor beach. Jimmy joins us and we spend a few hours goofing off in the sand and the surf. Happy Hour has hit and Jimmy recommends us partaking in it. We biked. He cabbed. His suggestion, "Why don't we just call a cab with a bike rack? Haven't you heard of that before?" Of course we haven't but we grab a cab and head back to the hotel to drop our stuff off. Suzanne does her 1st oyster shooter (video below) and happy hour turns into an evening/night of fun. We were about to leave Turtle Kraals when these 4 guys come in with their fresh catch of the day. We stick around and "Prospect" Mike gives us their story. They've been fishing all day and our now eating their catch. They were kind enough to share their dinner with us. We tell bad jokes to each other and share stories of our lives.
Bar Tour: Hotel bar (me in the AM), Hotel bar (Jimmy in the PM), Half Shelf, Dante's (they have a pool), Turtle Kraals, Key West Smallest Bar, Pete's Piano Bar, Bourbon Street
Best Bartender Award: not really the bartender, but thanks to Pete's Piano Bar....we got hammered off of chocolate covered pretzel shots!
Best Non-Local: "Prospect" Mike
Day Three - Friday - Key West
More sun worshipping...more drinking...more eating....by now, all of my days are running together... We wanted to watch the turtle racing @ Turtle Kraals but it wasn't what we were expecting so we leave. Suzanne and I walk by Joe's Tap Room and it looks small but it also looks like there's a party going on so we decide to stop in. Boy did we walk into a party...perhaps the best & loudest party ever! Friends, family, & co-workers who like us on Wed morning were waiting for their hotel room to get ready decided to go party. And boy did they. Karen, the bartender, was rocking the joint and the patrons were having a blast. Once the party left, and Karen's shift ended, Suzanne's new friends Shaun, Andy & Kevin had become our partners in crime for the evening. Somewhere along the way, we loose Shaun after Andy & Kevin call it an early evening for their AM fishing trip, but we find Adam and we continue to party. While @ Bobalu's, Suzanne ices Adam. What tourist ices a local? None other than Suzanne! After closing down Rick's, it's now around 4 am but we don't want the fun to end so we head to the hotel pool and then hot tub and then ocean (repeat this scenario a few times). We pick up another hotel guest and her friend of the evening who hangs with us long after she's gone and a few other hotel guests. Suzanne, Boomer, & myself float in the ocean and watch the sun light up the sky.
Bar Tour: Turtle Kraals, walk through The Sports Page, Joe's Tap Room, Rick's, Fogarty's, Garden of Eden for a dance, Green Parrot, Bobalu's, Rick's, Margaritaville
Best Bartender: Karen @ Joe's Tap Room
Best Non-Locals: Everyone we met that day: The party crew @ Joe's Tap Room, Andy, Shaun, Kevin, Trevor, Boomer, Brian & crew.
Day Four - Saturday - Key West
After watching the sun come up, we figure we'd sleep a good amount of time. Wrong. Three hours later, Suzanne & I are up, in search of food and hitting Lobster Fest. We meander through the crowds, the street carnival, shop a little and just enjoy a lazy Saturday. We watch the sun set @ Mallory Square, watch a couple get engaged, ride bikes to the Southern Most Point, and then around Key West. All in all, a relaxing day.
Bar Tour: Jack Flat's, Willie T's, Finnegan's Wake
Day Five - Sunday - Key West...a sad goodbye
Car is loaded and we head to Pepe's to say goodbye to Jimmy. We surely won't forget him and we hope he doesn't forget us. I'll be back next year and I'm betting good money that Suzanne is coming with me along with a few of the other girls. He was a stranger when we arrived, but when we left, he was definitely a friend.
Bar Tour: Pepe's to say goodbye, Schooner Warf for lunch & bloody marys
We hit the road...leaving Key West behind...