Bar Review: The Porch (Key West, FL)

Bar Review of The Porch in Key West, FL

When you travel to Key West and you end up in the mood for beer, your options are understandably limited. Key West is a cocktail town, overflowing with bright tropical drinks, margaritas, mojitos and enough frozen rum drinks to leave you with brain freeze for a year. I had been to Key West a few times prior to my most recent trip and never gave it much thought, as I drank mostly cocktails there as well. I might have a beer here or there, but there were no good beer destinations to draw me in. In fact, one year they did open a World of Beer there, which always has a great draught selection at all of their locations, and I did make a visit there. Unfortunately, by the time I went back the next year they had already closed. Again, it’s not a beer town. So this trip I decided to challenge myself to find the best beer spots on the island no matter what,…

porch2

…And that’s when I found The Porch. A relatively new establishment (opened in 2010), this bar has a prime location right on the corner of Caroline St. and Duval St., but is very easy to miss because it is located in an old Victorian house (the Porter Mansion) that is a bit set back from the curb with a lot of trees/plants shrouding it. When you walk up the stairs the name make more sense, as the porch of this old building is quite large, wrapping around and making a great shaded sitting area for patrons. Once inside the house you have to turn left to get to The Porch bar, as the room on the right is a vintage craft-cocktail bar (Caroline’s Other Side) that is only open after 5pm. (As a sidenote, this craft cocktail bar was one of the best on the island as well). The bar itself isn’t that big, but does have two rooms and a “locals” feel. They have 17 beers on draught (all craft) and an excellent bottle selection with a lot of hard-to-find items. The Porch is a true beer bar, with no food and no hard alcohol. The overall ambiance of the place is just flat-out cool, sort of like they’re doing what they want and don’t care that much what you think, but thankfully what they want is to have a great craft beer bar, so it all works.

porch3

Much like a lot of Key West, this place was full of characters and often dogs (which I love). You felt like you could settle right in for a while if you wanted a reprieve from the heat, shopping, decadent food, street performers, cigars, water-sports and the endless party that Key West is. I think that’s what this island needed. The Porch isn’t a place you will always be in the mood for, but when you are in the mood you’ll be so glad it’s there. I can assure you that I pulled out my magnifying glass and did my best Jessica Fletcher impersonation while investigating the beer scene in Key West, and I believe this is the best straight-up beer bar, period.

jessicafletcher