Going green takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to Saint Patrick’s Day. If you have had a chance to celebrate this holiday in a big city like Boston then you might have some interesting stories to tell. Key West may not be a major city but this little island takes Saint Patrick’s Day very seriously. Recently I was able to visit two Irish pubs in town to find out more about how Key West goes green for Saint Patty’s.
HISTORY OF SAINT PATRICK
You might not be familiar with Saint Patrick but he was the most prominent patron saint of Ireland. The Irish community started observing the Roman Catholic feast day around the 9th or 10th century. Every March 17th there is a holiday in his honor and it has become a very popular cultural and religious celebration. “Perhaps the most well-known legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.” (Source). I am not sure who coined the idea to make the beer green or if that had some spiritual connection…
The most well known Irish pub in all the land (or at least Key West) is Irish Kevin’s located at 211 Duval Street “I Came, I Drank, I Don’t Remember” so you know it will be a fun yet less memorable time (see what I did there?). The pub was founded by non other than Irish Kevin in 1998. There is a full music schedule and their website boasts of eight singer songwriters who perform frequently at the restaurant. There is a stage cam that you can check out at any time by clicking here. Hailing from Ireland the owner became a bartender at age 14 and started playing guitar at age 15.
The bar is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. The kitchen is open from 12-12 as well. They have a great pub style menu featuring a nice selection of, you guessed it, seafood. I felt like a burger so I went with the Irish which comes topped with Coleslaw, Bacon and Cheddar cheese. For beer I went with a Crazy Lady Honey Blonde Ale which is brewed locally in Key West and I had to try a few of Kevin’s Lager (which was delicious). There are 26 beers on tap, lots of bottled options and some fun beachy cocktails so everyone will find their drink! Make sure you stop by this pub at
Another Irish Pub staple in Key West coins itself the “Southernmost Pint in the USA!” which is very clever. Located at 1900 Flagler Avenue, this grill and sports bar is known as “Key West’s Official Steelers Bar”. By the time we made it over to Shanna’s I needed a pick me up so I went with a Traditional Irish Coffee. They had a lot of good beer options like Guinness, Smithwick’s, Magners (Cider) and a bunch of great cocktails to boot. We ended up sharing some apps and entrees to soak up all the beer. The Corned Beef & Swiss on Rye comes with, “Tender slow simmered corned beef, aged Swiss cheese and golden mustard served hot on fresh rye bread.” (Source) Some of the best Corned Beef I have ever had! And we also tried the famous Smilin’ Bob’s Fish Dip which is, “A favorite of Florida residents and tourists alike. Made with wild Amberjack and Kingfish caught in the Florida Keys. A creamy texture with a rich smoked flavor. Dip, Carr’s crackers, & lemon. The perfect complement to a Lite beer!” (Source)
The annual Bar Stroll is in its 44th year! Founded in 1979 as the St. Patrick’s Day Bar None Suds Run which featured people running from one bar to the next chugging a beer. “It was an absolutely crazy race and everyone who actually ran in it blasted into a bar, chugged a beer, and then “purged” on the fly to the next joint. After a few years of guys and girls running and puking through an increasingly congested Old Town the event had to change to today’s format, a ‘stroll’.” (Source) This year’s Bar Stroll is featuring nine bars starting at the Southernmost Beach Cafe and ending at the Schooner Wharf Bar. For more information on the event times and info click here. Sláinte!