Key West Bar Hops
The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour
Hops MacBarley's Ongoing
Key West Bar Boondoggle
Sunday, 4 April 2021, 2:20 PM
Sun Sessional IPA (draft) $6.45
Though I don’t know how “Tiki” this bar actually is – that word conjures up images of high-peaked, palm frond roofing – it is brand new, it is part of The Capitana Resort, it serves a very large pool, a good-sized deck and a wide beach, and it is open to the public! No Stealth Hop needed this time.
The Capitana is a nice place. Like most hotels in the Southernmost City, it will cost you a pretty penny to stay here. But I did a mock booking to see what a family of four would pay for a spring weekend here, and it was less than I thought: two rooms on each of two nights totals out to around $720, plus tax -- and probably also plus that dastardly Resort Fee that every freaking hotel tacks on (don’t get me started on that). So, that’s less than $200 per. Not bad for a quality room at a quality place on this island.
But this is a Bar Tour, so ignore than last paragraph. Don’t even read it. As far as I was concerned, all these people were here for McKee’s and only McKee’s. Most of them even booked rooms so they could be close to it. I like their devotion.
This was Easter Sunday. I had forgotten that Publix is not open on Easter Sunday, so I went there to do my usual weekly food run. Shopping doesn’t take me very long. Twenty minutes or so. But, somehow, having that time window unexpectedly open put me in an I got ALLLL DAYYYY mood. No Hop was on the To Do List, but this one got added as soon as I eyed the empty lot at the ‘Blix.
It was brilliantly sunny, but cooler than usual and windy enough to really piss off power boaters. Not zackly your primetime conditions for a pool-and-beach bar, but good enough for moi.
I walked through the lobby like I knew where I was going (which I kinda did) and emerged into the big courtyard pool area. Three floors of rooms loom over it on two sides, plus a little more. Those rooms all overlook the cement pond but get an eyeful of the Gulf of Mexico as well.
Yeah, that all looked good, but between the pool and the gulf, under a big shady roof, was McKee’s. As I got closer, I could see the bar itself. It did not look particularly large -- maybe ten seats – but all I needed was one.
Actually, all I needed was none. By Tour Rules, as long as I buy my beer at the bar and have it served to me by a bartender, it doesn’t matter where I sit, or if I sit at all. Grabbing a cold draft and settling in on some poolside lounger would not suck.
As it turns out, there were three empty seats on the north side of the bar. And, heyyyy, cool seats they are! They’re plenty wide and plenty deep, and they’re made of ropes. It's almost like someone cut down a rope hammock, chopped it in half and wrapped it around a metal frame. Pretty practical for all the wet-assed people who’d be sittin’ on them. I checked the rope net with my hand before I sat my dry behind down. I didn’t need big dark x’s all over the back off my light gray shorts.
The bar has a smooth marble (?) top. It’s one of the least cluttered bars you’ll find. Despite McKee’s being a food source too, there was a delightful lack of condiments and napkin holders and the like.
The backbar, too, was minimalist. Only the TV and a few small frames hung on the shelf-less wall, and all the booze bottles fit on a short, 2-level riser.
The ceiling has a good look to it.
Kind of like an enormous upside-down butcher block,
with a hint of bowling alley.
One fan, four simple recessed lights.
And those lights probably don’t get much use; the bar
hours are officially 11 AM to 6 PM, according to the sign
hanging back there, with last call for drinks at 6:45 PM.
To me, that sounds like 11-6:45, yes?
What exactly stops at that 6:00 "closing" time? Food
service? Is that relevant? It's a bar,
Well, anyway, my pleasant bartender brought me my translucent cup of IPA and I sat back to enjoy a little leisure.
Lots of families here! Moms were chillin’ out in loungers, and a handful o’ dads were here at the bar with me. Kids all over the place. The pool seemed to have only kids in it. And a middle-school-age brother and sister were playing chess. BIG chess.
Between the pool deck and McKee’s there is a lush green lawn. There is a cornhole set on it and an oversized lawn-chess set.
The siblings were mid-game by the
time my attention found them.
From what I could see, it looked like a close game,
though early. Each
had the major pieces left, but white seemed to have the
advantage. Black had already lost both of his knights -- probably had their arms and
their legs chopped off while defending a bridge. Just a
flesh wound, though. ;)
I took a little stroll to snap a few pix and check out the beach. It’s not huge, but it’s bigger than I expected.
There was a cluster of loungers under a few medium-sized trees. Everyone in the group was a woman, almost all of them were wearing black bikinis, and they were in sun-soak mode. It looked like a bachelorette party with a serious edge. I had to wonder where they-all had spent their Saturday night, because there was not a lot of movement going on among them. Nice spot they had there.
As I returned to my seat, I noticed that the chess game had heated up.
White’s queen was on the move. She had just knocked off a pawn and then charged into enemy territory to capture a bishop. No sooner had her hand lifted off the royal lady, than black’s rook roared into action, crossing the full board, hell-bent for mayhem.
The girl immediately saw her blunder and tried to grab her queen back, but little bro had his mark and he knew it. He slapped her hand away and pulled the queen off the board. Big Sis wound up to give his rook a mighty bare-footed kick but thought better of it and just shoved it over in disgust.
The subsequent unraveling was hard to watch. The girl totally lost the concept of chess. Every piece she moved was right in the path of an opposing piece, and he picked them off with alacrity.
In just a few moves, her king was pinned in his own corner with a bishop, a rook, and a queen grinning at him and no one to come to his aid. That's mate, mate.
Sis picked up her king and bowled
over as many pieces as she could reach, then dropped it on the
ground and strode off to find something more fun to do.
To his credit, Lil Bro not only picked up the toppled pieces, but completely reset the board. Sly spider, setting the trap for his next victim.
It’s a good spot here, this McKee’s Tiki Bar. I was not craving the pool or the ocean on this cool and breezy Easter Sunday, but I’m sure it would be a different matter on a hot and humid afternoon.
Hmmmmm, if only Key West had some of those…