Southernmost City of Bodily Harm

raw barNews from the Conch Republic

[E]ntrepreneur Pat Croce became the new — and proud — owner of two waterfront watering holes in Key West.

The legendary Half Shell Raw Bar and its historic next-door neighbor Turtle Kraals on Thursday joined Croce’s growing Key West bar and restaurant empire that already includes Rum Barrel, Island Dogs, the Green Parrot Bar and Charlie Mac’s.  — KeysNews

This is good news for those of us who descend upon Key West on a regular basis.

It’s also rather heartwarming — Pat Croce has deep Philadelphia roots, which means he knows good food, great parties, and an edgy sense of humor that he has channeled into numerous successful  endeavors.  His impact on Key West thus far has been positive, and there’s no reason to think his new ventures will be anything but further triumphs.

(That noted, the beer at the Green Parrot still isn’t cold enough.)

The Raw Bar is one of our favorite places — Guido and I have made it our first stop for dinner every visit for years.  Usually we eat little more than a dozen oysters and a bowl of soup, but that’s all we need when we’re in KW party mode.   Well, that and a pitcher or two of beer.  Then stagger off for the night life.

The Half Shell’s collection of license plates that lines the walls isn’t going anywhere, but the restrooms will be completely remodeled and an underused staff lounge area will become a game room, Croce said….He is replacing the outdoor stage at Turtle Kraals with two bocce courts and adding a draft beer system to the popular Tower Bar that overlooks the bight.

I used to like Turtle Kraal, too, but for the last few visits we’ve been disappointed.  The damn place was getting upscale, the last thing I want when I visit KW.  I mean, if I can’t eat, drink, stand at the bar,  and visit the men’s room barefoot,  I might as well wear a tux.  So — bocce and drafts?  Bring it.

We probably won’t make it down until July — full report will follow.

In other KW news, the Hemingway House is under siege by Federal authorities worried about the way they’re handling their feline population.

Harry Truman

Harry Truman

The museum’s nine-year bid to keep the cats beyond the reach of the Department of Agriculture ended in failure this month. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the agency has the power to regulate the cats under the Animal Welfare Act, which applies to zoo and traveling circus animals, because the museum uses them in advertisements, sells cat-related merchandise online and makes them available to paying tourists.

In other words, the cats are a living, breathing exhibit and require a federal license. — NYTimes

Your government is worried about the welfare of some of the most pampered and celebrated cats in the world, but seems to have a problem addressing the proliferation of deadly weapons that in 2011 were involved in the deaths of at least 31,940 people.

In my next life, I’m coming back as a beer-drinking, oyster-eating, sun worshipping, bocce-playing KW cat.  In this life I’m just practicing.

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One Response to Southernmost City of Bodily Harm

  1. Fran G'Panni says:

    It’s all good, guys. He runs great establishments, and has a real good idea of what needs to change, and more important — what doesn’t. See ya in July!

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