Wednesday morning, we got up not entirely ready to face the day. Matt’s parents were already out wandering around, since they’d gotten in much earlier than us the previous night. We picked up coffee from a crabby Russian girl at a place on Duval Street, and then walked down to Mallory Square to meet them for an early lunch at El Meson de Pepe. Despite it not being vegetarian-friendly at all (what Cuban place is?), I still like it a lot, and was happy with my plantain-nacho-and-capirinha brunch.
After eating, we went to see more of Mallory Square, and hang out with the chickens.
There was a big ship in port, so the shops in the area were fairly busy. We wandered around them for a while, and then headed farther down Duval to see some more shops. As we passed La Concha (which is now a Crowne Plaza, apparently?), I remembered something I’d read on a travel forum about a rooftop bar and overlook. We decided to go in and check it out.
The bar wasn’t open til 4, but the patio was still unlocked, and there were a few people out there at a table. The view was excellent.
Facing Mallory Square:
The hallways of the hotel are lined with historic photos of Key West and its many celebrity visitors, too. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Since it had been at least an hour since we’d had a cocktail, we stopped in to Willie T’s. I was very excited to be back there, because we’d been there with a group of five on our first visit, but it was closed for remodeling when Matt and I were there for our pre-honeymoon. We grabbed a little table near the tiny stage, and got a round of mojitos.
I tried to find the dollar bill we’d posted on the wall earlier, too, but I couldn’t remember exactly where it was (not surprisingly). There was a guy named Zach playing the guitar and making terrible jokes on stage (including a song about rhyming with Olive, which I’ll probably never forget).
Once we were done there, we walked back to the hotel. My father-in-law wanted to nap, and Matt and I wanted to go for a swim. We got a couple mojitos at the bar and got in the pool. I wouldn’t really call what we did ‘swimming’, though… mostly we floated around with pool noodles for an hour and occasionally had a sip of our drinks. It was awesome. Judy joined us for a while, sitting on the edge of the pool with her feet in the water. (Someday I’ll convince her to actually come in!)
After a shower and preparing a room drink, we all headed back down towards Sloppy Joe’s, stopping to see the Mile Zero marker along the way.
We had drinks and a couple of appetizers at Sloppy Joe’s (including very delicious cheese arepas), then headed in the direction of the wharf. We had reservations on the Jolly II Rover, which I’d booked because we wanted to take them on the Schooner Western Union, but it was being remodeled. This schooner came highly recommended, though, so it seemed like a good replacement. Plus it has red sails!
It’s a smaller boat than the Western Union, so the crowd was smaller, too. Also, it’s BYOB, which means it’s cheaper. We brought a bottle of Filipino rum and some mixers, and they supplied ice, water, and plastic cups. I liked that arrangement a lot.
Captain Rio (really!) was at the helm, and the ship’s owner also happened to be aboard. We headed out about 6pm, and sailed past Mallory Square, which was filling up for the sunset celebration as it does every night.
It was the absolute perfect night to be out sailing. There wasn’t very much wind close to sunset, but there was enough that we could maneuver into a good position without having to use the engine. While we were waiting for sunset, the crew circled around talking to everyone, and we heard a lot of fascinating stories about their jobs and sailing experience. The captain told us all about his spearfishing adventures in the Tortugas, and the ship’s owner talked about why he decided to buy it. We were so envious.
Sunset was fantastic, too. They explained to everyone about the green flash, and one guy on board SWORE he saw it. There was kind of a white flash, but definitely not a green one. (He was probably drinking Filipino rum, too.)
Post-sunset, we sailed back toward the wharf, much closer to Mallory Square this time. Once we got to one of the narrow streets lined with condos and hotels, they fired the ship’s cannon down the street just to make it echo like crazy. It was fantastic.
We docked around 8pm, and headed back down toward the main part of town for dinner. We’d decided on Kelly’s, since Matt and I liked it so much the first time around. The place was not very crowded at all, and we had a nice table out on their giant patio. The vegetarian offerings weren’t that great, but Matt loved his fried chicken and the house beers were good. The in-laws seemed pleased as well.
After dinner, we walked a block or so to the Green Parrot, one of the other oldtimey bars in Key West. It was apparently also one of the few crowded places, which was kind of shocking. We found a small table along a rail and quickly discovered why it was so busy: they have open ukelele jams on Wednesday. There was a group up on stage leading the crowd, and a whole bunch of people with ukeleles down below following along. They were even selling ukeleles, should you wish to just pick one up and jump in. I loved it.
I had never realized that their ceiling was a giant parachute, either:
Matt’s parents headed out after a drink, and Matt and I decided to stick around a bit longer. It started to clear out after the ukelele jam, so we grabbed spots at the bar and hung out. Round about 12:30, we decided it was time to head back so we wouldn’t feel quite so unpleasant the next morning.