We know UM students love a good party, so if you’re still wondering where to go when the sun goes down, don’t worry—here are a few more of our favorite nightlife destinations in the Keys.
Duval Street, Key West
Lined with well-known hangouts like Sloppy Joes, Rick’s Bar and Fat Tuesdays, Key West’s Duval Street is the place to be after-hours. The main stretch of street is only about a mile long, which makes bar hopping easy even when you bring that one friend who hates walking. Hang here for a night and you’re bound to see some live music, no dress code required (unlike in Miami).
Going “Out,” Key West
Key West boasts multiple gay and LGBTQ+ resorts with some of the best being Alexander’s Guesthouse and The Island House, According to Nomadic Boys, a travel blog run by a gay couple. Plus, Duval Street has an entire block dedicated to LGBTQ+ nightlife between Angela and Petronia Streets, and features a crosswalk that stays rainbow year-round.
SKARKLEY’S PUB AND GALLEY RESTAURANT, KEY LARGO
We won’t pretend the nightlife in Largo is as wild as Key West’s, but if you’re in this part of the Keys for a diving or fishing expedition, you may definitely want to kick back with a beer and some live music when you hop off the boat. Sharkley’s hits the spot, open from 7 a.m. to “late,” according to their website, and you can get an entire bucket of alcohol for $13, about the price of a regular cocktail in Miami.
FLORIDA KEYS BREWING COMPANY, ISLAMORADA
If wild night clubs aren’t your scene, or even if they are, Florida Keys Brewing Co. might be. Situated in Islamorada’s Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, this spot features a beer garden, tasting room and microbrewery with a colorful aesthetic. Their brews are also available for order online and at stores throughout the Keys and South Florida.
FULL MOON PARTIES AT MORADA BAY, ISLAMORADA, EDITOR PICK
It’s special section editor Andrea here to tell you that these full moon parties are probably my favorite Keys tradition.
My family and I went for Memorial Day in 2019, and the long weekend and full moon were a match made in heaven that all ages can enjoy. My cousin, 7, can vouch for that. By the end of the night, one of the guys from the Junkanoo band had him balanced over his shoulder while he continued to dance with the crowd.
As soon as you take your first steps past Morada Bay’s silver airstream onto the sand, music motions you to the inside of the café where bartenders are shaking up vodka drinks and margaritas. For adult guests, the liquor goes down like water. You’ll have to wait your turn to get one though, as the staff are mixing cocktails for more than 200 partygoers.
Once the moon casts its yellow shadow over the curvy palms and pink adirondacks, the party is in full swing and the DJ has the whole beach dancing.
Since you need a full moon for this party to pop off, it only happens once a month. If you’re hoping to plan your trip around one, mooninfo.org predicted the following dates for full moons in the Keys during the remainder of 2022: May 16, June 14, July 13, August 11, September 10, October 9, November 8 and December 7.
The drive from campus is about two hours, but planning ahead of time and picking a weekend full moon makes it worth it The beach café at Morada Bay is located on the bay side of mile marker 81.6 in Islamorada. Entry is $20, or an additional $10 for VIP, but we think the regular option is enough for a good time. By the end of the night, you’ll have danced along with a Bahamian Junkanoo band, watched a major firework show and had a few refreshing drinks.