The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour
Hops MacBarley's Ongoing
Key West Bar Boondoggle
Friday, 12 March 2021, 11 PM
Hopsecutioner (draft) $7.50
I nominate Retro Room for the Most Entertaining Décor Award, if there is such a thing. And, WTF, I make awards for a living, I should make them one!
They definitely have the most eye-catching, imagination-capturing, memory-invoking, smile-inducing walls, backbar and bar top since, ohhhh, Glitch (#310).
That should be no surprise since this, essentially, is Glitch re-named.
Shortly after we did Hop #310, we heard rumors about there being some kind of kerfuffle with a bar on the mainland – Miami, maybe? – that went by the same name and that the KW version was going to have to change.
I’m not sure if that is indeed what went down, and the pandemic kept me away from all-things-bar for almost a year so I lost track, but it’s named The Retro Room now. I like the name.
And I like the interior too! If they made any changes, I can’t tell – unless they added even more stuff to the Stuff Wall behind the bar. I swear, every single time I gazed at that wall, I saw new things. It was as if they were swapping things out every time I turned away.
There is still a special space for special
people at the top of the big staircase.
There is still a game room in the back-right, with a
tabletop shuffleboard game (LOVE that) and a few other
is a still that HUGE colorful mural on the opposite wall.
The bartop is still a collection of comic locked in
clearcoat. My favorites were The Silver Surfer
(Sky-Rider of the Spaceways!) and Flaming Carrot
Comics (The World's Oddest Super-Hero.)
The full set of The
Simpsons Pez dispensers was a fave item too.
I could have just re-used the pix from 310 and even the current staff might not know the diff.
The beer list looks unchanged, still posted on hand-painted planks on the wall next to the door. And the selection was still marvelous.
My barkeep was quick to
serve. Too quick, in fact, and I requested a moment to
peruse the planks. I
had looked first for the taps but found that all but two of the
20 or so taps had no handles.
Often, that means NDA (no draft available), but
here they play tap-by-number.
My brew was #9 on the wall, and the 9th tap
in from the left end.
couldn’t tell from where I sat if there were small numbers on
the taps themselves, or if the barkeeps here have to do the
count all night. No big deal, right, it's just
counting. Though something in the middle, say 15 and 16
for instance, might get mis-served now and then if the barkeep
The lack of colorful tap
handles was a bit surprising. At times, you see that in a
classically-styled place -- like Berlin's perhaps -- where they
strive to keep out anything that will distract from the rich
dark wood, the deep burgundy furnishings and the shiny brass
fittings. But Retro Room is not a bit shy about color,
flash or dash. Could be that the owner thought that the
tap handles -- often catchy decorations in their own right --
would take away from the bar's innate display items.
The barkeep -- I'm going to call him Max -- asked me if I wanted to cash out or run a tab. I opted for the cash-out, proclaiming that it gave me Freedom. I said it with the capital-F, too. He heartily agreed.
So, what else? Hmmm. Not much of anything happened while I was in here tonight. It was a solo night, so I did not have a partner in crime.
Nobody sat down next to me and drowned me in a waterfall of bullshit.
The bartender did not accidently knock over a whole rack of beer glasses.
The taps did not suddenly start gushing bursts of foam all over the back bar.
The two guys to my right did not get in a fight over women or money, or anything else.
The girl who came up to order a drink did not have any trouble getting it.
The somewhat overweight guy standing at the end of the bar did not do anything. Not a damn thing. Just stood there like an Easter Island moai.
And the cluster of special people up in the special space atop the stairs did not start to get rowdy, did not lean too hard against the railing, did not cause it to give way, and the two young women did not plummet to the floor with a sickening crunch.
Nope, none of that happened. At least, not while I was there.
I must be good luck! =)
I bottomed up my Hopsecutioner, exercised my Freedom, and moseyed onward.