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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:25 pm 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
Keys off South Florida have two out of the top 15-20 rum bars in the country. With the unsubtle naming that seems to occur down there, they are Rum Bar (aka Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn) on Key West, and Rumbar on Key Biscayne. Anyone know the fate of either. I assume that Rumbar is more likely safe, since it is in a big building on the less hit eastern side. However it is low and near the water, so I was wondering. As hard as Key West got hit, I am more worried about Rum Bar, as well as the equally subtly named Key West Distillery and Key West Legal Distillery, along with the more distinctively named Papa's Pilar. Thanks for any info.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Kere
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No idea about Rumbar, but as for the Rum Bar and The Speakeasy Inn, as of about 5 hours ago, there's still been no word. So I guess the short answer is no. All the employees have checked in and seem to be safe and anxious to come back.
However, I heard La Te Da next door came through with minimal damage as did the Hemingway House, which apparently was the biggest concern.
I sent Bahama Bob ( former bartender and rum God ) a text message yesterday but haven't heard back.
Fingers crossed.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:58 pm 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
Tiki Bloated wrote:
No idea about Rumbar, but as for the Rum Bar and The Speakeasy Inn, as of about 5 hours ago, there's still been no word. So I guess the short answer is no. All the employees have checked in and seem to be safe and anxious to come back.
However, I heard La Te Da next door came through with minimal damage as did the Hemingway House, which apparently was the biggest concern.
I sent Bahama Bob ( former bartender and rum God ) a text message yesterday but haven't heard back.
Fingers crossed.

Thanks for the info. I've been following a few mutual friends of Bahama Bob on Facebook, and heard just a note that someone said Bob and Marta are okay. Nothing certain, though, and I realize that the fate of the building (or even being able to go take a look under the circs) is on no one's front burner.
Thaks again.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
It appears that Bahama Bob and several others are on their way to Colorado for the funeral of a friend. Unfortunate for Bob and the rest of the group, and even sadder for their friend who passed too young, but at least it appears that they all got out of the Keys okay.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:12 pm 
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Bob posts on Facebook that he and Marta and various friends all came through well, and Key West was largely spared from major damage. The boat on which they live came through with almost no damage, and most important of all, the large collection of great rums on the boat is intact. Not A Single Bottle is Broken (although a few seem to have been depleted in post-crisis recovery gatherings with friends).


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:22 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Fellow Moai
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Jill at the Rum Bar posted a pic on FB and said she was serving.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
Rum Bar (at the Speakeasy) is back in operation. Rumbar at the Ritz Carlton appears to have weathered the storm easily, along with the rest of Key Biscayne. All three Key West distilleries seem to be in good shape. Great sigh of relief for those of us with a Key West frame of mind, even if we are stuck elsewhere.
chiwito


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:28 pm 
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Honui Moai
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we are going to key west in december!

I didnt even know they had distilleries or of the Rum bar!

Oh joy! What other secrets must lie there I am unaware of!!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:04 am 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
BlondDi wrote:
we are going to key west in december!

I didnt even know they had distilleries or of the Rum bar!

Oh joy! What other secrets must lie there I am unaware of!!


To start, there are three distilleries in Key West, all with tasting rooms:
1. Key West Distillery
2. Key West's First Legal Distillery
3. Papa's Pilar

They are small, so the tours are short and informal. I haven't been to Papa's Pilar (it opened shortly afrter my last trip) but I suspect it is the best of the three. The owner, Carlton Grooms, is a great guy, and if Bahama Bob Leonard is around when you are there you will be in for a fantastic time and will learn more about great rums than you can absorb.

The Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn is one of the top rum bars in the country. Well curated selection of about 250 rums, and if Chad (hope I remember his name right) is still there he makes great cocktails and knows his stuff. The other bartender is more ordinary, but she makes a solid drink and the atmosphere is all fun. The Rum Bar is on the southern part of Doral, well south of the main tourist bars with all the music, so I used to love to stop there on the way "home" to the Casa Marina each night. I recommend the same to you if you stay anywhere on the south side of old town. Also, I hope they still hold "rum church" on Sunday morning. When I was there it was a gathering of all the rum aficionados in town, and a lot of fun to learn from them.

If you are driving down from the Miami/Fort Liquordale area, you are undoubtedly already locked in to visiting the Mai Kai at least once on the way. In the event that you happen to be as much of a rum geek as I am, I would check whether Rumbar at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne is still open. Not as awesome as the Rum Bar in Key West, but still a great rum selection and a very classy atmosphere; looking like a place where Bogart or one of his characters would meet Hemingway. The lead bartender (don't remember his name but recognizable by his Jamaican accent) is knowledgeable about rum. Can't vouch for the rest of the staff.

Hope that helps. My wife and I had some favorite places in the upper keys where we used to like to stop on the drive down, but most of them fell down last month. I haven't heard, however, whether Alabama Jack's is in good shape. If so, it is worth a taking the slightly longer route from the mainland into the keys to stop there.

Chiwito


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:57 pm 
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Location: Pacific Island of Alameda
Rum Runner bar at the Gates Hotel, isn't much compared to serious rum palaces like the two above, but for a hotel pool bar it is a nice hangout with fun bartenders, and about 35 rums. I enjoyed it a lot, and it is certainly hidden whether or not it counts as a gem.

Our two favorite restaurants on Key West (actually one is on Sunset Key but only accessible by free water shuttle from Key West) are Latitudes at Sunset Key and Louie's Back Yard. The former is affiliated with the Westin resort at the north end of the tourist district (just off Duval). One parks, with validation, at the Westin, then takes a free boat shuttle from just behind the hotel. Nice ride to a place with good food and service and a great view. Even better food and service, and almost as great a view, can be had at Louie's. Good all around. Their on-the-water outdoor bar, called the Afterdeck, is a great late night hangout. None of the live music found in most Key West bars, but great view and a decent selection of cocktails. Late at night it is an industry hangout; many employees from bars that close earlier decompress at the Afterdeck. So do many of their customers (again, when we stay at hotels on the south coast of Old Town, it is the next destination on the walk home after Rum Bar). During the week of our almost annual pilgrimage, during the Parrothead convention in November, it is very much an after hours hangout for all the trop rock musicians finishing their sets at the northern clubs. The special cachet among Parrotheads and trop rock community may in part be that in the seventies one of the musicians who hung out there was Jimmy Buffett, who references the bar in his song Trying to Reason with the Hurricane Season.

For all the classic Key West bars who have live music most nights all year around, you may already know more than I do. No hidden gems, but my favorites include Smokin' Tuna, Conch Republic, Green Parrot, Hog's Breath, Schooner Wharf, Captain Tony's, and Sloppy Joe's.

The view from the lighthouse is awesome. Well worth the admission and the climb. Also, the closest free parking to the Hemingway House, if business is slow and they let you stay in the lot after touring the lighthouse.

I'd wish you a great vacation there, but my imagination is much too limited to picture any way not to have a great time in Key West.

Chiwito


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