Captain Tony’s Saloon Key West

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Captain Tony’s Saloon Key West

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Captain Tony’s Saloon

Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West, Florida, is a storied bar steeped in history and character, making it one of the most iconic establishments in the Conch Republic. Located at 428 Greene Street, this legendary watering hole has been serving locals and tourists alike since 1851, when it first opened its doors as an icehouse. Over the years, it has been a speakeasy, a cigar factory, a bordello, and even a morgue, contributing to its colorful and somewhat eerie past.

The saloon’s most famous incarnation began in 1958 when Tony Tarracino, a charismatic former charter boat captain, gambler, and politician, purchased the bar and renamed it Captain Tony’s Saloon. Captain Tony, as he was affectionately known, became a beloved local figure, known for his larger-than-life personality and tales of adventure. His presence imbued the saloon with an enduring charm and a sense of authenticity that continues to draw crowds.

Visiting Captain Tony’s Saloon

Walking into Captain Tony’s Saloon is like stepping back in time. The rustic interior is filled with memorabilia, including signed dollar bills stapled to the ceiling, bras hanging from the rafters, and license plates from all over the country. The walls are adorned with photographs, newspaper clippings, and artifacts that chronicle the bar’s rich history and its famous patrons. Legends like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffett have all frequented the saloon, adding to its allure. In fact, Buffett immortalized the bar in his song “Last Mango in Paris,” further cementing its place in pop culture.

One of the most intriguing features of Captain Tony’s Saloon is the tree that grows through the roof. Known as the “Hanging Tree,” it is a relic from the building’s days as a morgue, when it was used for public hangings in the 19th century. Today, the tree serves as a macabre yet fascinating centerpiece, contributing to the saloon’s unique atmosphere.

The bar at Captain Tony’s offers a wide selection of drinks, from ice-cold beers to tropical cocktails. The signature drink, the “Pirate Punch,” is a must-try for visitors, combining a mix of rum and fruit juices for a refreshing taste of the tropics. The saloon often hosts live music, with local bands and musicians providing a lively backdrop for an evening of fun and revelry.

History

Captain Tony’s Saloon is not just a place to drink; it is a hub of local culture and history. The saloon frequently hosts events, from karaoke nights and open mic sessions to charity fundraisers and themed parties. It is a place where both locals and tourists come together to share stories, enjoy live music, and soak up the unique ambiance that defines Key West.

Captain Tony’s larger-than-life persona continues to influence the bar, even after his passing in 2008. His legacy is preserved in the countless stories told by bartenders and patrons alike, ensuring that his spirit lives on in every corner of the saloon.

Conclusion

In essence, Captain Tony’s Saloon is more than just a bar; it is a living museum of Key West’s colorful past and a testament to its free-spirited present. Its combination of history, culture, and lively entertainment makes it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Key West. Whether you are a history buff, a music lover, or just in search of a good drink and great company, Captain Tony’s Saloon offers an unforgettable slice of island life.

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