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Drink in the Island Life at Lorelei

“Another perfect day, on this island town.” It was impossible to argue with the guitar-strumming duo who sang those words as the sunset over Lorelei Cabana Bar and Marina in Islamorada, Florida on this 76-degree May evening. My wife and I were stuffed from a fantastic dinner at the world-renowned yet refreshingly casual, ocean-side restaurant as the musicians crooned up on stage, but that didn’t stop us from devouring our frozen key lime pie. As we indulged, it occurred to us that the only way to improve on the accuracy of the song’s refrain would be to add the phrase: “at this perfect bar.” “Perfect” is a cliché, but spend an evening at Lorelei’s outdoor restaurant and you’ll quickly see why it’s the first word that comes to mind. You’ll also see why Lorelei, recently named one of the top five “after-fish restaurants” in the world, attracts folks from all over the planet. The restaurant feeds over 1,500 people throughout a busy day, with live music every night, a massive marina home to hundreds of boats and 33 fishing guides, and an ideal view of the sunset. But most importantly, Lorelei possesses a vibe all its own––a fun-loving fellowship shared by its staff and guests alike that embodies the spirit of the Florida Keys. “We have fun here,” said John Maloney, the restaurant’s general manager. “We get good musicians every night and we offer very affordable prices so people want coming back.” Maloney knows a thing or two about coming back. The Islamorada native has failed at retirement twice, returning several times to manage the restaurant he’s helped operate since 1989. Lorelei is the place the locals go––along with the tourists, of course––so when Maloughey walks along the west-facing deck, he’s stopped by handshakes, smiles, and fishing tales from friends. His down-to-earth nature is commonplace at the restaurant. He sat down at our table to shoot the breeze with my wife and me, sipping on lemonade while we enjoyed rum runners from the restaurant’s extensive happy hour cocktail list. “I still work about 80 hours a week, but when you love what you’re doing and you don’t necessarily need the money anymore it’s a lot different,” Maloney said. “We have a lot of staff who’ve been here for years, and that makes it nice.” Our waiter that night, Sean, was a classic Keys man. His home floats; a boat he shares with […]

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Tiki bars you’ll love in the Florida Keys

  I had a friend who was disappointed in the Florida Keys. He thought the drive down the Overseas Highway passed too many tacky commercial establishments spoiling the natural beauty. I understand. The Keys are an acquired taste, like beer. Fortunately (or not), I’ve acquired a taste for both, and one of the things I love about the Keys is where authentic tackiness meets postcard views. And that is at the Florida Keys tiki bar. Elsewhere, tiki bars hearken back to the 1950s romanticized view of Polynesian culture — carved wooden masks, hula-girl lamps, that sort of thing. In the Keys, it’s more of a chickee-bar or cabana-bar culture and it’s all about being outdoors and overlooking the water, particularly at sunset. Florida Keys tiki bars are some of the best places to eat fresh fish and fried anything. They are usually family-friendly because kids at an outdoor table can wiggle and make noise. And they are the epitome of the Keys attitude — sit back, relax, be entertained by fish snapping up breadcrumbs or the passing clouds.   Skippers Dockside, 528 Caribbean Drive, Key Largo Located two blocks off the Overseas Highway at M100, Skippers has a chicken building on an elevated deck with a postcard-like view of a broad canal. While you sip your rum drink or craft beer, you watch fishing charters and diving boats come and go. If you’re really lucky, you might see the African Queen, the actual boat from the 1951 Humphrey Bogart movie, steam by and toot its iconic horn. It’s moored a few boats down the canal from Skippers and you can stroll by and see it after you eat. And do eat. We had outstanding fish tacos and a yellowtail snapper sandwich. We’d love to come back and try the fish dip and conch fritters, which get good reviews. In addition to the expansive area under the tiki building, there are comfy chairs around sandpits and a large air-conditioned indoor area. Skippers Dockside website. Lorelei Cabana Bar and Restaurant, MM 82 Bayside, Islamorada For years, the big mermaid sign on US 1 at Mile Marker 82 in Islamorada, has said: Relax, you’re finally in the Keys. When people say “Florida Keys tiki bar,” lots of them are talking about Lorelei. Beyond the parking lots, Lorelei’s decks, chicken huts, palm trees, and sandy waterfront create an expansive and outstanding place to watch the sunset. Lorelei’s […]

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Lorelei Restaurant And Cabana Bar – Islamorada Waterfront Dining – Florida Keys

Enjoy fine dining inside or outside overlooking the marina and sunset beach. Their casual Lorelei Restaurant opens each night at 5 p.m. and continues serving until 10:30 p.m. The Lorelei Restaurant’s menu offers their customers a large choice of fresh seafood and great steaks. Lorelei’s “Family Menu” offers 7 complete meals for $15.95, served from opening to closing in the restaurant. Their chef prepares “Daily Blackboard Specials”, a listing of both appetizers and entrees that change on a day to day basis with entrees that start in price at $12.95. Their menu, of course, also features a special section for children. The Lorelei Restaurant is set up to accommodate parties of varying sizes. Their restaurant caters functions for both on and off the property as well as large functions, up to 300 people, on the Lorelei’s Beach. John Maloughney, The Lorelei’s general manager, can be contacted by e-mail or at their office number, to set up custom functions for groups of 20 people or larger. The Lorelei accepts all major credit cards, their dining rooms have designated smoking areas and the entire property is wheelchair accessible. Their dining room will accept reservations for parties of five or larger. Enjoy an evening at The Lorelei and find out why “The Lorelei is the pulse of Islamorada”. Marina and Fishing The Lorelei, situated in Islamorada, “The Sport Fishing Capital of the World”, offers it’s customers some of the best fishing guides in The Florida Keys. All of the Lorelei guides are licensed Captains. Their boats are in top condition and they will provide you with the best fishing equipment and bait. For a day of great fishing, all that is required of a customer is to bring their lunch. The backcountry offers not only fishing, but beautiful scenery found no where else in The United States, Bald Eagles, Roseate Spoon Bills and flocks of wild Flamingos… be sure to bring a camera. Offshore fishing trips are also available.

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