TropRock Tunes In Marathon
There’s a bar that’s just not by the dock, it actually is the dock.
It has doors that don’t lock – as well as a few that do – and there’s music not just playing on the radio, but also on the stage.
And, like Trop/Rock artist Eric Stone’s song says it’s “Somewhere South of Somewhere.” Mentally, anyway.
It’s Dockside Tropical Cafe in Marathon, FL., which is one of the small towns along US 1 – otherwise known as the Overseas Highway – in the Florida Keys, 50 miles from Key West.
Long one of the most popular bars in the Keys for local boaters, it has reopened under new ownership and features drink recipes from the Caribbean, solid food and live music every day and night.
Oh, and a Happy Hour with $3 beers, among other specials (M-F, 3-6:30). The latter is very important here in the Florida Keys.
It is owned by Stone himself, who often plays at the bar. Stone has played at beaches all over the world and is a fixture at boat shows in the USA. Together with wife Kim Stone-Hess, he’s created basically a home bar for his mostly original music.
“Other than the boat shows, I wanted to get away from being on the road,” Stone said. “Dockside Tropical Cafe provides me with a regular place to play that doesn’t require any traveling.”
Dockside is just a stone’s throw from the Stones’ apartment in Marathon.
All the Lower Keys locals are thrilled to have “their” bar back after it closed in December of 2012. The place had fallen into pretty bad shape – as well as practically into the marina – but it now sports a beautiful new bar, fully stocked with several rums, tequilas, vodkas, bourbons and whatever else you may want to consume.
It also has 15 beers on tap – many of them craft brews – poured from taps that serve them at around 30 degrees. The couple dozen bottled choices are keeps on ice in a cooler, so they are literally the definition of “ice cold beers.”
Since both Kim and Eric have spent a lot of time in the British Virgin Islands, their bar features the most famous drinks from the bars of the BVIs – Bomba’s Punch, the Bushwacker and the legendary Pain Killer from the Soggy Dollar Bar.
Dockside Tropical Cafe is casual, the kind of place where you are overdressed if you wear shoes instead of flip flops and where you open a bar tab with your first name. It’s worth leaving your boat for, as well as Highway 1. In fact, Dockside rocks so much it’s much less of a stop to the way to Key West but an acutal destination.
Stone even wrote a new song about his bar, and here’s one of the lyrics: “It’s 5 o’clock, so let’s rock the dock at Dockside Tropical Cafe!”
The menu is simple, but good. The blackened fish sandwich is, in PubClub.com’s opinion, the star of the show; be sure and get it with the homemade chips. It’s $12.99. Burgers start at a reasonable $7.99 for quarter-pounder and there’s also a half-pound burger and whopping full pounder.
So pull up a chair on the dock, which is literally right over the water, and enjoy the tropics with an ice cold beer, drinks from the BVIs, lunch or dinner and live topical music.
Directions: Dockside Tropical Cafe is located in Sombrero Marina. Off US1, turn at the Publix (there’s a sign for Sombrero Beach) and make a right at the first street, which is Sombrero Road. The bar is less than a half a mile on the right. And right on the water.
Address: 35 Sombrero Road, Marathon, FL