By Dana Koplik, PubClub.com Correspondent
Key West – what a great way to bring in the New Year while pretending it’s summer. Grab a group of friends, book a beach cottage, head to Duval Street and let the games begin!
The great part about Key West is you don’t have to agonize over your evening plans or even book anything in advance (other than a room).
Here, there’s no need to pay a bar an outrageous amount of money ahead of time to be sure you get a “table,” because there is a huge party on Duval Street and everyone is on island time.
The best way to do Key West for New Year’s Eve is to arrive a couple of days early. And we’ll get to that in a moment.
NYE In Key West – The Drill: Every Thing You Need To Know
For NYE here’s the drill: After breakfast (okay, really it’s lunch) at a place like Louie’s Backyard and a few afternoon drinks at Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s Saloon, catch the sunset at Mallory Square.
This is where the party starts for the night. For it is at sunset where the real magic of Key West emerges, like an angel coming out of the clouds.
Key West is one of those magical places where one can see both the sunrise and sunset over the water and Mallory Square at sunset is where to spot to see the characters that make Key West so unique.
In addition to the entertainers there’s shopping and a historic sculpture garden. It is known as being a Key West “must see” and is truly incredible.
After that, it’s easy to get lost in the atmosphere that is Key West. Just wander up and down Duval Street like you’re lost in a Jimmy Buffett song and all will be fine.
There is a conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe’s, the Schooner Wharf bar (off Duval Street but right on the water) drops a wench and there is a high heel drop is at Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House. There are fireworks at the end of White Street Pier over Key West Harbor.
Admission and charges apply to Sloppy Joe’s and Bourbon Street Pub.
So be on Duval Street throughout the night and let New Year’s Eve just happen, Key West style. Any place is great, but most people squeeze into a breathing space in front of Sloppy Joe’s by midnight.
But we will not stop here, because New Year’s Eve in Key West is much more than just New Year’s Eve. It’s the days preceding and the day(s) after it that make Key West such a sensational party destination.
A great spot for dinner is the Conch Republic. Not only does it have great food and beautiful views of the marina but you have to walk to the end of Duval Street to get there so you really get to check out the town on the way.
Nothing gets a good night going more than a visit to Fat Tuesdays, where a blended “Hurricane” or “Miami Vice” ensures that you are truly on vacation.
Irish Kevin’s is the type of bar that keeps you coming back for more. With live music and entertainment this is a bar you wish you could have in your neighborhood. This bar feels like a pub and draws in a great crowd with lots of energy.
If you are looking to do some dancing head to Rick’s across the street. Rick’s has multiple levels and the patio upstairs really has a tropical vacation feel with great music. There’s an awesome little karaoke bar downstairs if you long to belt out a ballad. If you are looking for a more mellow atmosphere WillieT’s is your bar. You can drink up delicious mojitos while a guy plays his heart out on the guitar.
If you are looking for more than simple bar hopping sign up for the Scavenger Hunt Pub Crawl (at the Conch Republic). This scavenger hunt goes all over Duval Street and even includes 2-for-1 drinks at all the bars along the way!!
For some fun daytime activities check out the Southern Most Point in the Continental USA. There is monument built to resemble a buoy, which great for photo opportunities and a feeling that you are at the end of the world (or just 90 miles from Cuba).
For more beautiful pictures, book a boating/snorkeling adventure at the Hurrican Hole Harbor. Take a boat tour through the mangroves and tropical waters where you stop on a sand bar for some snorkeling and sun. When the excursion ends the delicious food begins.
Grab lunch right there on the harbor at the Waterfront Bar and Seafood Grill, where they serve up the fish that they caught that morning. If an excursion sounds like too much for you, cruise over to Dante’s for some fun in the sun. This restaurant and bar is around a large pool and is located at the Conch Harbor Marina, so the views are amazing.
If you like the sound of a restaurant with a view, go to the Schooner Wharf Bar and sit on the rooftop patio.
– KEY WEST NYE TIPS & WEATHER –
Top Tip: Sleep when you can. Seriously, here’s what it’s like in Key West: You go out the first night, think you overdid it a bit and plan to ease into the next day. So in the mid-morning you go to, say, Louie’s Backyard (because Buffett TOLD you so!) and, feeling a bit more lively, take a walk down Duval Street. Next thing you know, you’re in Sloppy Joe’s, then Captain Tony’s Saloon, then it’s time for sunset on Mallory Square…
Weather: Warm. Sunny and in the 60s-80s, humidity likely but far less than many other times of the year. Pack sunscreen.
Key West Bars: Here’s a guide to the Best Key West Bars.
Getting To Key West: You can fly into the Key West airport but it you have the time, go into Miami and make the Florida Keys Overseas Highway drive.