Key West is well known for its Night Life. Duval Street, which is only 15 blocks long, has over 250 bars on it. Many have called Key West "A small drinking town with a big tourist problem". That also puts a lot of friendly competition among the bars which makes for some great Happy Hours. Some Happy Hours are all about booze, some are all about food and some are about both. Here are my favorite Happy Hours in order.
- Alonzo's Oyster Bar, 700 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040. For as long as I can remember Alonzo's has been the best Happy Hour in Key West. It is mostly a Local crowd but that to a great degree is we don't tell the tourists about it because we want to be sure we can get a seat. All appetizers are 50% off and an appetizer is big enough to be a full meal. I will usually split three appetizers between two people and we share. At the 50% off that means two of us have dinner for about $20 including drinks. It is hard for two people to eat dinner at McDonald's for under $20 these days. Also at Alonzo's every drink is 50% off at Happy Hour not just rotgut booze and draft Old Milwaukee. Rather than making it buy one get one free like most Happy Hours they just make it 50% off so if you only want to have one drink you still get the Happy Hour prices. The menu is mostly seafood and when it comes to fresh seafood the fish you're eating today was in the ocean last night. The service is among the best I have ever had and always consistent. The servers will also check in with each table at some point during the last 15 minutes of Happy Hour asking if you want another drink or appetizer while they are still 50% off rather than waiting until it is over and charge you full price. Alonzo's is located right on A&B Marina where you watch anything from Jon Boats to Multi Million Dollar Yachts come and go. The outdoor seating is literally on the dock with water under you. Any time is a good time to go to Alonzo's for an excellent meal but their Happy Hour can't be beat.
- Kelly's Caribbean Bar and Grill, 301 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040. Serving the only beer brewed in Key West makes Kelly's unique. Serving them for $1.50 during Happy Hour makes it even better. Try them all but I prefer the "Havana Red Ale" myself. Margarita's are only $3 during Happy Hour at Kelly's and for only $4 you can get a Key Lime Martini. Usually finding a Martini under $10 in Key West is a good find but $4 is unheard of and they are the same full size Martinis that are served all day. Many seek Happy Hour for cheap drinks but I am all about the food. Kelly's wings are among the best I've had and they are only $4 during Happy Hour. Conch Fritters are $4 as well. Good drinks, good food and good prices all make for a good Happy Hour. Not to mention you do not have to go to Duval Street which is always a plus.
- 2 cents Restaurant and Pub, 416 Applerouth Lane, Key West, FL 33040. One thing I look for in a bar is uniqueness and 2 Cents has the most unique Happy Hour in Key West. The drink prices are set by a dice game. Any drink price, no matter what the regular price is determined by your luck of the roll. You order your drink and the Bartender gives you one Die to roll. If you roll a 1 your drink is $1, roll a 2 and your drink is $2, roll a 3 and your drink is half price, rill a 4, 5 or 6 and the drink is full price. The only catch is you have to order the drink first so you don't suddenly want a $30 shot of Scotch when you roll a 1 and a $ 3 draft when you roll a 5. Then with my favorite part, the food, the word of the day is Bacon. They offer free unlimited Bacon throughout the entire Happy Hour. It could be served any number of ways at the Chef's choice. 2 Cents wins the award for uniqueness and fun. I also like the hidden, out of the way location. Applerouth Lane is a small alley type street that runs from Duval Street to Whitehead Street between Fleming and Southard Streets. Since most Tourists never realize Applerouth Lane exists you can also usually find parking right in front of 2 Cents.
- The Boat House Bar and Grill, 700 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040. Boat House Happy Hour is very popular with the Locals. All drinks are buy one get one free and all appetizers are 50% off. The Marina location offers a great view of the boats coming and going from A&B Marina. Being somewhat hidden between buildings there is almost always plenty of places to sit at The Boat House. Located directly next door to Alonzo's Boat House somewhat duplicated their Happy Hour which is what puts them number 4 on the list. What they lack in originality they gain with good food, good drinks and good prices. The Staff is very friendly. Boat House is more of a "Party Atmosphere" than the other places mentioned thus far. If you're more into the Bar Scene this is the Happy Hour for you. Most of the Happy Hour Patrons stay well beyond Happy Hour and the party continues. When I have younger people ask me where to go for Happy Hour I will steer them this way.
- Turtle Kraals, 231 Margaret Street, Key West, FL 33040. Turtle Kraals has been a local favorite for decades. They gained their popularity when they used to have nightly Turtle Races as their signature drinking game. Turtle Kraals has become more of a Tourist Spot than Locals Hangout which puts them as number 5 of the 5 best Happy Hours in Key West but their great Happy Hour is what puts them in the top 5 of over 100 Happy Hours on the Island. All beers, well drinks and house wines are half price. I like places that offer the drinks at half price rather than buy one get one free. This allows you to drink as much or as little and still get the same discounted prices. Turtle Kraals also has some great food specials during Happy Hour. My favorite is their Deep Dish Nachos. The Conch Fritters are another favorite of mine. Located right on the dock of the Historic Seaport with a great view and away from Duval Street which is a huge plus to me. Turtle Kraals is also only about 150 feet from a large municipal parking lot and a block away from the parking garage which is nice. Parking downtown can be difficult.
One thing for sure, Key West is a town full of nightlife and Happy Hours. There are over 500 bars on a 4 mile by 2 mile Island. Some have called us a small drinking town with a big tourist problem. There are hundreds of great Happy Hours to choose from. My personal favorite is Alonzo's as mentioned above. If you want to try a different type of Happy Hour try a Sunset Sail. That is one of my favorite things to do in Key West but that will be another post for another day.