Captain Tony's Saloon
Favorite watering hole of such legends as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein and Jimmy Buffet, Captain Tony’s Saloon is not just a bar it is a piece of living history.
The saloon’s namesake, fishing boat captain, gunrunner, gambling casino operator and Mayor of Key West--the late Captain Tony Tarracino, was a larger than life character who was often described as a dropout from a Hemingway novel.
Overlooking the entrance is a preserved Grouper, that was caught by Capt. Tony. Common tales on the island is that if you stand with your back to it, throw a quarter over your head and into the mouth of the grouper, that you will have good luck until you leave Key West.
Originally built in 1851 as an ice-house that doubled as a morgue, then as a telegraph station. With it's most important communication being when the battleship Maine was destroyed in 1898, this was relayed via boat from Havana to Key West and then world-wide from here. Later it was a cigar factory, a bordello and of course a bar. The Navy forced it closed, after which it became a speakeasy, The Blind Pig, known for gambling, bootleg rum and women.
In the years prior to 1865, it was also the location of the " Hanging Tree " where 16 pirates and one woman were hanged.
Jimmy Buffett got his start in Key West and played here in the early 70's and was more often that not paid in Tequila! Buffett immortalized the place with his song " Last Mango in Paris ".
Capt Tony sold the bar in 1989 and would usually drop in on Thursdays, to greet fans and customers, until his death in November 2008.
Captain Tony’s Saloon is steeped in history. When you stop in for a cold one, remember you are drinking where legends have been drinking for decades.