But I’m on vacation, and I’m refusing to let one distraction ruin my two-day visit to Key West. Back in 2000, I made three big mistakes on my 28-state road trip: (1) only spending one night in Key West, (2) staying at the cheapest place in town — which is a run-down youth hostel, and (3) having to catch a plane out of Miami the next day and thus leaving in a hurry. This time, I’m staying at a lovely Bed & Breakfast run by a French couple.
Of course, last night I hit Duvall Street — with a thriving gay nightlife. The first place I visited was the Aqua Bar, where the drag queen (“Portia”) picked me of all people to interview. When I told her I was from San Francisco, she asked me if I knew any drag queens. Turns out she knows Trauma Flintstone, who she affectionately referred to as “our Uncle Fester.” Needless to say, we hit it off great.
I had done my research about gay bars in Key West, but while at Aqua Bar I learned some exciting news. Just two months ago, a new bar opened on Duvall Street called The Keys — and it’s a PIANO BAR!!
I love piano bars. Back in SF, I practically live at Martuni’s — and Octavia Lounge (before they ruined it by turning it into a dance club.) Each time I go to New York, my first stop is Colony (where I buy the sheet music I want to sing), and then head off to all the Manhattan piano bars: “The Duplex” and “Marie’s Crisis” in Greenwich Village, and “Don’t Tell Mama” in Midtown.
The Keys did not disappoint. They actually fly in piano players from New York who stay for a few months, and the quality and caliber of both the singers and pianists was spectacular. I love Martuni’s, but for every pianist like Ben Prince or Trauma Flintstone, they have some crappy ones too.
Not at the Keys. I got up to sing one of my standards — “Dream a Little Dream of Me” — and the pianist asked me to sing another. So I did “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma! Afterwards, one of the waitresses got up to sing and she was incredible.
It’s 1:00 p.m., and I had brunch today at Blue Heaven — a popular spot where roosters and chickens roam the patio area (which is quite typical for Key West.) I’m annoyed at the digital camera, but I think I’ll hit the beach this afternoon while the weather is nice.