Funky, rustic, local, waterfront, true Key West. These are the words I would choose to describe the Schooner Wharf Bar, a little piece of old Key West that just keeps getting better with time. Kind of like a nice rum!
I have been to Key West many times before, but never to Schooner Wharf. I know, I should be beaten with a large stick. This time would be different though.
My friends and I did a couple sunset cruises that left out of Key West marina, and guess what else is there? Yup, Schooner Wharf. Schooner Wharf became our hang out place (pre-departure drink stop) before we left for the cruise. It happened to become our post cruise refilling station as well. What’s that real estate phrase again…Location Location Location.
An island institution since 1984, this eclectic open-air bar — located on the site of the old Singleton Shrimp factory — beckons tourists and locals with its unique blend of island charisma, delicious food, excellent live music and of course cold beverages. While we were there the SWINGIN’ HARPOON BLUES BAND was on stage rockin’ the place hard. They had a unbelievable 21 year old guitar player named Jamie, that was out of this world talented.
The Schooner Wharf was originally located on the Schooner Diamante, the bar moved ashore, where the top shelf liquor was kept in the top drawer of a filing cabinet! The bar has evolved into a very special place over the years. It has expanded into a neighboring building and added a second-floor deck with a beautiful view of the classic yachts of Key West’s Historic Seaport; available, like the bar’s dining room, for private parties.
Although it has become a favorite for many, the bar has never lost the rustic charm and warmth that made it the saloon of choice for many of Key West’s most famous names. With Mr. Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound studio located just a few yards away, I’m sure many of its musical ledgends have stopped by for a drink and grub.
Fresh stone crab claws, peel-and-eat shrimp, fresh-shucked oysters, and, of course, conch chowder and fritters, are among the local seafood delicacies on the menu in the galley. Chicken wings, eight-ounce burgers, and juicy steak sandwiches are always on hand for the land-lubber. Sadly we didn’t try any of the food, unless you count the lime after the tequila shot.
If you haven’t made your way off Duval Street and found Schooner Wharf yet, make it a priority on your next visit. You’ll fall in love just as I did.