Ringing in the New Year in Key West! Welcome 2017!

ChampagneIt seems like everyone is ready for 2016 to be over! If you are ringing in the New Year in Key West, check out all of the New Year’s Eve holiday happenings below. Find out where you can go to enjoy a meal with a glass of champagne or two and where to find entertainment that can only be experienced here on our island! Let’s welcome 2017 with a party in Paradise!

Restaurants

Abbondanza is doing a 4 course classic Italian dinner for $41 per person. Please call 305-292-1199 for reservations.

Commodore Waterfront Restaurant is offering a special 3-course menu for $79 per person. Please call 305-294-9191 for reservations.

Duffy’s Steak and Lobster House is having a 4-course dinner for $39 per person. Please call 305-296-4900 for reservations.

The Grand Cafe located at 314 Duval Street has a special 4-course dinner for New Year’s Eve. The early seating is priced at $95 per person and the late seating is priced at $110 per person. For reservations call 305-292-4740.

Martin’s Key West at 917 Duval Street is offering a special 4-course meant for $125 per person. Check out the menu! Call 305-295-0111.

One Duval at the Pier House Resort and Spa will have a special new years eve menu featuring delicacies such as foie gras and grilled lobster tail. For reservation, call 305-296-4600.

Rooftop Cafe offers their full dinner menu along with holiday specials. In addition to the regular menu, special multi-course menus are often available. Reservations on all major holidays are recommended. Please contact the restaurant in advance for specific details or questions.

SHOR at the Hyatt Resort will have a special menu for New Year’s Eve! Please call 305-809-4000 for reservations.

Southernmost Beach Cafe located at 1405 Duval Street is open for dinner New Year’s Eve! Call 305-295-6550 for reservations.

Entertainment / Celebrations

New Year’s Eve: Pirate Wench Drop at Schooner Wharf – For piratical partiers, a New Year’s Eve salute to Key West’s rowdy seafaring roots is scheduled at the island’s Historic Seaport. At midnight, a winsome pirate wench is to descend from the top of the mast of the tall ship America 2.0 as cannon blasts welcome 2014. A dove release is to follow. Scallywags in attendance can expect live music, dancing and festivities until 4 a.m., without a cover charge, at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.

New Year’s Eve: Conch Shell Drop at Sloppy Joe’s – The arrival of 2014 is to be heralded on the island’s Duval Street with the “drop” of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval. Thousands of spectators gather on Duval for the annual gala, emceed by a rooftop host starting at 10 p.m. and featuring dancing in the street and a countdown to midnight recorded on a huge clock. At midnight, the shell descends and cheers erupt. Stellar Mojo Band is to perform on Sloppy Joe’s indoor stage, rounding out the revelry. No reservations or tickets are taken, but a door charge is required to party inside the bar.

New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop Celebration – The Southernmost City celebrates with a descending 6-foot red high heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St. Seconds before midnight, the high heel bearing a lavishly gowned and coiffed Sushi is to be lowered from the second-story balcony of the complex toward the cheering crowds below. As midnight strikes and the New Year officially begins, she will land and gleefully pop the cork on a ceremonial bottle of champagne.

Transportation

DON’T DRINK & DRIVE!!! With that in mind… The City of Key West Department of Transportation is offering transportation for the holiday so that you won’t drink and drive!

Two city buses will travel along Northside Drive, Flagler Avenue, Maloney Avenue, North Roosevelt Boulevard, and South Roosevelt Boulevard and Four Lower Keys buses with service between Marathon and Key West will be traveling southbound to Fausto’s Food Palace and returning as far as MM 52.5 across from Walgreen’s on 109th Street in Marathon. Designated pick up and drop off points in Old Town Key West is Fausto’s Food Palace at Bahama and Fleming Streets.

The New Year’s Eve shuttle begins service at 4:00PM in the Lower Keys and 6:00 pm in Key West and Stock Island. The Last trip from Key West at Fausto’s to Marathon will depart no later than 2:00AM. One way safe ride shuttle fares are $10 per person per trip for Lower Keys revelers and $5 per person per trip for city revelers. Exact change is required and no passes or discounts will be available for this shuttle. No alcohol, toys or weapons are allowed. For more information you can visit www.kwtransit.com or call 305-600-1455 or 305-809-3910.

See what else is happening on the island during your visit by checking out our Key West Events Calendar, and for other things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before making your reservations for dinner reservations check out our restaurant reviews!

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn

Key West Concierge

Lazy Gecko | Review

Island Genn hanging out in front of the Lazy Gecko on Duval Street.

Island Genn hanging out in front of the Lazy Gecko on Duval Street.

At one time in my life, bar hopping was a normal activity for me; but as I have grown up I find that I have little time and rarely an inclination to do so anymore. That is not to say that I never go out and enjoy a few drinks at a bar. It is just atypical for me nowadays unless I have friends in town looking for some excitement.

Well, a few friends were hanging out at the Lazy Gecko this past Saturday night watching the Georgia game and they invited my husband and I to join them, so we did. For me, finding parking is a major drawback to hanging out downtown, but luckily finding parking was pretty easy this weekend.

Lazy Gecko is located on Duval Street directly next door to the famous Sloppy Joe’s. As we walked in we spied our friends and got a table where we could all watch the game and relax with a bite to eat. Honestly, I was not looking forward to trying the food out here, but I thought I would give it a whirl. Plus, it would provide me with some info for my blog.

Service was actually really good, especially for a bar. The servers and bartenders were vigilant even though the bar was quite crowded. My husband and I ordered a flatbread pizza with pepperoni and sausage. We also ordered a pina colada and a mojito. The pizza was brought out fairly quickly and it was really tasty. I was actually impressed as most bar pizza that I have had in the past has been tasteless or absolutely dripping with grease and this was neither of those things. The pina colada was not good at all, and this disappointed me as I really want a bar other than Outback Steakhouse to have a really good pina colada, especially in Key West! The mojito was really tasty though and so we enjoyed a few of those while we hung out.

As the night progressed the live music started. I did not find out who was playing, but it was enjoyable and much better than a lot of musicians that I have heard performing at many of the bars down here. However, it made talking to our friends very difficult. When we left later on that night, my husband and I had both enjoyed our time. And I was glad to have another place where one could get a decent bite to eat at a real bar that I could suggest to visitors.

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews too; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

And to see what is happening on Key West during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn
Key West Concierge

Key West Resident Profiles: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway at his desk in Key West

Today would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 115th birthday, and Key West always has a week long Hemingway Days celebration around this time of year in honor of the island’s most famous resident. The author only lived here from 1928 to 1939, but he was a legend in his own time and he definitely left a permanent imprint on the island.

Hemingway friend and fellow writer John dos Passos encouraged him to visit Key West for its interesting people and stellar fishing. After leaving Paris, Ernest and his second wife Pauline decided to visit the island. The newlyweds arrived in Cuba via an ocean liner, and from there they headed to Key West. Here they were to pick up a Ford Roadster that Pauline’s Uncle Gus purchased for them as a wedding gift.  The plan was to drive the car back to the mainland after a brief stay. But we all know that the brief stay became several years.

The Hemingways found the the delivery of the car had been delayed when they arrived at the Ford dealership on 314 Simonton Street, and the dealership insisted that they put Ernest and Pauline up at the Trev-Mor Hotel located above the showroom until the arrival of the vehicle, and the couple accepted the offer. It was two or three weeks before the car arrived, and during those weeks Ernest worked feverishly each morning completing what would be one of his most well known works, A Farewell to Arms.

The island appealed to Ernest because living in Key West was almost like living in another country. “It’s the best place I’ve ever been anytime, anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms…” After renting apartments around the island for a few years, the couple bought what is now known as The Hemingway Home, located at 907 Whitehead Street, in 1931. They paid a measly $8,000 in back taxes to the city for the deed to the house with money given to them by Pauline’s wealthy Uncle Gus.

While living on the island, Pauline gave birth to the couple’s two sons together. In 1928 Patrick was born, and in 1931 Gregory was born.

Hemingway wrote prolifically during his time in Key West, publishing Death in the Afternoon, Winner Take Nothing, Green Hills of Africa, and several short stories. Surprisingly, there is only novel in which he writes about Key West, To Have and Have Not.

While he did make expeditions in this time to Africa and other places to gather material for his writing, Hemingway certainly enjoyed the Key West lifestyle. There was ample fishing, boxing, cock fighting and drinking at the local watering hole, Sloppy Joe’s.  Hemingway also made some life long friends on the island, including Charles Thompson, Joe Russell, and Eddie Saunders.

However, living in Key West had its drawbacks too. When the city mayor wanted to put the Hemingway’s house on the tourism map, they declined. But the mayor added it to the map anyway. And the gawkers grew from a few to many, prompting the Hemingways to out up the wall that now surrounds the compound so that they could keep their privacy.

In 1936 Hemingway met writer Martha Gellhorn in Sloppy Joe’s Bar while she was on vacation with her family. Ernest, always falling in love with beautiful women, eventually left Pauline and Key West and made Martha his third wife. The new couple ended up traveling to Europe to cover the wars and Ernest moved away from his beloved Key West to another tropical island not far away, Cuba. And even though he never again called Key West home, he would make periodic stops to the island utilizing his home on Whitehead Street much like a hotel until his death in 1961.

For more information on Hemingway and his life in Key West, I suggest reading Stuart McIver’s Hemingway’s Key West, James McLendon’s Papa Hemingway in Key West, and Michael Reynolds’ Hemingway: the 1930’s.

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or any of the Florida Keys, be sure to read my  restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

Key West Poker Run – 2013

Key West PokerRun - Bike Week 2013 Poster

Key West PokerRun – Bike Week 2013 Poster

In just a couple of days we will start hearing the rumbling of Harley’s and other motorcycles makes making their way down US 1 for the Phil Peterson’s 41st Key West Poker Run which takes place this week from September 19 – 22, 2013.

The Miami based Harley dealer started this event to bring about an interest in motorcycles, and I would say that it worked! The first year they had about 45 participants; now there are over 10,000 riders from all over the country taking part in this annual September tradition. Any make or model of bike, car, or truck  is welcome to join as the group rides out from Miami through the beautiful Florida Keys and into Key West.

As the riders make their way down the Keys, they will make five stops to relax their bums for a while and to collect their Poker hand to see who will win the ultimate prize, a new motorcycle. Of course much of the proceeds go to support charities.

Key West blocks off an eight-block stretch of Duval Street, and a huge bike show is held in front of Rick’s/Durty Harry’s and Sloppy Joe’s Bar on Saturday. It is quite a sight, and even those that are not motorcycle enthusiast can appreciate the styles of bikes and the amazing art work that adorns many of the rides.

Rumor is that this will be the biggest bike week yet, as riders taking part of other recent biker events around the country will also be making their way down the state and to Key West to be a part of this event.

Hope to see you in Key West! And please remember to look twice for bikers!

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

And before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn
Key West Concierge