The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour
Hops MacBarley's Ongoing
Key West Bar Boondoggle
Friday 12 March 2021, 6:15 PM
Neon New England Style IPA (draft) $7.12
L&F is the new kid on this block. The only other bar is The Green Parrot (#4), so you could be pretty damn old and still be the new kid on Southard’s 400 block.
Charley Mac’s (#82) was
the prior tenant. They
opened up during The Peace, Love and IPA Tour, so they
lasted almost nine years. Ownership
changed course, however, divesting itself of some of its
properties, including CM’s, which ceased operations.
Lost & Found moved on
in a month or two ago. The good folks at Old Town Tavern
& Beer Garden (#300) own this place too, so it should be in
This evening's Hop figured to be an add-on to a different activity. Across the street, Lost Boy Surf Shop was publicizing its new location by having a free show by a “Rolling Stones Tribute Band” called Torn & Frayed from 6-8 PM. It seemed like a perfect Friday-after-work thing to do. They had light snacks, but no alcohol was being served. We were, however, very welcome to bring our own.
Since this was taking place right across from Lost & Found, the Hop seemed not just convenient, but downright necessary.
So at 6:15, I sauntered in, taking my usual few pictures as I approached. That sign over the entrance seems way too small, duddunit? It’s almost too far away to read the dang thang.
Now, I know that HARC (the Historical Architectural Review Commission, or some such humbug) is strict about signage and renovations on these older buildings, so L&F likely had no choice. But this building would certainly look better with a larger sign.
The period style would still be required, but the larger board would be much more complementary to the structure; you wouldn’t have all that dumb empty space.
Take a peek back at Hop #333 and tell me why their sign is OK but this one is the size of an index card.
There was one seat left at the bar, so I took it. “Biznizz is gud,” I thought to myself. Indeed, who else could I think it do? And, yes, I often think phonetically.
As I pondered the taps, a familiar figure came around from the other side to serve me. It was Polly! I don’t think I had ever seen her outside of Jack Flats (#48). She had been a staple behind that long bar for years. It took me a moment to even connect who she was. Maybe the mask had a little something to do with that.
We chatted for a good bit about jobs and Celtics and Bruins and getting’ by during COVID. I eventually got around to ordering a Neon New England Style IPA. How could I talk about New England sports and NOT order that?
I asked if there was a Happy Hour and she gave a shake of her head and told me I just missed it. It’s from 3:00 till 6:00. Dagnabbit.
I took a few minutes to look around the place, seeing what had changed. The layout was the same, as it should be. The central bar and perimeter table make maximum use of the room. There are still a few tables on the narrow front porch, and the actual Lost & Found dining room is still on the other side of that big red brick wall.
The wall itself was no longer dominated by that one huge leering pig beside towering red text. The current decorations include paintings in gilded frames, old-style signs, illuminated beer signs, one big-ass mobile home park sign, and the like. MUCH more fun to look at!
There seems to be more
wood now. I love dark wood in a bar. I love bricks
too, and L&F has lotsa both.
The central island had been built up with a rough wood
façade, and the ceiling beams are more prominent.
I don’t recall if they were like that at CM’s or not. I was trying to
envision it when the raccoon derailed my train of thought.
Nestled up almost directly above me, was Rocky Raccoon, clutching a box of Cracker Jack in his little paws. He (or she?) was fake, or course, but still an eye-catcher.
It finally occurred to me that the lighting is much much better now. Instead of those garish, bare-bulb, subway style lights that CM’s had, L&F has the round-domed, stained-glass style that reminds you of speakeasies and old-time saloons. They’re colorful and cast a much warmer and more comfortable glow throughout the room.
I finished up my Unhappy Hour brew and did a little walkabout to check out the rest of the place. The dining room was roped off, but it looked really nice. It seemed like there was room for another couple of tables, but I have to think that COVID had something to do with that.
The full-length burgundy drapes are a nice touch, but the backlit ship design on the near wall is even better.
I had pretty much forgotten about that Stones band show across the street. My plan had been to grab a beer and carry it over there, but I got too well settled in. That speaks well of L&F.
The band – since I know
you’re wondering – was OK.
They played Stones music, but they were in no way an
imitation band. I
caught another two songs, then went on my way.
If it had still been Happy Hour at L&F, I would've
come back. Actually,
I never would've left.
6:00 is too early to end HH. Anyone who works till 5:00 will agree with me on that.
Other than that, though, L&F was a fine Hop. 337 in the books. Hop on!