Berlin’s: A Key West Classic Bar With a Twist of Something New

If the A&B Lobster House property is a family, Berlin’s is the dashing bachelor uncle. Berlin’s stands as a longtime local favorite, and its blood-red leather and dark wood interior is the perfect Front Street haven to escape the crowds and elevate your evening. The Red Pants Collection recently purchased the A&B properties, with a vision keen on both preservation and expansion, according to President Mike Hartmann.

“We understand this location is very much a part of the history of Key West,” Hartmann said. “But it is also instrumental to the future of Key West, especially relating to local jobs, tourism growth and local business development. And most of all, we want to revitalize the local vibe along the Key West Harbor.” Locals speculate about changes that might take place at Berlin’s, but Hartmann and Co. seem dedicated to maintaining the vision and vibe of the downtown favorite.

The quality of Berlin’s cocktails and food—they share A&B’s full menu—remain at a high standard. Familiar faces also remain behind the bar, like Gage Beaulieu, who on a Friday night pours a perfect vodka martini complete with blue cheese stuffed olives. Berlin’s is the spot to order high-end classics: think Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. On the menu, opt for the indulgent: we love the Maine Lobster Escargot appetizer, in a velvety herbed butter sauce with wild mushrooms. Berlin’s also serves a beautiful Oysters Rockefeller with bacon, and one of the tastiest Tuna Tataki preparations on the island: fresh tuna with an added zip of sriracha and wasabi vinaigrette.

As the cocktails keep flowing, settle into one of the club chairs and take in the surroundings. With a breathtaking view of the harbor and ample privacy, upstairs can transform into a veritable who’s who of Key West, and lively introductions abound. The entrée menu is also studded with steakhouse favorites: the kingly (and shareable!) Berlin’s Surf and Turf, and the Grouper Oscar—local grouper layered over a jumbo lump crab cake napoleon-style—that a diner could dream about for the next month.

But one doesn’t have to. Berlin’s is open from 5 to 10 pm, 7 days a week.

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Sarah Thomas is the Editor of Key West Weekly and moved down from her second-favorite island, Manhattan. She has worn many hats: publicist, tour guide, bartender, teacher, and cat wrangler, but this one seems to fit the best.