Sloppy Joe's, Key West
Sloppy Joe's is the most famous bar in Key West. Sloppy Joe's is the one on all the t-shirts that you can see from Alabama to Zanzibar. And, Sloppy Joe's is forever linked to Key West's most famous former resident (my INSINCERE apologies to Jimmy Buffett), Ernest Hemingway. (If you want to know what's sticking in my craw regarding the greedy Mr. Buffett, see my "Cheeseburgers" Restaurant tip.)
So, Sloppy Joe's is as much a tourist spot as a bar.
But, the good news is that it's still a pretty decent bar. And if you'll visit earlier in the evening or in late afternoon, you might actually be able to breath inside, as most of the Sloppy Joe patrons are probably nursing their previous day's hangove at those times.
On an annual basis, Sloppy Joe's hosts the famous "Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest". It amazes me how much some of the past winners actually do look like Papa. It's too bad that they're not doing an Ernest Hemingway Write-Alike contest. (visit the www.sloppyjoes.com site for pictures of the 2006 winner)
The present location (since 1937) of Sloppy Joe's is not where Ernest spent much of his time. The old place was a few blocks away, and it moved when the landlord tried to raise the rent by some ridiculous amount of money...$1 a week I think.
For a live webcam look at Sloppy Joe's go to www.sloppyjoes.com/sloppycam/
I'd suggest taking a look around 10 pm.
Dress Code: As with other Conch Republic establishments, I think you have to wear shoes. I'm pretty sure that female patrons have to wear a top of some kind too, although it clearly doesn't have to be much of a top.
Everyone told me that if I was going to go to Key West I needed to go to Sloppy Joe's. Well I did, and even though it was a cool place it's the definition of a tourist trap.
Next door to the bar is a shop that sells all your Sloppy Joe's merchandise. The prices are high , as everything else is in a tourist destination.
The live music the night I went (March 2nd, 2004) was a band called "VS. The Earth" They were good and people seemed to like them.
The wrap around bar was packed, and it took awhile to even get a drink. Also be aware that they serve regulars first even if it means making the non-regulars wait for 20 minutes.
All in all I agree that if you go to Key West you have to visit Sloppy Joe's.
I didn't eat at Sloppy Joes so I can't give any insight.
Dress Code: A dress code in Key West is casual, very casual. shorts and t-shirts will get you in the door.
Sloppy Joe's is a Key West institution. The bar officially opened the day prohibition was repealed, but it had been in existence even before that time, operating as a speakeasy for those crusty Key West residents who refused to be told that selling alcohol was illegal. The bar had several other names, but, legend has it that Ernest Hemingway came up with the name Sloppy Joe's.
Actually, it is more than a nightlife spot as it opens early for those who like to begin imbibing in the a.m. hours or who, perhaps, are still going from the night before. The bar and restaurant are open all day, serving typical bar food and Florida Keys typical mixed drinks and beer.
In the evenings, live music is played here and the place attracts a crowd of locals and tourists, although more of the latter. Its a loud and rowdy place usually filled with sunburnt, tropical attire clad and drunken revelers. A visit to Key West would not be complete without visiting Sloppy Joe's.
Dress Code: In the Keys, virtually anything goes, so long as you are decent. Given the hot weather and the laid back attitude, you would be overdressed in anything more than shorts and a t-shirt.
sloppy joe's bar is the most famous bar in key west. it is located in the original 1917 victoria restaurant building on duval street. the original sloppy joes was located around the corner on greene street which is now capt. tony's saloon. sloppy joe's was originally called russell's after it's owner joe russell. ernest hemingway convinced russell to change the name because joe "ran such a sloppy place". sloppy joe's is one of the most visited party spots in key west. they are open from 9AM to 4AM and have live entertainment from noon to closing.
Dress Code: casual.
We stopped in for a drink due to the Hemmingway stories. The original Sloppy Joe's (Captain Tony's) was deserted.
However, we stayed for the live music. Great band and fun atmosphere.
Drinks were a little off though. We ordered apple martinis which were made separately and both tasted more like lime than apple.
If you are picky about your liquor, you would probably like this place as long as you watch them make the drink. Their well liquors are considered top-shelf at other bars. E.g. well rum is Bacardi.
Drink prices were a little lower than elsewhere in Key West also.
Dress Code: Very casual
Sloppy Joes is a most famous place to visit in the lower down town of duval where you can expect live musical entertainment through out the day and night. Drinks are reasonably priced and at one time had the best finger food in town. The drinks and music are the best thing about the place. It is familey orientated during the day and grown up at night.
Dress Code: come as you are very casual
Sloppy Joe's on Duval Street is a big locale, with doors an windows that open right onto the street and great music by live bands every night. The tables in front of the stage get pushed back as the night progresses (and people get drunker) and the dancing begins.
The bar is a hub and always packed. Lots of stuff hanging on the wall remind us that this place must have been one of Hemingway's hangout.
Live music at night. Don't be too critical, one day the music is good, but sometimes the performers are poor and vulgar. But the ambiance is good and the beer is too.
This is Key West!
Sloppy Joes on Duval street! It's THE place to go! Check to see if Pete and Wayne are playing...funny entertainment.
Everyone parties in Key West and is there to have a good time. Sloppy Joes has live entertainment and is always a great time.
Dress Code: You can pretty much wear whatever you want whenever you want. It's the beach, it's young, it's wild so most things go. Especially during the Halloween Week, it's their yearly festival and from what I hear in incredible. Basically for a week people dress up or do body paintings! A lot of people won't wear any cloths they are just painted from head to toe! You may have seen pictures on the net - I hear it blows away New Orleans but I've never been there so I don't know for sure.
The official beginning of Sloppy Joe's Bar, the famous and infamous Key West saloon beloved by Ernest Hemingway, was December 5, 1933--the day Prohibition was repealed. But the bar was destined to go through two name changes and a sudden change of location before it would become today's Sloppy Joe's, seen by millions of visitors to Florida's southernmost outpost. Key West being a bastion of free thinkers even in the thirties, Prohibition was looked on as an amusing exercise dreamed up by the government--and Joe Russel was just one of the enterprising individuals who operated illegal speakeasies. Even Ernest Hemingway slipped over to Russell's on occasion to buy illicit bottles of Scotch, and the two struck up an enduring friendship. When the government's Great Experiment ended a dismal failure, Joe Russell became a legitimate saloon-keeper--proprietor of the Blind Pig was a drollest rundown building that Russell leased for three dollars a week.
The rowdy, come-as-you-are saloon was renamed the Silver Slipper upon the addition of a dance floor, but that didn't matter--it remained a place of shabby discomfort, good friends and gambling, fifteen-cent whiskey, and ten-cent shots of gin. It was Hemingway, a favorite patron of Russell's bar from the start, who encouraged its name change to Sloppy Joe's. The new name was adopted from Jose Garcia Rio Havana club selling liquor and iced seafood. Because the floor was always wet with melted ice, his patrons taunted this Spanish Joe with running a sloppy place... and the name stuck.
In its early days in Key West, Sloppy Joe's boasted several trademark 'fixtures' besides Hemingway. There way 'Big' Skinner, the hearty black bartender who tipped the scales at 300 pounds and served Sloppy's customers for more than two decades. The long bar curved rakishly; gambling and the requisite pool tables were in the rear.
Dress Code: Very Casual!
Sloppy Joe's supposed former haunt of Ernest Hemingway.
The best entertainment, good food and good times you will never forget.
Duval St.Key West,Florida.
Fantasy Fest exemplifies the Key West party mode with 10 days of festivities in October.New Year's Eve is another occasion.The rest of the year, music,concert halls,clubs,piano bars and pubs, bringing to life what Jimmy Buffett so aptly named Margaritaville.
Had a much better time here than across the street! Most famous bar on the island for a reason! Great music, live names, friendly staff, good crowd and atmosphere, drinks were well made, had a blast! Will come back whenever possible!
Dress Code: Dress casual
There's always a party at Joe's! If you're not in the mood for a raucous frat party, you might pick a different bar. But if you are... let loose and have fun! It's supposed to be haunted by Ernest Hemingway himself, according to the ghost tour app we picked up. Apparently he didn't want to leave either!
Dress Code: Very casual
Sloppy Joe's has been one of the most famous places on Key West since 1933. Ernest Hemingway was a regular and actually convinced the owner, Joe Russell, to name it Sloppy Joe's. The bar hosts the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest every year.
Live music and DJs give Sloppy Joe's a great atmosphere, and the service is good. It is overall a fun place and a part of Key West history.
There is a good menu of sandwiches and salads, along with some appetizers. There is also a good drink selection.
It is open daily from 9am-4am (noon-4am Sundays). It can be very crowded on weekends.
Sloppy Joe's is where its namesake, the sloppy joe, was invented. Besides the famous sandwich, this is a bar with live music every night.