Don's Place, aka the Million-Dollar Bar. You're welcome.
I'll say this of the bars in Key West that are local dives: You'll meet some characters in them, and most of them have interesting stories.
It's like a barber shop, or hair salon. People tend to "keep it real" in them, know what I mean? Some of the best stories I've ever heard in my life have been in barber shops, and local bars. I don't know why, but they seem to have that in common. Shoot, I've even heard there's now bars where you can get a haircut (or is that barber shops where you can drink?)!
But there are none of those bars in Key West. Don's Place,
Shimp Daddy's, Shanna Key, and Conch Town Café are for drinking. Of course, you can also do things like play Pool, Darts, Ping-Pong and Cornhole, but that's all part of the drinking experience. Did you just ask what Cornhole is?
And the drinking starts early. Don's Place opens at 7am, for example--how many of the bars back where you live do that? How many times have you been drunk off your ass before lunchtime? How many times were you passed out drunk BY lunchtime? Hey, that's how we roll down here!
But probably not for the reasons you think. Remember, this is a TOURIST town, and that means there's a lot of graveyard shifts. In other words, some of us are getting off of work at 7 or 8 in the morning, and for them it's time for a "nightcap", make sense? So if you go to one of the bars in Key West that's a local dive in the morning, that's probably who you'll meet. But not always, lol.
Conch Town Café, in New Town. Definitely for locals.
And they probably close at 4 in the morning. That's over TWENTY HOURS that they're open. I've drank at one of these bars for almost 20 hours (with breaks). It wasn't pretty. Talk about "Don't try this at home, lol! With that much time to patronize one of these local dives, you don't have an excuse not to go, if that's your type of hangout. Just make sure you eat something before and/or after!
Shimp Daddy's. Very local.
So if you do go to one of these local dive bars in Key West, do me (and yourself) a favor:
1. Know how to converse. Asking a bartender or local about themselves is one thing, playing 20 questions will probably not get you a strong drink. Few people care to be questioned like that, especially when they're busy;
2. NEVER whistle or yell "HEY!" at an employee. That's a Touron move, and I'd be shocked if it doesn't get you kicked out, or at the very least, ignored;
3. Be generous. There is a sub-minimum wage for bartenders and servers, so they are very dependent on gratuities. And don't give me any of that crap about "We don't tip where we are from", because you are not there now.
Other than that, click/tap on the name of a bar above, check my other pages on Key West Bars, and have a good time. You'll most likely be welcome at these bars in Key West-local-dives, and we'll be happy to have you there!
And make sure to tell them "Freshwater Dave sent us!"
And please, always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS leave a comment, good or bad, with me. How else am I gonna know if I'm wrong about something, or if things have changed? Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or on my contact me page.
Have fun--it ain't hard!