KEY WEST, FLORIDA
Sunny southernmost U.S. outpost boasts bohemian downtown haven, Duval Street, coolly reminiscent of New Orleans drunken Bourbon Street paradise. Sloppy Joe’s roadhouse bar, Captain Mario’s Seafood all-u-can-eat, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and Nicola’s Restaurant are local hangouts visited January ’08 while not watching beautiful sunsets on catamaran.
One block south of Duval in a former Pan Am terminal, KELLY’S CARIBBEAN BAR & GRILL, owned by Top Gun actress Kelly Mc Ginnis, is a multifarious brewpub within walking distance of Ernest Hemingway’s historic Bahaman-styled house. Its beautiful tropical outdoor deck, second floor Vaudeville Theatre, and overall white Victorian splendor overwhelm silver metal bar (made out of airplane scraps) serving homemade beers.
While flimsy, flat, phenol Southern Clipper Wheat lacked substance and scattered meager sour orange and tart fig across tepid malting, Key West Golden IPA brought mild woody Cascade hop bittering to tempered grapefruit-peach sashay. Best bet: easygoing Havana Red Ale, with its sweet honeyed tea opening clearing the way for fig-date souring, cherry puree dalliance, and port finish.