Friday, March 1, 2013

Handy Bars in Marathon

Enjoying stone crab claws at Pincer's Perch
     For sailors it's always befitting to discover  a handy bar within dinghying distance of the boat's mooring in a harbor. Boot Key Harbor is unsurpassed in the number of nearby handy bars. Perhaps this sober reality reflects the predilection of many who call Boot Key Harbor home. One of our favorite haunts Pincer's Perch is on the bayside across the Overseas Highway at mile marker 47. The name Pincer comes from the number of stone crab claws (the record is 1875 in one day) that are served there and stone crab claws just happen to be their specialty appetizer. Joe and I also enjoy the tranquilizing, turquoise panorama of Florida Bay from the second story open air raw bar. The combination of the view, a few claws and a  cocktail before sunset can be spellbinding.
Porky's Bayside's quirky Keys decor
     Since our arrival we've discovered a few other watering holes within biking distance along the Overseas Highway that cater to the fraternal happy hour amongst cruisers. One being Porky's Bayside near the Seven Mile Bridge and the Sunset Grill which offers the best unadulterated view of the sunset on the island. Porky's quirky decor is distinctly a middle Keys design. On first impression the bay front bar with its corrugated roof has the appearance of a fort fashioned with weathered wooden crates by a crew of kids. The roof is supported by exposed two by fours that have been plastered with autographed one dollar bills by visiting "plastered" patrons. The weathered wooden floorboards have a distinctive pitch.                                                                   
Happy hour at Porky's Bayside
    Kind of makes you wonder if you've already had too much to drink even before taking a seat at the bar. Porky's is definitely our favorite with its barbecued pork sliders for $5.00 and excellent nachos. I think the fact that someone built the bar so that the lone tree on the property was incorporated into the actual structure was the deciding factor for me. According to legend, Porky's was also a favorite of Earnest Hemingway and Elizabeth Taylor. 

The pool and tiki at the Sunset Grille
      We also enjoy the Sunset Grille next to the Seven Mile Bridge on the oceanside. This bar and restaurant are decidedly more upscale than others with its crafted Chickee style building on the water and poolside bar. There's a heated salt water pool where a weary bike rider can take a dip and simultaneously sip a frosty Pain Killer rum drink while enjoying the view of the Seven Mile Bridge. It also offers a great place to watch the sunset over Hawk Channel.


     Another enjoyable establishment is Burdines at the entrance to Boot Key Harbor. We occasionally fire up the dinghy and motor through the old bascule bridge to Burdines dinghy dock for lunch. It can also be reached by bicycle and the food is good especially their secret fries recipe. So far I've sampled the stone crab bisque and the conch chowder. Both were excellent. 

     Ok, just to clue you in, we actually frequent these places only once or twice a week. Most of the time we're busy with other activities that are organized for cruisers in the harbor. Yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, splicing classes, marine power energy management seminars, pine needle basket making classes, balloon animal demonstrations, music jams, sterling silver jewelry making and the list goes on. This week Joe and I began building chaps for our dinghy. Chaps for a dinghy...sounds like an article from a smutty magazine doesn't it? If you're curious about "chaps" tune in to the upcoming blog and I'll have a better explanation for this one.

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