Local Spots Everywhere and in Key West, Florida


Local spots are my favorites and I try my best to support them wherever I am. The kind of places that are full of an owner’s pride and if you had to recreate them somewhere else, you couldn’t. Something about local shops drive local economies, but also important to me — local pride drives the culture of towns all over America, and it’s a pride I love to be around. If you have any recommendations for spots in your town, wherever you live, I’d love for you to share them in the comments section. I’ll do my best to get there when I’m in your neck of the woods. As for Key West, I love Hogfish, My Blue Heaven, and Pepe’s. Java also enjoyed all three places, and if you’ve got your dog, I’m sure they will, too. They’re very inviting like that.

33 comments

  1. chris says:

    Saltwater Cowboy’s in St. Augustine is a classic. Lots of cats hanging around there, too, if Java is into that.

    The Mandarin Hide is local to St. Petersburg. Not sure “if [they] had to recreate [it] somewhere else, [they] couldn’t,” but those gents make a mighty fine cocktail. Pride in their craft and outdoor seating are obvious bonuses.

  2. Joe says:

    Allgos in Worcester, Ma. The “Cheers” of Worcester. Drinks flow freely & “line em’ up” (shots) yelled irresponsibly. Can expect to find a few GRT at any given time there. And as Stokes can attest, things can get out of hand 🙂

  3. Bob says:

    Bill Smith’s Cafe in McKinney, TX doesn’t serve beer and they don’t have any cats either. But if you want great food, they’ve got plenty. Get there early, be polite, and leave your plastic at home; they only accept genuine American greenbacks.

  4. MattBH says:

    The Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer, Alaska is one of the best local dives I know.

    I’m also a huge fan of Cherry Tavern and B-Side – two of the quintessential East Village, NY dive bars.

  5. Paul says:

    Dont live there but If you’re ever around Hartville, Wyoming check out wyomings oldest bar, The Miners and Stockmans Bar. Lots of neat history on the walls and some very good chow and cold beers with good folks. Not far from Camp Gurnsey.

  6. Chris says:

    Saint Paul, MN
    Sandwich – Amce Deli on Snelling and St Clare. Honestly good sandwich for cheap.

    Beer store – The Ale Jail (it’s also part wine shop called Wine theif) great selection of micro and imports. Talk to mark he knows his beer.

    Men’s Goods – BlackBlue – Almost everything is made in the USA and they support many local Minnesota businesses like Duluth Pack. Definitely check them out

    If you want to indulge check out Grand Old Cremery – Seriously good ice cream and awesome waffle cones.

  7. David says:

    The Rusty Nail in Atlanta. There are two here, but I say go to the one on Buford Highway with the BBQ smoker shaped like a giant Colt revolver out front. Great food, cold beer, good folks.

  8. Gail says:

    I LOVE St. Augustine FL. There are so many favorites. The Conch House on Salt Run on a Sat. or Sunday afternoon watching the boats come in with their catch drinking a Margarita and listening to some local music.

    O’Steens is great for lunch for their famous fried shrimp and vegetables.

  9. Eric says:

    Jason, you haven’t mentioned before if you like beer, but on the off chance you do, The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME is an absolute necessity next time you’re in town.

    • jason says:

      This is by far the funniest comment I’ve seen. Thanks Eric. And a big thanks to everyone for taking time to share their favorite local spots. They’re all on my list now.

  10. Mike says:

    Jason, i just visited Glacier national park, on the west side is a place called Polebridge. The Polebridge Mercantile and The Northern Lights Saloon are 2 must visit places. Great food, cold beer and great atmosphere. a place i wont soon forget.

    In milwaukee WI, gotta hit Lake Front Brewery, take the brewery tour and sample some of Milwaukees finest beer, then have a great friday night fish fry..awesome.

  11. Brad says:

    Columbus, Ohio: Thurman’s and Katzinger’s. The best burger shop and Katzinger’s has ridiculously large deli sandwiches.

  12. Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall MI is a local favorite for beer, pizza, and interesting characters; on top of making some unique beer they do a lot of work raising money for the local parks and numerous other charitable causes.

  13. Phil C says:

    The C-View Inn + Mayer’s Tavern, Cape May NJ
    Cape May brings in some of the best seafood in the country, and these places are local haunts. The C-View also serves beer from Cape May Brewery, a local spot just getting its legs under it but turning out an exceptional brew. And not for nothing, but Cape May has turned out more than one GRT, including me. Hope it makes the cut!

  14. Christopher says:

    Next time you are on the coast of SC, check out Bubba’s Love Shak in Murrell’s Inlet or Pawleys Island Tavern! “home of shrimp, beer and blues!”

  15. samh says:

    Ralph’s Corner Bar (r.i.p) – Moorhead, MN
    The Anchor Bar – Superior, WI
    Frida’s West Glacier Bar – West Glacier, MT
    Haufbrau – Bozeman, MT

  16. David says:

    I forgot one of the best. Next time you’re in Miami, go to Corbett’s Sports Bar! Head south on US-1, Corbett’s is a hole-in-a-wall in a strip mall on the left just past 124th Street. If you go, talk to Ron and Marji if they are still there. They may still remember me and my buddy Hunter from our days at the U. Great burgers. Great wings. Great tasting beer that does not cost $10 for a miller light like it does on South Beach.

  17. Philip says:

    So many great places in the country, and they are so easy to miss when you’re just passing through. I’ll be sure to check these posts before i travel and see if I can’t find an out of the way spot to visit while I’m in town.

    Thanks!

  18. Chris Webb says:

    Great write-up. Cool to see Pepe’s made the list. My dad and current owner Allen Miller re-opened Pepe’s back in ’78.

  19. Andy Taylor says:

    Pepperjacks Bar and Grill
    Signal Mountain, TN, just a modern day Mayberry.

    Anywhere in St. Mary’s Georgia, it’s a take of Charleston SC and Savannah GA put into a one street town with a great bar on the harbor.

  20. Matthew says:

    In Richmond VA check out Joes Inn. Their happy hour from 3-6 is one of the best in town and the food there is pretty good too but the real draw is the 30 beers on tap.

  21. Vince says:

    Fort Collins, CO

    The Forge – I have no clue how to get there, but it’s a cash only beer pub where the brewers hang out

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