Key West Florida Weekly

OFF OFF DUVAL

Hungry? Order the refreshing chicken salad at Blue Heaven. FLORIDA WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

Hungry? Order the refreshing chicken salad at Blue Heaven. FLORIDA WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

The most traveled and visible street in Key West is only the beginning, the surface, of what the town has to offer.

It’s a fun place to party.

But ask locals about their favorite spots or stroll through quiet neighborhoods and down alleyways off Duval, and you’ll begin to dive deeper into the quieter, more diverse, and less readily apparent offerings.

Here are seven spots you might not see at first glance.

Blue Heaven, 729 Thomas St., Key West. 305-296-0218 or www.blueheavenkw.com. This restaurant has been a Bahama Village mainstay for decades, with chickens and cats often scurrying about the funky open-air space. But the food? The menu seldom changes — residents and visitors return year after year to savor blueberry pancakes, Jamaican jerk chicken, and other menu items that have become classics. The chicken salad offers a great way to cool down on a warm day, with tender bits of chicken tossed in a creamy dressing and served atop arugula that’s dressed with a cider vinaigrette.

Fresh seafood and more are available at Poké in the Rear, at 504 Angela St. COURTESY PHOTO

Fresh seafood and more are available at Poké in the Rear, at 504 Angela St. COURTESY PHOTO

Cuban Coffee Queen, 284 Margaret St. 305-292-4747; www.cubancoffeequeen.com. The strong Cuban coffee at this hole in the wall also is rich in Key West heritage. A café con leche paired with a classic Cuban sandwich or some Havana rice and beans will keep you going long into a Key West night. Might as well fuel up!

Key West Island Bookstore, 513 Fleming St. 305-294-2904; www.Keywestislandbooks.com. This decades-old boutique bookstore offers a surprisingly varied wealth of current and used titles, from bestsellers to rare titles. Often open late, it’s an inviting place to browse the crowded stacks.

Little Pearl, 632 Olivia St. 305-204- 4762; www.littlepearlkeywest.com. Nestled in the heart of Old Town Key West and away from the bustling downtown streets, this is an excellent spot for fresh local catch and innovative cuisine with a tropical twist. It’s new, and it’s hot. Reservations are required.

Off the Hook Bar & Grill, 920 Caroline St. 305-741-7980; www.offthehookkeywest.com. Enjoy fresh local seafood, plus burgers and sandwiches, as well as pizza and vegetarian and vegan options at Off the Hook. They offer a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. Dine inside or out. You can step into the pub and catch a game, too.

Poké in the Rear, 504 Angela St. 786-847-3300; www.pokeintherear.com. Fresh fish is the star at Poké in the Rear, with poké bowls, but you’ll also want to check out the Maya — crispy chicken thighs tossed in a orange-sesame sauce over rice, garnished with scallions. They offer bar and courtyard seating.

The Tipsy Rooster Liquor Store and Bar, 1325 Simonton St. 305-295- 5287; www.tipsyroosterkw.com. You can have a drink at the bar here on your way downtown or stop off on a rum run for liquor to enjoy after the bars have closed. Enjoy live music from local musicians every day from 1 to 4 p.m. and each evening from 8 to 11 p.m. ¦

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