August 6, 2009
Of all the many fundraising events held on our little island, few are as all out crazy as the annual Battle of the Bars which is held at the height of summer each year along Lazy Lane at the Schooner Wharf Bar in the Key West Bight.
The competition, designed, by Evalena who owns the bar, pits 7 man teams from the many bars in town against each other as they navigate a crazy obstacle course designed around the type of activities they might perform at their respective bars.
The competition is tight and bragging rights are a big deal to the 39 teams that were entered this year.
The course begins with a bartender who prepares a Margarita, which is given to a waitress who navigates obstacles before delivering it to a “customer” who must drink it before a bar back races the empty cup to a trash can and then has to separate some recyclables then roll a keg some distance before tapping it, then 7 beers are poured which the waitress delivers after walking on a balance beam to her teammates who must each down their beer ending the completion. The whole thing is timed and the fastest teams move on to the next round.
Bar Wars Video
All the money raised; and last year they cleared over $27,000 is donated to local charities which this year included the SPCA and Easter Seals. The service industry takes the whole thing very seriously in both the competition and the let’s party aspect of the event. Kathy & I had never been to see it and headed down last Sunday to watch some of the antics. It was brutally hot , but it didn’t seem to bother the hundreds of participants who seemed content to cool off with cold libations.
Raw Bar Rowdies
We watched a few rounds before deciding to seek out cooler options and decided to head downtown and play tourist. We toured the Clinton Square mall next to Mallory Square then took advantage of the free for locals deal at the Key West Aquarium.
The Aquarium is the oldest tourist attraction in town and features a variety of sea creatures and fish in small displays for tourists to enjoy. There is still an old Reef Relief display there that I created about 15 years ago and it actually still looks halfway decent, if somewhat faded. There were a surprising number of locals taking advantage of the free admission and we saw a number of friends there, which seemed a little strange.
Maddox, Caroline & Josh
We next took in a late afternoon movie at the Tropic Cinema then headed over to have dinner at the Rum Barrel another place that neither of us had visited previously. They had delicious horseradish mashed potatoes. When we headed back by the Schooner Wharf Bar, the Bar Wars were still going, over 7 hours after starting- a long drunken day to be sure. The Raw Bar Rowdies of the Half Shell Raw Bar won for the second year in a row.