Duval Street, Key West
Nightlife in the Keys centers around Duval Street. This is especially true if you are part of the twentysomething single crowd, wish that you were part of the twentysomething single crowd or wish to observe the twentysomething single crowd. Duval Street is lined with the most famous bars in Key West, including Sloppy Joe's, Fat Tuesdays and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. There are a bunch of restaurants here as well.
You won't find any trendy lounges or clubs here. That's not what the Keys are all about. Instead, you'll find come-as-you-are bars playing live music and pouring beers and rum runners as fast as the crowd can drink them. Its an interesting mix of locals and tourists, although mostly the former.
Duval Street can get pretty crazy, especially during spring break or Fantasy Fest in October. Summertime tends to be a bit slower as the heat, humidity and hurricanes draw people away. But there is always something happening on Duval Street.
Dress Code: In the Keys, there is almost never a dress code. Most people consider shorts and a t shirt dressing up. Given the tropical climate, you won't want to wear much more.
If my husband were well, we would have gone out at night, but he isn't able, so we left it to our sons to take our place! Duval STreet is famous for its nightclubs and crazy street scenes.
Dress Code: There is no way it matters what you wear, just as long as you have some clothes on!
It's hard to give individual tips since there are so many night spots in Key West. Friday night after our dinner at Fogarty's (see restaurant tips), we checked out Ricks. If you're in your 20s and into the "bootylicious" type music, this is just for you. However we felt a little old and were in need of a live music fix, so we headed across the way to Durty Harry's, where a live band was playing and the crowd was a little more in our age group. Sloppy Joes and Irish Kevin's also had great live music playing but they were so crowded we were unsure about how long it would be for us to get in, and get a spot without being knocked all over the place. We were, however, able to enjoy the music from the sidewalk outside! Saturday we hung out at Schooner Wharf (see restaurant tips), which also had live music.
Dress Code: No dress code. Just be cool and casual. If you're too over dressed, you will look out of place and as far as dressing cool, it may have been 77 degrees F, but the humidity felt like 97 F so if you go in the late spring/summer, I'd keep the long pants & long sleeves at home!
Duval street in Key West is the premier section of Key West that still allows adults to have fun an be themselves. If you like dance music, Rick's on the 200 block of Duval is the place for you. Right in the same complex, Durty Harry's has live rock bands on almost every night of the week. The Tree Bar is a nice spot for those who like it a bit quiet and is in the same complex ( a GREAT spot to people watch). If you are on Duval to have a few drinks and some fun the best area is betwee tne 100 and 600 block of Duval. The famous Hog's Breath Saloon starts your bar crawl on the 100 block of Duval, just follow your ears to the front door. The next block has the world famous Sloppy Joe's (which is not the ORIGINAL Sloppy Joe's and is a pale copy) although you will not see me or a lot of locals there. Be prepared for it to be crowded. This block also has RIck's Complex, the Lazy Gecko, Irish Kevin's, Flying Monkey, Fogarty's (great for Sunday football) and one of my personal favorites, The Bull. The Bull has 3 bars, the second floor is the Whistle, the third floor is the famous (clothing optional) Garden of Eden. The next block has your franchise bars, Hard Rock Cafe, Fat Tuesday and a nice local bar, The Grand. The next section of the Duval crawl has La Concha Bar, The Top (a great place to see the sunset which is on top of the Crown Plaza hotel, but ALL the locals call it the La Concha Hotel, ask for it by that name)..Next is Jack Flats and the 2 story bar and restuarant Crabby Dick's. For now, this ends my tour. There are still another 7 blocks left on Duval and look for Part 2 of Spike's Tour
Dress Code: Key West has no real dress code. At least wear a pair of flip-flops. Most restaurants require Shirt and Shoes. Most bars require Shoes but you can go in without a shirt to many bars.
Duval St. has an abundance of nightclubs/bars & thrives on its entertainment value. However, the club hopping can also lead to an unhappy ending if you are unfortunate enough to drive through one of their numerous traffic stops. The city that encourages "the Duval crawl" also has law enforcement stepping up its traffic citations, esp. DUI. Reading all the reviews about the various night spots, I don't see anyone mentioning this, but a lot of the reviews are old. Not to discourage enforcement of DUI, but when the officer does come across a group who has been responsible enough to have a non-drinking designated driver & gives that driver a citation for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, it seems like the city has found a great resource to increase revenue.
One of the places to get a drink and people watch is at fogarty's/the flying monkey. This Place has a rail area where you can sit that is lined up right along the side walk of 200 block of duval street. They have umbrellas and misters the provide coolness during the warm summer days as you can sit drink and watch people pass buy on foot and bikes as well as watching auto mobile drive by. It is a nice place to sit drink and be merry as you can watch every one else pass buy.
Dress Code: casual
Some of the most fun that can be had in sinful Key West can be stumbled upon by just walking down Duval St. We saw drag queens, stumbled into a clothing optional bar, sipped margaritas while we walked and ended the night at 4am at what I think I remember being the Hog's Breath Saloon, or was it Irish Kevin's?
Dress Code: anything goes!
After the sun goes down, Duval Street wakes up. During the day it's a place to shop, but after dark it is simply The Place. Some of the best places are just off of Duval, so make sure you check them out too.
There are so many bars and restaurants that everybody is bound to find something that suits them. There is an organized Pub Crawl, but I prefer my own disorganized version. Most of the clubs have either dancing, pool, darts, live music, or a combination of fun stuff.
I usually hit Sloppy Joes and Green Parrot, then go from there. For a fun drag show, stop by Aqua.
Dress Code: it may be illegal to be completely naked, but I have seen everything else......
Remember 'Marnie' from my Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia pages?? On more than one occasion, we've met up for some fun in Key West......
Try some Apple Martinis at this cozy bar. This was our 4am nightcap......
Theres plenty of bars in key west, the best being :
Be warned, there are a few gay bars in town, so if youre straight you may want to keep your eyes out for the rainbow stickers in the bar window.
Duval Street! Every joint on the strip is a PARTY! There are all kinds of bars, clubs and theaters - something for everyone.
The most laid back place on earth. I love it here. No one is in a rush, everyone just wants to have a good time.
Dress Code: You can go straight from the beach (some people do). Anything goes in Key West. Don't be surprised if you see some nudity. It can get pretty crazy. I usually take one casually dressy outfit to wear to a nice restaurant (even though it would be acceptable for me to arrive in shorts). Louie's Backyard is a really nice restaurant and it is more fun for me if I dress up a little.
One night, my friend and I wanted to go out, but we wanted to get away from the crowds on Duval Street & Mallory Square. We ended up in the hotel lounge at the Wyndham. It is an old hotel that the Wyndham purchased -- really nice. Great, quiet place to grab a drink. The bartender is super friendly and knows how to make everything!
Just walk up Duval St. and pick a place! There’s all kinds of live music and you don’t even need to go in the bar to enjoy it, you can stand on the street and see some bands. At times you can listen to more than one band at once. They had live music on both sides of the street.
Ok... everyone already knows Duval St. is where the party is at. The goal is to start at one end and try to amke your way to the other. I never made it! I always got sidetracked at Rick's Bar. Karaoke! Duval St. is great for people watching. Grab a table on a patio somewhere and just sit back and allow yourself to be entertained. Or you could go to Rick's and do karaoke.....
Dress Code: Dress pretty much any way you like as long as you are comfortable.
THERE IS SO MUCH NIGHT LIFE IN K.W. TO START OUT GO TO MALLORY SQ FOR THE SUNSET CELEBRATION.THEN GO TO HOGSBREATH SALOON-HAVE A FEW.THEN JUST KEEP GOING DOWN DUVAL IN AND OUT FROM ONE SIDE OF THE STREET TO ANOTHER CHECKING OUT ALL THE BARS.MOST OF THE BARS WILL HAVE SOME FORM OF LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND IF YOUR LUCKY YOU'LL CATCH 2 GUYS AT SLOPPY JOES THAT ARE A RIOT.EVEN IF YOU'RE STRAIGHT YOU HAVE TO GO AND SEE THE DRAG QUEEN SHOW AT 801 BOURBON ST ON DUVAL.WHEN YOU NEED TO FIX THOSE HUNGER PANGS THEN GO TO THE OLD RUM RUNNERS--THEY HAVE CHANGE NAMES AND I DON'T KNOW THE NEW NAME.THEY HAVE GREAT PIZZA AND SUBS THAT YOU CAN ORDER FROM THE SIDEWALK COUNTER.
Dress Code: DRESS CODE???? WHAT CODE? YOU'RE IN KEY WEST.THROW ON A SHIRT-SHORTS AND FLIP FLOPS FOR BASICALLY ANYWHERE.THIS PLACE IS VERY LAID BACK SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO GET DECKED OUT--UNLESS YOU WANT TOO.
LOTS OF GREAT PLACES TO GO AND HAVE A COLD ONE AND WATCH THE CROWDS GO BY.HOGSBREATH,SLOPPY JOE'S,IRISH KEVIN,THE OLD RUMRUNNERS AND ALOT OF OTHER PLACES HAVE GREAT LIVE MUSIC.IF FROZEN DRINKS ARE YOUR THING THEN GO TO FAT TUESDAYS AND TRY THE 190 OCTANE BRAIN FREEZE SLURPY--IT WILL KNOCK YOU OUT IF YOU HAVE TOO MANY.
Dress Code: AS FAR AS DRESS CODES GO MOST ANYTHING IS OKAY--FLIP FLOPS,SHORTS AND A SHIRT.JUST GO IN WHAT IS COMFORTABLE TO YOU.HECK IF YOU DON'T LIKE CLOTHS THEN CHECK OUT THE GARDEN OF EDEN ABOVE THE BULL AND WHISTLE--CLOTHING OPTIONAL IS THERE DRESS CODE.