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The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour
Hops MacBarley's Ongoing
Key West Bar Boondoggle
227 Duval Street
Friday, February 26, 11 PM
Crazy Lady (draught) $7
FOGARTY’S!! Brian, how the hell did we miss Fogarty’s bar in all these 8+ years of Hopping? It’s on one of the most prominent corners in town, we walked past it thousands of times, and it just did not click. Unbelievable.
I came out tonight with a list of 20 unhopped bars to choose from, and I end up coming to one that was not even on the dang list. I was walking by on the sidewalk, casually looked in, like I always do, to see if I recognize anyone. Hmmm, lots of people here eating tonight. Not surprising -- they have really good food here. I love the Crusted Chicken Romano (Parmesan and Romano crusted chicken breast with Creamy Garlic Marinara over penne pasta). Mmmmmm.
Yeah, no wonder so many people are eating here, even at 11:00. The tables are even full in the b…ar. Bar? Bar. Bar!!!
Hops, you fidiot, there’s a bar back there. And it’s been there since the Dawn of Time. Go Hop it!!
Now, Flying Monkeys was hopped way back in 2012, at #20, and though it is part of the overall restaurant property covered by Fogarty’s, it really is a separate world. FM is a BAR that you can get food at, but it is primarily for drinking. And it has its own name (that’s key), a bunch of frozen drink machines, a sidewalk walk-up counter, yada yada. Flying Monkeys is attached to Fogarty’s, but it is Flying Monkeys.
The bar of Fogarty’s, as such, is nestled under the roof in the back corner, between the ramp to the strooms and the Caroline Street fence. It has its own character too.
The roof gives it the feel of a distinct room, and the tables are like the dining area extended. They are high-tops, though, true Bar Tables, not the sit-down types that are all over the courtyard.
The bar itself is small, with about 6-8 stools across the front – depending on how many have been stolen away by the high-toppers – and two, I think, along the streetside.
As I approached, three stools dead center were available. A woman was in the process of hijacking one for her table. I strode confidently to the one that had been its neighbor and staked my claim before she could abscond with it.
The bar crowd was unbalanced. Maybe mentally (too early to tell) but definitely locationally. I had an empty stool and then two people comfortably distanced to my left, and about 12 people bunched shoulder-to-shoulder to my right. They should have grabbed these empty stools while they had the chance, but they lacked focus.
The young female barkeep was kept busy attending to their orders for a good few minutes, and then, when she looked in my direction, her eyes first landed on Seat Stealing Woman, standing next to me, who blurted out her order for four drinks. Stealing my turn too, eh, you thieving bitch?
While I waited I glanced upward to see if the ceiling had anything interesting to offer. And it did!
Being outside of any secure structure, the bar is basically box with flaps, similar to Caroline’s (#36). The flaps are shut and padlocked when the place is closed, and they are swung up and hooked in place overhead during business hours.
Well, the insides were painted so I now had a colorful ceiling above me. It was odd: sun, clouds and birds painted by a not-very-talented artist, but WTF, it’s not a freaking art gallery.
When the barkeep finally put her drinks on the bar, she asked if SSW and I were together. I wanted to go, “Ewwwww, NOOO!” – and she was probably thinking the same thing – but we both just silently shook our heads.
I kinda wanted a Lazy Way IPA, but the sign on the wall over the taps convinced me to go the Crazy Lady route. I like them both equally, so no big whoop.
As she placed my translucent plastic cup full of CL on the bar, I handed her a sawbuck (that’s a $10 bill, for anyone born after 1960), and wondered how many ones I’d get back.
She brought me three. OK, it looks like this $7 beer bushwa is here to stay. My apologies to Liberty Lounge; at least they gave me a chilled glass.
But It Is What It Is, yes? If others are selling for $7 and people are buying, why the fug would you sell for $6 and deliberately make less money?
Anyway, Hopsy, quit yer bitchin’, adjust yer cheap-ass budget accordingly, raise yer translucent plastic cup, and toast your return to Hopping.
So, now, beer in hand, my other issue began to call for more attention. I had meant to go up the ramp to the stroom before going to the bar, but seeing the stool pilferage in progress made me change priorities. I wanted to assure myself a seat, so I changed course on the fly and settled in.
With pressure off now, I was reminded of my original intention. Hmmm. Dilemma.
This is one of the drawbacks to solo hopping: no one to watch your stuff while you go run errands. You think I was going to leave my shoulder bag on the bar with Seat Stealing Woman around? Not a chance!
So, my stay at the bar was of short duration. I abandoned my stool to the scavengers and carried my mostly full cup with me up the ramp.
On my way down, I saw that my seat was actually still open. I saw no real reason to return, though. There was nothing overly compelling about the maskless mob that had been huddled on my right.
So, I used my downhill momentum to stride right on across the dining area, out the gate, and back onto Duval.
I took out my phone to decide which virgin bar on the list to hop next, snapped a cool photo from the front fence, then headed onward…