The free-spirited Lauren Oed



Mary Ellen’s is simply described as a “neighborhood bar.” It offers six different artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, various soups and salads, frozen Irish coffee, draft beer (including PBR), canned beer (even Old Milwaukee) liquor, wine, and “the best French fries in town.” Christopher Shultz and co-owners Rob Sharp and Maria Renna hope to maintain what has become the new hangout for locals where the infamous Wax techno/rave bar was located two decades or so ago on Appelrouth Lane. There’s a walk-up food window right on the street (if you don’t want to go inside), and another one inside the bar. A word of advice. Your food purchases are separate from your bar purchases.

Lauren Oed, one of the bartenders working at Mary Ellen’s who was born in Melbourne Beach, Florida, lived there for 19 years before moving to Key West. “I did spend one year in Tallahassee, at FSU, for my freshmen year,” she said. “My first job in Key West was as a server at Willie T’s, and I worked at Cafe Sole’, Bagatelle, Little Room Jazz Club and at 2 Cents Restaurant for short periods, both serving and bartending.”

But for nine years, beginning in January 2005, she worked full-time at the beautiful and colorful Sunset Pier at Ocean Key Resort. “Many of these jobs were at the same time. I also worked at the Southernmost House, from ’06 to ’08, when Chris Shultz and David Sloan were throwing parties there.”

Lauren first came to Key West on a sporadic whim but stayed, “… for the friends, lifestyle and the work.”

Lauren enjoys doing yoga for which she is currently doing her yoga teacher training, paddle boarding, “eating and drinking well with good people,” and traveling, wasting no opportunity to get away to broaden her horizons and experience new opportunities. “In March 2014 I went back to Melbourne for a year, and I also worked in Delaware for a year at Hammerheads on Dewey Beach, serving and bartending.”

She spent six months in Hawaii, and internationally has visited Southeast Asia, Spain and Morocco with upcoming plans for a city to city hiking trip in Portugal.

“Sometimes I go with friends. Sometimes I travel alone.”

She has been in Key West since her latest jaunt last July, and these days can be found working at both Mary Ellen’s and the recently opened Tiki House on 430 Greene Street. You can catch her and her pretty smile behind the bar at Mary Ellen’s on Monday and Tuesdays from 6-10 p.m. and behind the bar at Tiki House Wednesday and Sunday, also from 6-10 p.m.

Lauren is always delightful and cheerful and her presence in the room is like a light. “What I like most about working and living in Key West are the amazing people, and the sense of community,” she said. “People here are open-minded to alternative living.” ¦

Mary Ellen’s Bar 420 Applerouth Lane 305- 916- 5816

Tiki House 430 Greene street

One response to “BARTENDER OF THE WEEK”

  1. rkonline says:

    Thank you so much Jalisa, so nice!!! kisses

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