Category Archives: Key West

Columns about the Island of Misfit Toys

Time to Put Your Pants Back On

There comes a point in every Key Wester’s life when the bombardment of bare, saggy breasts, portly midriffs and various genitalia on display becomes too much to endure.  That point for me came this weekend as Fantasy Fest 2011 drew to a close.

It is a shame that this festival, which I’ve long considered my favorite time of year, has evolved into a nasty flesh fest in which large, non-athletic moms and pops (and grandmas and grandpas) from every dark crevice of the country gather on our little island to parade their pendulous gonads and hoo-hoos.   Every year the naked people grow larger in numbers as well as in individual size.  And I must ask you, WTF?  

Where are these voluminous nudists coming from and why are they stealing our Fantasy Fest?

For those of you not from around here, Fantasy Fest is an annual October event that Key West has been hosting since 1979 which brings thousands of people to town and fills every hotel room in the Lower Keys.   Spanning ten crazy days filled with costumes, a coronation, contests, beads, body paint and parades, Fantasy Fest is actually a fund raiser for AIDS Help.   Each year a King and Queen are crowned, earning their throne by raising the most money for AIDS Help.

In the spirit of our “One Human Family” philosophy and the pride of our amazing gay community, the fest has always pushed the envelope when it comes to “risque” attire.  But in recent years the Obese Swinger Crowd have grabbed hold of the pasties, the leather harnesses, the ass-less chaps.  They’ve traded in their dignity for an extra small thong and began walking the streets of Key West in late October.

I’m not saying one must have a perfect body in order to dress sexy for our festivities.  I’m saying put some thought into your costume and maybe look in a friggin’ mirror before you leave your hotel room.  For example, a leather harness like this:

This was not intended for older, chubby gentlemen to wear.  So tell your horny uncle over there to put some pants on.

And if you really feel the need to shake your money makers in the buff, we have what’s called “The Fantasy Zone.”  There’re signs up for it and everything.  Basically it’s the downtown bar district where you are allowed to walk around with little more than body paint and a smile on.   I don’t want to see your mama’s 36 extra long tits and your dad’s elephant sock schlong when I’m on my way to work.  And when you enter one of our grocery stores, is it too much to ask that you put some friggin’ pants on?   For God’s sake, I don’t want your bare ass near any food items I may purchase.

On Saturday afternoon I saw a woman on Windsor and Olivia standing at her car, ass to the street, putting on her fishnets and thong.  I drove by her big, ole’ booty in the broad daylight and thought “Why am I forced to look at your ugly butt!”  This is a neighborhood.  Kids actually live here.  No one located within a block radius of Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea should have to endure being mooned by a fat lady in red fishnets.

It’s called a costume, People!  Get one.  A pair of panties and your un-exercised flesh doesn’t cut it.  And an animal sock covering a penis is hardly novel, it’s practically sex offender cliche.

The copious amateur drinking coupled with drunk driving, assault and this year’s tragic homicide……this has got to stop.  It’s bad enough some people can’t find a damn costume and litter our streets looking like jack asses, many supposed revelers behave like jack asses too.

It’s time to take back Fantasy Fest.  Our Fantasy Fest is not a free for all for fat swingers.  It’s not a time of lawlessness and amateur alcohol consumption.  It is NOT a time to show up on my island and act like a predatory imbecile.

Fantasy Fest is a giant costume party in the name of raising money for a great charity and keeping the Keys tourism economy afloat during October.  It’s about tapping into your creativity and your sense of charity.  It’s King Dave and Queen Surrey and all the other candidates past and present who work their thong-clad asses off to raise money.  It’s about Saturday night’s amazing assortment of lion fish and sea monkeys and mermaids.   It’s about rockin’ out to some Bahamian Junkanoos, eating meat on a stick and watching straight guys dance in tutus.  It’s about sharing this sense of frivolity that true Key Westers are known for and extremely proud of.   That’s the Fantasy Fest I know and love.

And what did I wear this year on Parade night?  A thong and fishnets!  What else?


Leigh Pujado’s new book, “Drinkslinger” is now available on Amazon.

You Can Get Drunk in the Morning But You Still Can’t Bring Your Pig to the Beach

Did you know that there is a special law in Florida that prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays, lest she receive jail time or a fine?  Well, fortunately for all of us unmarried dames, we shall no longer sit idly by on Sundays watching our married friends have all the fun.  We can head to the bars and start drinking as early as we like because as of July 10th, the Key West “Blue Laws,” which prohibit the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays, have been repealed.

Long deemed outdated, the Blue Laws were intended to keep morality in check and butts in church pews on the Lord’s day.  While we may feel triumphant over the dissolution of an antiquated law on our books, many ludicrous laws remain, here in Key West as well as throughout this great, strange country.  Some of these laws are throw backs to a time when lawmakers were steered by the church’s moral compass and prudish, ignorant attitudes about sexuality.  Others are just inexplicably silly.

Test your knowledge of bizarre local and national laws.  No looking up answers on the internet!

1.  In Big Pine Key it is illegal to _____________ a Key Deer:

a.  protest

b.  molest

c.  smoke out

d.  impersonate



2.  In Key West, which species are protected by law?

a.  green parrots

b.  parrot heads

c.  chickens

d.  bubbas





3.  In Tampa, what must a woman not expose at a topless dance establishment?

a.  Her six figure salary gleaned from high rolling, horny suckers.

b.  Her cerebral cortex.

c.  Her deep disdain for her customer base.

d.  Her breasts.


1.  Oral ________ is illegal in the State of Florida.

a.  Roberts

b.  surgery

c.  argument

d.  sex





5.  With regard to “positions,” which of the following laws is on the books in Florida?

a.  Seat back upright, tray table secured for take off and landing.

b.  It is illegal for a woman to put a man between a rock and a hard place.

c.  Gassy on 1st, Sassy on 2nd, Jessica on 3rd, Faith is short stop, Inga’s catching, Sushi’s pitching.

d.  The only legal sexual position is the “missionary position.”



6.  In Alabama it is legal to marry _______________ but illegal to marry ________________.

a.  a monkey,     -a donkey

b.  your cousin,     -someone of the same sex

c.  your brother from another mother,     -your mother

d.  for love,     -for money










7.  In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for 16 or more women to live together because it constitutes:

a.  a lesbian conspiracy.

b.  an anti-male terrorist movement.

c.  a brothel.

d.  one week out of the month a guaranteed living Hell.



8.  If you are convicted of drunk driving in the state of New Jersey, how will this affect your vehicle’s license plate?

a.  You’ll never be allowed to apply for vanity plates.

b.  You’ll be forced to display a scarlet “D” for “Drunkard” on your plates.

c.  You’ll be forced to manufacture license plates from prison.

d.  Your plates will be fitted with neon flashers that display “Stay Back: ASSHOLE Driver.”



9.  In Fairbanks, Alaska it is illegal to feed alcohol to:

a.  Alaskans.

b.  Nebraskans.

c.  Bristol Palin.

d.  a moose.




10.  In Detroit, it is illegal to have sex inside a car unless the car:

a.  is a late model hatchback with an old Journey cassette playing in the tape deck.

b.  is a rockin’, then don’t bother knockin’.

c.  has a clearly displayed handicapped parking permit.

d.  is parked on the owner’s property.






11.  It is illegal to bring swine to the beach in the State of:

a.  sound mind and body.

b.  shock.

c.  the Union Address.

d.  Florida.


(1) b but let’s try c sometime and see what happens!  (2) c & unofficially d,  (3) a, b, c & d if she knows what she’s doing!,  (4) because of people like “a” the answer is d,  (5) The year 2011 and it’s still d,  (6) Ah, the last state in which marriage is a sacred union between a man and his cousin!  The answer is b,  (7)  Legally, it’s c, but anything’s possible with 16 women,  (8) a, but if I were the governor of New Jersey, it’d be d,  (9) d, possibly c…..I don’t know.  How old is the little dancing tart these days?  (10) d, but then what fun would that be?  (11) While pigs are a lot of fun at the beach in times of both serenity and crisis, the president prefers you keep them at home when he’s addressing the nation and Florida frowns upon their presence at the beach year round.

How to Talk to the Kitchen Without Getting Hurt

In twenty years of working in the bar and restaurant industry I have to say that cooks, hands down, are the crabbiest, most volatile members of this business.  Don’t get me wrong, there a lot of cooks that I adore and respect, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t berate me at the drop of a dime and make me cry for asking if we could please substitute something else for the octopus infused scallion glaze.

All cooks, from short order cooks to Michelin starred chefs, are a different breed of humans.  How else could they spend countless hours over a hot grill for a laughable sum of money?  Key West line cooks tend to be cranky because it’s hot in that kitchen and they are tired and broke because they party too much.  Key West chefs tend to be cranky too because it’s hot in that kitchen, they are tired and broke because they party too much plus, despite years of culinary expertise, they receive very little recognition.

Feuds with the kitchen are common, namely because they see the job of a bartender or  server as an overpaid cake walk while we see them as slow, temperamental, sweaty people who like to give us a hard time.  Discerning which side is right or wrong is a slippery slope because we do indeed hawk their creations.  When customers gush that the food is great, we say “Thank you, I know!” and proceed to take all the credit and the handsome tip money.  But when something out of the same kitchen is amiss, we take none of the blame and throw our dear kitchen under the proverbial bus.

Cooks can get away with being angry and crabby because

  1. They carry knives,
  2. They work in a hot, sweaty kitchen with flames, burners and steam all damn day,
  3. They are constantly reminded how much more everyone else is making by selling their concoctions, and most importantly,
  4. They do not deal with the public.

Developing Détente between the kitchen and bar staff is crucial to ensuring a peaceful (ie non-homicidal) work environment and to keeping your customers happy.  Many of us know that an unhappy, maniac cook can literally ruin your income during a shift.  I’ve always found that going out of my way to be nice to the cooks works to my advantage.  Buy them a drink at the end of their shift, pay them a compliment, tell them you appreciate their work or even tip them out.  Sure it’s a form of ass kissing, but more than that it’s “self-ass-saving.”

Before I say anything further that may incriminate me, I am going to allow my dear friend, Chef Martha Hubbard to plead the case of the cooks:

CHEF MARTHA’S Rules for Kitchen Diplomacy:

“Pissing off the kitchen is the easiest thing to do on the planet!  “How Not To Piss Off the Kitchen” could be an entire book on its own. We are, as a whole, the most insecure egomaniacs alive!  You see, the Back of the House will ALWAYS have a grudge against the Front of the House based on the premise that despite making less money, if we, the Back of the House, did not make the food, then the Front, aka “the messengers,” would NOT have a JOB!

I took a vow of poverty 20 plus years ago to cook well thought-out, tasty food for people and the last thing any cook wants to hear is how much cash any waiter or bartender has made that shift!  Whenever some snotty little waiter walks into the hot, sweaty, balls to the wall kitchen and bitches that they have only walked with a couple hundred dollars that night, well then they deserve to lose a digit or two!  The best à la mode to that would be then asking for any “snacks” or if there is any extra food for them to eat because they are soooooo hungry!!  Poor souls!  So when I ask if they have any extra tips they don’t need to act as if I am the one who’s fucking nuts!!

Cooks are like dogs, feed us a bone and we will do anything for the Front of the House!  The number one rule with the kitchen is be respectful.  Being nice and polite will get you what you want from us especially if you can avoid making stupid requests.  People are stupid and diners for the most part do not know how to dine anymore!  Kitchen people put their heart and soul into every plate and when people want to rewrite a menu, I just want to go out there and ask these people where they live and go rearrange their house for them so that it suits me better!  Oh, and FUCKING VEGAN’S!  Seriously, Do not let them into a place that serves meat!”

Thank you Chef Martha!

(Martha Hubbard is a world renown chef whose culinary talents have been experienced in San Francisco, Maui, Bangkok, Portland and right here in Key West.   Many people rave about her scrumptious creations like domes made from Ahi Tuna and truffle laced soups but most folks don’t know that her breakfast hash browns are to die for!  Martha can still ride a long board and out-cook any cocky punk newbie fresh out of culinary school!   Her pet peeve is witnessing a waiter serve a bottle of Opus One from their sweaty armpit with their tongue sticking out.  For more than a decade, Chef Martha has blissfully cohabited with a bartender.  Martha will be on loan to Key West from Portland this season, cooking up spectacular things at Louie’s Backyard through May 2011.)


Bringing Sexy Back—Writers, Chefs and Food Porn

Q:  What could be sexier than food and poetry?

A:  Poetry that is about food!   Words slathered with culinary references, meter that tickles the ears as well as the appetite, and writers, (those sensory whores!) writing about humanity’s other favorite pastime.  (If you think I’m referring to baseball, please stop reading this and go back to the drivel on your Facebook page.)

The 29th annual Key West Literary Seminar “The Hungry Muse” is well underway this week and I could not be more excited about the theme.  Like a true grifter, I plan on attending the one and only free event on Sunday afternoon in which seasoned and scholarly poets such as Jane Hirshfield, Billy Collins, Roy Blount Jr and Molly O’Neill will be offering up utterings about edibles, as this year’s seminar explores the world of food in literature.

Word nerds and Foodies rejoice! This sounds like a recipe for a truffle scented Pushcart Prize with an R rating from Zagat.

Poetry geeks often wax rhapsodic about the hotness (not the exact adjective a poet would use) of a person who can write, while excitable eaters rant that there’s nothing sexier than a woman or a man who can truly cook.  This raises an interesting conundrum.

Which is hotter:  The Poet or the Cook? Let’s explore!

New Jersey Poet and Creative Writing Professor, BJ Ward maintains there’s nothing sexier than a woman who can write. He primes his new students by wielding a girlie magazine and announcing he is about to show them the sexiest woman in the world.  After building the suspense, BJ tears open the magazine to the centerfold page and presents a taped-in insertion of none other than the sexiest woman ever to walk the planet…….

(wait for it……)

That’s right!  Emily Dickinson.  She’s hot, I know.  Kind of makes you wonder what 19th century bloke hit that to inspire “Wild Nights!  Wild Nights!”

Writers, like Emily, have the ability to achieve a timeless sort of hotness, uninhibited by their own physical appearance in photos or even on television.  It is only what they had to say across the pages that truly matters.  Superficial hotness, like the kind we are inundated with on the E Channel or People Magazine, relies upon looks and clothes, hair and make-up, wealth and fame.  I’ll bet if we read a poem by one of those Kardashian sisters, no one would think she was hot.  I imagine it would go something like this:

I like my Prada

and enchiladas.

Life is a dream,

but sometimes I scream,

because my family is retarded

and I no longer get carded

and the photographers around here

only photograph my rear

Some people say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think a thousand words is worth more than a picture.  Which is why reading “Leaves of Grass” is a much more titillating experience than watching “Transformers 3″, but if you place Shia and Walt head to head in a photo competition, the results may vary.











Even the homeliest of writers can be sexy.  How else could Bukowski have gotten laid?  No one really knows what Greek sex poet Sappho looked like but as the Bob Guccione of antiquity, her immortal words roused centuries worth of loins back when loin clothes were popular.

But what about our darling cooks.  Do their skills in the kitchen translate to overall hotness?

When it comes to glamorizing chefs, Food Network appears to be both a blessing and a curse.  While it has brought Americans into the kitchen, teaching them the joy and bliss of cooking from scratch, it has largely de-mystified the cook as a sexual icon.  Think about Emeril.  And the Barefoot Contessa.  When you make their recipes, do you dare picture either of them naked?  Heck no!  You might just get a little giddy about whom you may be enjoying their concoctions with, but no teenage boys seem to be tacking up posters of Paula Dean on their bedroom walls.

So why doesn’t anyone want to sleep with the chef?  Being enamored with a behind-the-scenes-talent is not a new concept.  People swoon all the time over a song on the radio and admit their secret fantasy about the musician behind it.  Even filmmakers have their fair share of non-actor stalkers.  Writers enjoy long lines of fans waiting to simply meet them for a moment and obtain their signature.  Hell, in 1999, I waited in line for an hour and a half to meet Carl Hiaasen and nearly peed my pants when he signed my book.  Do fans behave that way when Guy Fieri or Bobby Flay are signing cookbooks?  And outside of Michelin starred establishments, do people actually sit at their table and wish they could meet their food’s creator?

I recall a teenage crush I had on the dough boy at Zio’s Pizzeria in Omaha.  Every Saturday for like six months I went to Zio’s for lunch and silently watched this cute boy toss the dough up in the air and skillfully press it into the pizza pans.  In my 16 year old brain, it was so hot.  One day I finally mustered up the guts to talk to him.  While I don’t recall the exact words of our conversation, I do remember discovering he was a student at the alternative school which meant that either he:

A) exhibited severe behavior problems and had been in trouble with the law, or

B) was developmentally disabled.

Still, he knew how to toss that dough!

Anyway, while food can be very sexy, I think seeing chefs on TV rather than simply tasting their creations, hinders their hotness.  Emeril would be so much better looking if I didn’t know what he looked like.  And Alice Waters?  Please, don’t let me see her in action.  Let me just continue to taste her concoctions.  In general, the experience of tasting a great bite of food is hot, more so than watching how it was created.  The simple act of discovering a great recipe can be sexy in and of itself.

About a month ago I made a pork roast which I bathed in Ephemere beer, apples and apricot preserves.  I emailed the recipe to my buddy Landon with a quip at the end suggesting that this recipe was so good that when he makes it, he will want to take it out back and have sex with it.   After hitting send, I realized I had just suggested my friend debase a piece of meat and I felt a little bit ashamed.  And strangely aroused.

I think the sexiest book I ever read was Isabel Allende’s “Aphrodite-A Memoir of the Senses.” It should be the consummate segway between the cookbooks and the soft core pornography on bookshelves everywhere.  And I think this helps answer the conundrum posited earlier before I went off on these bizarre sexy tangents.  Food writing is the sexiest.  Sexier than poets, writers, chefs, and people like Rachel Ray who call themselves chefs.

So, combining the two as this years Literary Seminar has done, must be better than a candy coated, spun sugar orgasm described to you personally by Pablo Neruda.

After Sunday’s seminar at the San Carlos Institute, I’ll be at Better Than Sex on Petronia Street, sipping an Ephemere Adult Apple and reading EE Cummings.

Bye Bye Beer Thugs

In the Spring of 1990 I inadvertently became an Aheuser-Busch customer.  My underage friends and I were drinking Natural Light (in a can) which we purchased for the bargain price of twenty-five bucks a 12-pack from the enterprising older brother of one of our classmates.  His name, (and I am not making this up) was Tony Randoney and although he too was under the legal drinking age, he was a linebacker sized white boy with several stunning gold teeth, an appearance that superseded the necessity of presenting a valid ID.  His hulking pretense also facilitated a very lucrative price-gouging part-time gig for old Tony and not a single beer-seeking   teenager at Westside High School (including me) questioned his prices nor his beer selection.  So we paid Tony’s obscene prices, drank our Natural Light and pretended it tasted good.

By college we all realized that Natural Light cost far less than twenty-five bucks a 12-pack and was the official beer of the homeless.  Far from the clutches of our parents and outside of Tony Randoney’s canned beer racket, at college we existed in a free market and of the myriad of choices made available to college freshmen, none are more prolific (and present) than choices of alcoholic beverages.  The average freshman learns very quickly that at Frat parties alcohol, from the Everclear spiked punch ladeled from a garbage can to the Keystone Light beer can tower,  is simply a means to an end.  It is a vehicle to get people drunk so that they can either (a) have sloppy meaningless sex or (b) experience an extreme episodic loss of consciousness known as  “Black-out Drunk.”

By sophomore year most college kids figure out whether they want to be social drinkers or black out drinkers.  The former generally discover that beer is not merely a cheap way to get hammered, but is available in a multitude of bottled and draft forms varying in taste, color and appeal, and if consumed in moderation, can be enjoyed along with a little thing called “memorable experiences.”

I love beer.  I love the taste, the hops, the barley.  I love the bubbles, the cold, thirst quenching river of delicious fermented delight.  I love lagers and ales, Belgium Wheats and Irish Stouts.  I love frosted mugs and beautiful glass bottles and even lambics that call for stemmed glassware.  In college I could barely afford to pay my electric bill but I kept a decent stock of imported beers to enjoy.   Red Stripe, Newcastle, Dos Equis Lager and Guinness were generally on hand.  When Samuel Adams Boston Lager first became available in our state, my nerdy beer friends and I rejoiced that a domestic beer was finally up to snuff.

Then I moved to Key West which in the bar business might as well be known as Bud-Land and once again, I accidentally became an Anheuser-Busch customer.  I started drinking lighter and lighter beer, eventually settling on Michelob Ultra since its inception about ten years ago.   Looking back, I think I was simply the credulous victim of marketing, as Michelob Ultra was touted as the “runner’s beer.”    I thought, “Hey, I’m a runner.  This must be my beer.”

Ten years is a long time to be partial to one brand but recently I’ve made a conscious effort to make a change.   I am trying not to purchase or consume any Anheuser-Busch products.

A perfect storm of events led me to make this odd little decision.  The first thing that happened was actually Chris Shultz’s fault.  He opened up this awesome little bar earlier this year called The Porch which specializes in delicious craft beers.  Reading his beer menu and tasting The Porch’s offerings was a taste bud re-awakening.  It was like I’d been eating at McDonald’s for ten years and all of a sudden a Chez Panisse opened up on the corner of Caroline and Duval!

Shortly after becoming a faithful follower of The Porch’s Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat on tap, I happened to watch a documentary called “The Beer Wars” which actually was made nearly two years ago.  The film explores the seedy underbelly of the distribution side of the beer industry, highlighting how the giant three (Anheuser-Busch, Miller & Coors) have such a strong hold on the distributing tier of our nation’s three tier alcoholic beverage system, that this imbalance of power has created a monopoly which quells and often prevents fair competition between beer brewers.  My views on the Three Tier System is an entirely different blog (which I’ll write up soon, I promise,) but suffice to say, “Beer Wars” incites the viewer to scan the beer isle, to look past the rows and rows of Coors, Miller and Bud products, try the little guys of the beer industry and taste for yourself.

So, I’ve been tasting for myself and I realized that for the past ten years I’ve been drinking (and selling) beer flavored water.  In my quest for better beer I’ve discovered some tasty craft brews off on the side shelves at the local supermarkets and I hit up Conch Republic Liquors regularly for Dog Fish Head Punkin Ale and Left Hand Milk Stout.  (“Punkin” is not a typo.  The bottle says “Punk” and the beer is delicious!)

This past year I also found myself in the position of selecting and purchasing all the alcohol for a small, local licensed establishment.  We are only open in season and sell mostly wine and cocktails.  I made the mistake last season of only carrying Bud and Bud Light and holy cow, did I hear some major beer bitching.  “Bud?  All you have is Bud?!  That’s not even real beer.”

This season I have yet to purchase any Budweiser stuff to sell but circumnavigating the Big Bud people is not as easy as one might think.  Since the 2008 merger of Europe’s InBev corporation with Anheuser-Busch, AB-InBev is now the world’s largest beer brewer with 25% of the global beer market.  They own 1 out of every 4 beers!   Besides the well known Bud, Michelob and Busch families, they own Stella, Bass, Beck’s, Kirin, Hoegaarden, Shock Top Wheat and even Rolling Rock!  I was careful to select outside the AB-InBev family and last week we opened for the first time this season, offering a great domestic craft Pale Ale and a tasty imported lager.  To my surprise, I heard quite a few “What?  No Bud Light?” As if denying anyone access to watery flavored beer was an abomination.

So my great better beer experiment continues and just as I once successfully severed my ties with big boned, gold-toothed Tony Randoney and his crap beer scam, I am severing my ties with Anheuser Busch.  It’s not what I want to drink and I’m not willing to settle.

Life’s too short to drink crappy beer.




A Beer Festival on the Beach? It doesn’t get any better than this!

The Key West Brewfest is coming up this weekend folks!!
What better way to spend a weekend than combining sun, fun, beer and a great cause? Mark your calendar, make your reservations, and plan to join us.

Where: Southernmost Hotel Collection, Key West, Florida
When: September 3-5, 2010 (Labor Day Weekend)
For: All proceeds will benefit the charitable efforts of the Key West Sunrise Rotary of the Conch Republic

Schedule of Events

Friday, Sept. 3rd:
5:00pm – 7:00pm – VIP Welcome Party
Location: The Shores Bar
Free to vendors, VIPs, Sponsors and Organizing Committee.
Suggested Donation $5.00

Saturday, Sept. 4th:
Our Signature Event
4:00pm – 8:00pm – Key West BrewFest

Location: South Beach at Southernmost Beach Café where the Atlantic meets Duval!
Beer Tastings, Food by Southernmost Beach Café and Entertainment by Toko Irie
$20 Admission

Entertainment by Toko Irie

Toko Irie’s blend of upbeat Island Reggae and Calypso generates an easy tropical feel. Renowned for his unique 3-stick method of playing the steel drums, his boundless charisma transports audiences to Caribbean balmy breezes and — Ya Mon — everyone has a fun time.
Sunday, Sept. 5th:
6:30pm – 8:30pm – Samuel Adams Beer Dinner
Location: Southernmost Beach Café

$50 Admission++
++ dinner is $50 plus tax + gratuity

For ticket information please call 1.800.354.4455

Kiddie Boat Rides at Grunts

Don’t forget Kids, there are free Kiddie Boat Rides over at Grunts located at 409 Caroline Street.

This little bar is practically a mini museum of historic Keys angler paraphernalia and boasts the world’s strangest vintage juke box featuring an eclectic mix of Cyndi Lauper, The Captain & Tennille and Neil Diamond.

While you are there, say hi to bartender Carol!

Bloody Mary- Breakfast of Champions

By Leigh Pujado

Only a crackpot genius could concoct a beverage combining vodka and tomato juice with a bunch of odd flavorings then convince people that it was not only tasty, but a great way to start one’s day.  So where did the cocktail we now know as the Bloody Mary originate?   I like to tell our tourists that it was invented at the Green Parrot by John Vagnoni’s mother, (which is about as accurate as the historical information gleaned from a Conch Tour Train conductor.)

I conducted a little research on the famous hair of the dog drink using highly reliable sources like “The Internet” and the staff at Don’s Place.  Conflicting reports place the Bloody’s inception either in the 1920’s or somewhere between 1978 to 1985, the David Lee Roth years of Van Halen.  Most folks credit actor/comedian George Jessel for coming up with morning hangover beverage of vodka and tomato juice, which at the time (the roaring 20’s) was an easy sell considering the only other morning remedy was chugging a beer floated with a raw egg and pepper.

Then one of drink-slinging history’s most famous mixologists, Fernand Petiot began toying with the cocktail, adding pepper, salt, lemon and Worcestershire sauce.  Rumor has it that Petiot served these vodka-laced tomato treats to Hemingway when he worked at Harry’s American Bar in Paris, then later to Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio when he tended bar at the St Regis Hotel in New York.

Which reminds me, it seems to be fashionable for bars to claim “Hemingway Drank Here.”   I’ve seen the claims all over the world, believe many to be true and am still not impressed.  Hemingway was a well traveled, raging alcoholic.  The World was his bar.  But I digress.

Anyway, the drink used to be called a “Red Snapper,” as the name “Bloody Mary” was too risque for the times, but by the 1950’s, the uptights had let their hair down enough to allow the rightful name, Bloody Mary, into common bar vocabulary.

(I wonder what they used to call a “Sex on the Beach?”  “Fornication in the Sand” sounds plausible.)

These days, people put everything but the kitchen sink into their Bloody’s.  Here in Key West, I am partial to several versions.  Bartender Bob down at Schooner Wharf makes a tasty classic with just enough horseradish to put hair on your chest.  And who doesn’t love the handmade Bloody’s at the Parrot complete with a hot pickled green bean…..just the way John’s mama used to make.

The Porch is OPEN!

The Porch is open!  10 AM to 2 AM

429 Caroline Street (in the Porter House)

Michael Shields: Artist, Visionary & Guest Bartender

Look who stepped behind the bar at the Bottlecap a couple weeks ago for their Friday fundraiser.

Mister Michael Shields swinging his opener like a pro!