The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour
Hops MacBarley's Ongoing
Key West Bar Boondoggle
Sunday 3/7, 4:30 PM
Crazy Lady (draft) $6.00
Do not let that address fool you. This bar is not on Duval Street. The hotel to which it belongs – The Southernmost Point Inn – has a Duval Street main entrance, so the address is legit, but the bar is comfortably down South Street towards the iconic SoMo Point buoy.
You can access it by using the main gate and walking across the property, and it’s actually shorter that way, but it still feels like a South Street bar.
And, hey, Duval has enough bars. How many are on South Street? Hmm?
SoMo House (#159) qualifies. SoMo Beach Café (#99), Shore Bar (#64), and Pineapple Bar (#43), being affiliated with SoMo Beach Resort should too. And that’s it. There are no other bars on the southernmost street.
It should be noted, though, that all four of those bars officially carry Duval Street addresses, not South Street. If you ain’t on Duval, you ain’t nobody, I reckon.
But I entered this bar from South Street, so it felt like a South Street address to me. And I liked it before I even went in!
You walk along this nice white fence for a good couple dozen strides, getting a good anticipatory look at it all: a big, open, red-brick patio, with several tables cozied under wide aqua-colored, octagonal umbrellas, green grass lawn over there, lush green hedges back there, classic white mansion looming behind it all, a nice-looking bar building with very inviting shade under the wide front awning, and, finally, a squat replica of the SoMo Point buoy itself. If all that doesn’t beckon you in, nothing will.
The replica is maybe a-third the height of the real thing, but it’s solid concrete, just like its Daddy. It is painted the same, except for the addition of the word “Bar” on the name.
Note that they are NOT claiming to be the “southernmost bar.” SPB, as they call themselves on their shirts and promotional products, gets the bronze medal in that race. According to Google Earth, the southernmost point of each of the southernmost bars is as follows:
Southernmost Point Bar (#336): 24°32’49.45” N
Southernmost Beach Café (#99): 24°32’48.90” N
Southernmost House (#159): 24°32’48.46” N
The SoMoHo gets the nod by about 60 feet. But that was not going to diminish my enjoyment of the SPB one bit.
I approached the bar with the eagerness of a man who has just walked one mile on a gorgeous sunny, breezy afternoon – and went the whole way without once stopping for a beer.
That might sound like no big whoop where you come from, but I walked past no fewer than SIXTY-SIX – yes, that’s 66 for those of you who can’t read words (not sure how you got this far, but whatever) – BARS. And that 66 does NOT include 25 (twenty-five) more that were within a block down either side. NINETY-ONE (91) BARS tried to seduce me. They cooed, they whispered, they beckoned, they whistled, they called, they shouted, they bellowed, they screamed at me: “HOPS, we NEED you, baby!”
Well, at least, I thought they did.
Anyway, the point is that I approached the SPB bar eagerly. I was thirsty and my Hop Sense was electrified. This was not just a new bar, but a new location! Seven (7) of the last ten (10) Hops have been in places that had been hopped before (b4). SPB was totally FRESH.
I stepped up to the bar, chose a seat a few feet away from the hat-wearing skeleton, and greeted my barkeep, Maria. She would prove to be much better company than my bony neighbor.
Maria arrived fairly recently from her native Venezuela. The second straight Hop being served by a South American! How ‘bout dat? She didn’t just come north to get here. She came west as well. All of South America – ALL of it -- lies east of Key West. Look it up if you doubt me. This web site is non-fiction, so that means it has to be true.
Maria poured me my Crazy Lady and asked where I was from. She was surprised that I was a local. Stands to reason, I suppose. How many locals hang out near the SoMo Point unless they are trying to somehow profit from the experience?
She was very enthusiastic about the Barhoppin’ Bone Island Tours and asked me which were my favorite bars. I kinda dodged the question and ended up suggesting bars that she might like but not know about yet.
There was some business going on, so she had to drift away to make drinks and such a few times, but always came back with a “OK, where else?” I showed her this website on my phone. That chronological list looks so damn lonnnnnnnnnng when you’re scrolling down and down and down.
She showed me some short videos (TikTok, I assume) that she made since she arrived. The one she made of Smathers Beach makes that place look, really, like paradise. Very cool stuff, Maria!
While she was off attending to other guests, I just turned around and looked out from where I sat. The SoMo House right across the street, the top of the real SoMo Point buoy in view above the hedges to my right, people just totally chilled out under the umbrellas, pretty damn nice.
It’s just a daytime phenomenon, Maria told me, open at 11 (or noon?) and close up at 7 PM. I’m gonna guess that will change once Daylight Saving Time hits. Just a guess, though.
The thought of staying for another one tickled my brain, but I had a mission to accomplish – or so I thought – back at Hop #335, and I had to run that 91-bar gauntlet again.
I bid Maria farewell, remembered to tip her, and headed – where else? – north.