Walking into Glitch feels like walking back in time, maybe into your best friend’s basement, if your best friend was the coolest nerd in the school. The massive leather chairs, a wall of action figures, stacks of board games and craft beers galore on draft make it a happy amalgam of past and present. It reminds you of being a teenager, but it satisfies the desires of the grown-up: a perfect espresso, a comfy chair, some (relative) peace and quiet. A departure from the chaos of downtown was part of the inspiration for this Simonton Street retreat. Owners Keith St. Peter, Adam Levin, and Justin “Willy” Woods have been ruminating on the idea for years, but it only recently came to fruition.
“It was brewing in ‘Idea land’ for a while, but the closing of the Porch pushed it into being a reality,” said St. Peter, who was also a partner in the beloved locals’ bar. “When the Porch started, it had a clubhouse, hangout feel, and it suffered from its own success,”
It seems they’ve rediscovered that feeling at Glitch. Sitting at the bar, a person may overhear a conversation about the finer aspects of “Exploding Kittens,” (a game I am promised is not as gruesome as it sounds), or interesting craft beer combinations. The bartender, Eric, was chatting about potentially layering the Banana Bread beer with PB&J, like a black and tan. Another patron suggests calling it an “Elvis.”
But beer isn’t the only thing on draft at Glitch — It’s a place for drinkers and non-drinkers alike, with a convivial atmosphere that isn’t reliant on the momentary adrenaline of “shots shots shots!” nor the racket that comes along with it.
“We all wanted to make sure that we had these different options, so that someone who doesn’t drink feels as happy and welcome as someone who does. We have root beer on draft, we have the cold brew on draft, we are getting Kombucha on draft.”
The atmosphere, too, is deliberate. With vintage comic books, low lighting, and colorful murals, it pairs sophistication with nerd culture, ‘80s and ‘90s tunes stream from the speakers, and kids play Ms. Pacman. A couple stokes flirty competition on the shuffleboard table.
It’s not only local-owned, but also showcases the art of Key West artists, with murals by Dan Schwab, Dave Hotz, Michael Hildebrand (who desinged The Porch shirts) and Margot Griffin. The murals create the sense of being wrapped in big a pop art blanket.
As for the memorabilia? “Some of the stuff was mine, but probably 80 percent of the stuff, I collected for the project.” St. Peter laughed, “My house looked like a f***ing Toys R Us for six months. … I’m sure my wife is happy the toys are out of our house.”
This is just the beginning for Glitch. Game nights have begun to take shape, and they have a projector with which they’re planning to project MarioKart and other video game tournaments. A large private gaming room is upstairs, where employees or friends of Glitch can teach technique. Said St. Peter, “If there’s someone who’s great at a board game, they can pass it along and help people have a good time.”
The good times are rolling at Glitch with the frequency of the dice. Familiar faces comingle with new ones. Some strangers seem like they are already friends. The place is pretty inconspicuous. Outside, it’s dark. There’s a broken “claw” machine with a sign that says “I married rich, so I no longer work.” On the sidewalk, the laughter inside is barely audible.
“We would like to keep it like this forever,” said St. Peter. “The crowd we are already getting is perfect in my mind.” Maybe it can stay frozen in time, like the memories conjured at Glitch.