30813 Watson Blvd, Big Pine Key
Whenever you get ready to do a destination trip many people ring in with the “you have to go here, you have to go here.” The Key West destination was no different and you start to take in spots that different people bring up again and again. The No Name Pub was one of these, “if you can find it.”
Back before GPS and internet you could imagine how these out of the way eatery was going to be an adventure to find, it is off the beat and track to say the least. Now you can put the coordinates in the smart phone and have it take you to the front door – SORT OF – Tip number one, when you get off the highway you are going to be faced immediately with a fork in the road and the phone had no inspiration for this decision. STAY TO THE RIGHT. You may then follow the directions, it takes about 8 minutes from there to get to no name, weaving in and out of a lower scale community.
Cold Beer – delightful. The folks inside are a fifty fifty mix of locals who call this their watering hole, and tourists who have been told by friends to drop on by. The place has a varied history, it was a general store, a brothel and then the bar. Today it is decorated with one dollar bills with people sending messages to fellow travelers and loved once across gentle Georges nose.
The menu has a nice variety, you can get pizza burgers and beer or go for some local catch and have the fish sandwich.
If you are looking for a diversion before you hit the KW madness this stop breaks up the trip nicely.
The history of the No Name Pub goes back to 1931 when we were a general store and bait and tackle shop. We remained that way until 1936 when the owners added a small room on to the main structure which became a restaurant and the Pub was born.
Our early customers included people from all walks of life, world travelers that arrived from the mainland via ferry and of course, the local Fisherman. The late 1930s brought an interesting twist to No Name Pub history. In an effort to increase business, the upstairs storage room was converted into a Brothel. While popular with many, the venture failed after several years as the fisherman were reported to be better looking than the ladies.
The 1940s saw the end of the Brothel and beginning of a real Keys landmark. Travelers (we had few tourists back then) and locals alike began to discover this quirky out of the way place. The ladies would do their shopping in the general store as the men would browse the bait and tackle shop, then kick back and have a beer and sandwich in our eatery.
By the mid 1950s, the general store and bait and tackle shop closed and the Pub became 100% bar and restaurant. No Name was added to the Pub name and we became the No Name Pub … and we quickly became a Keys hangout.
Our honky tonk atmosphere of beer drinking, shooting pool and great food became known from Miami to Key West . Crowds often grew so large that the interior would get so full of smoke and crowded, that customers would spill out into the backyard where dice, crap and card games would eventually break out. The old timers say the place never got raided because the Sheriff ran the dice games.
1960 brought about another addition for the better to the Pub. It was during this era that our famous pizza was born. Two great cooks from Italy brought their recipe with them when they worked here. Over 50 years later, we still use the same great recipe. When the cooks left they wrote the recipe on the kitchen wall so we would never forget.
The 1970’s and 80’s became a rowdy time of our history. Jimmy Buffett’s “Why don’t we get drunk and screw” played on the juke box while people would drink, eat and dance to excess in the Pub. There was a lot of illegal money passing through the Keys back then and everyone loved to spend it. They had so much money in fact they started hanging it on our walls; and another tradition was born.
As the new millennium arrived the rowdies grew up and the No Name Pub became a place once again where people from all walks of life could enjoy great food, cold beer and good conversation. Our juke box is gone and the walls are covered with a few more dollar bills and we are one of the last great places with that old Florida Keys atmosphere. “A nice place if you can find it.”