Thursday, May 16, 2013

New-to-Me Small Crawl: Round 1

Guess who? Mark, of course. Pretty soon, I'm gonna demand co-author credit for this blog.  I bet I could even swap out Melissa's profile and picture and she wouldn't even notice.

We've been down here over a year now and, although we arrived with heartfelt intentions to experience a wide variety of the restaurants and bars, we quickly found places we liked and settled into a routine. That's sooo wrong.  We had taken a solemn oath to maintain a wide knowledge base of the Duval Street area for our future guests. We devised an easy fix; the New-to-Me Bar Crawl. The primary rule is simple, we can't go to any bar unless one or more of the participants have never had a drink there.

When we jumped on the bikes and headed to town, yesterday, we intended a full-fledged NTM Bar Crawl.  Unfortunately, we got a bit of a late start and then, later, had a hang fire on a food order. Both miscues cost us precious Happy Hour time and, in the end, we were only credited with a small crawl.

Under the Key West By-Laws, Rule 3, sec 5,
"No adventure shall be deemed a Bar Crawl unless participants order drinks in, at least, 5 establishments.  In the event that participants experience between 2 and 4 establishments, said adventure shall be deemed a "Small Crawl."

Our first stop was Grunts. It's a small place on the north side of Caroline St about a half block west of Duval.  It's a marvelous spot. Just around the corner from the livelier times of Duval St, it gives you all of the comfort of a neighborhood bar.

 They only offer beer and wine but that's just fine for a neighborhood bar.  The servers and bar staff are sociable, pleasant and professional.  Debbie's also pretty darn cute, isn't she?

During Happy Hour, draft beers are $2.75 and domestic bottles are $3.

After 5:30, you can order food and that seemed like a smart idea.  The menu is limited but we ordered the fish tacos. Somewhere along the line, our order got lost but I prefer not to blame Debbie. I'm sure it wasn't her fault. We probably lost about 30 precious  minutes of Happy Hour. That meant one less stop. When the tacos arrived,  though, I loved them.

When you stop by Grunts, you can have a seat inside, at the bar, or relax at a wrought iron table in the courtyard.  Either option is well worth your time.

Next up, we stopped by the Smallest Bar. Its the ultimate hole-in-the-wall.  You could probably fit about 4 people inside. (Challenge accepted?)

John, the bartender was a really engaging guy.  That big ole smile is real. He's as friendly as a puppy. We decided to test him with a couple drinks and he nailed the mix.

Like us, John's only been down here about a year and a half. I could have hung out and BS'd with him for hours.  We'll definitely stop back to see him.

  Our final stop for the night was the Hog's Breath Saloon. It may be a bit surprising that we hadn't been there yet, but, as a rule, we tend to avoid the more commercialized places.  It was a disappointment. The service was perfunctory and the place just didn't feel warm at all.  Unless we are with someone else who wants to stop there, I doubt we'll be back. There are too many other places that feel more welcoming.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the New-to-Me Bar Crawl.  We haven't go it scheduled yet but I've got a couple weeks off so it could be soon.

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