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While it’s taken until recent years for this Florida Keys island to catch up to the cocktail renaissance happening elsewhere, the days of pre-fab sour mix and oxidized vermouth have been all but washed out to sea within the best Key West bars. Today, this southernmost U.S. island is as comfortable shaking up bespoke concoctions as it is dispensing frozen to-go piña coladas from open-air bars on devil-may-care Duval Street or the Last Call Bar at the tiny Key West airport.
The thing about Key West is that the destination is comfortable with its own simplicity, offering timeless things to do, delicious restaurants and relaxing beaches, all of which contributes to a culture that allows for the beer-and-a-shot revelry of old haunts like the Green Parrot or Sloppy Joe’s to co-exist with serious drink destinations like Point Five Lounge and the brand new General Horseplay. Old Town is still where the brunt of the action is, but while Duval remains the city’s designated drag for cruise ship crawlers and weekend warriors, its high rents have spawned a swathe of new spots on side streets like Fleming and Caroline.
Whether you’re looking for a casual stool from which to kick off your flip-flops and do a little margarita day-drinking, a low-key wine bar worthy of oenophile admiration or a sophisticated sunset perch to dive into a Hemingway daiquiri, our Key West list has got you covered.