Greetings, and Welcome to a Bar Hopping Spree Like No
I am Hops MacBarley, your guide and garrulous narrator
on a tour of MORE THAN 300 BARS --
without ever leaving the tiny island
of Key West Florida.
Mind you, these are not ratings, rankings, or
evaluations. They are just short Hopters
(hopping chapter), with a few pix, telling the tale of
each Hop, with maybe a bunch of other things that
happened to stroll through my mind.
More background and facts and
such at About.
There are orderly links up top, but it's more fun to click on a Tour, pick on a pic to click, and start touring the diverse and entertaining Bars of Bone Island.
#1: Bars 1-100 (2012)
"The Peace, Love and IPA Tour"
On a whim, one summer day in 2012, I announced to my drinking buds that we were in a rut, and that I was going exploring. I was going to go to 100 different bars in the next 100 days.
Order was random, but must include all types: social bars, hotels bars, posh bars, dive bars, gay bars, cigar bars, sports bars, music bars, restaurant bars, even private bars, with would require some guile.
The rules were simple. Be served at a BAR, not a table; I could be seated at the bar or standing at it, but a bartender must serve me my drink. The Hop was not consummated until I purchased and drank one beer there. So, game on, hop on!!
#2: Bars 101-200
"The Second Century Tour"
By the following summer, rut was returning, and it seemed that everywhere I looked there was a bar that I had not hopped. This would not do.
I announced to my drinking buds -- and their here-he-goes-again rolled eyes -- that there was more Hopping to do, and that I was going to Hop 30 new bars in the next month.
Well, that was too damn easy, and the list of virgin bars was too long to ignore. By now, my primary buds, B & J, began to accompany and we became like Arthur's knights, questing for the Holy Grailful of Beer.
The second 100 bars took a leisurely 123 days.
#3: Bars 201-300
"The Keep On Hoppin' Tour"
Well, new bars just kept opening up. They had to be Hopped. No other option.
About 20 of the first 200 had closed, and about as many opened up, often in the footprint of one that had caved. That, my friends, is optimism: a bar went out of business on this very spot, so... let's open a bar here!
Around #260, we started to run out of bars, so we took some time off from our exhausting labor, and hopped in spurts when a few more new bars sprung up.
The third 300 took more than 4 years.
#4: Bars 301- (2018- )
"The Keep Calm and Hop On Tour"
There seems to be no end to the optimism of new bar owners in this town. A few addresses have had bomb-out after bomb-out, yet people keep coming in with delusions of grandeur: "That won't happen to us!"
Right, not for 2 months, anyway.
But that just keeps it fresh, right? The world is about survival of the fittest, and that holds true for bars too. With 200+ bars within a 4-mile bike ride -- and more than 100 along one street (including side streets) -- you better have a damn good hook in order to survive.
My recent scouting mission shows that a dozen more new bars have opened up ... during the pandemic! Hell ya. I am eager to Hop them all...