It doesn’t exist on any map nor does it show up a GPS coordinate. Even mail carriers argue whether Lagerhead’s Beach Bar sits on the edge of MM 1 or MM 0. But one thing is certain, on the northern end of Simonton Street, just as the road turns to white sands and panoramic views of the Gulf begin to liberate the weary eye, a picturesque landmark has been revived in Key West.
Simonton Street Beach, which many locals dubbed as “Bum Beach” after years of neglect, was renovated by the City of Key West in 2012. Soon after, the city started accepting bids for businesses to occupy the cozy waterfront property. Ricky Spencer immediately tossed his hat in the ring.
“My buddies and I used to roam that beach as children,” a nostalgic Spencer said. “We referred to it as ‘Handprint Fabrics’ because that was the only business in that area back then and we lived a few blocks away. There was a light tower called ‘Silvia’ that we would swim to and jump from all day. Having the chance to renovate a piece of our local history means a great deal to me.”
Today, Lagerhead’s Beach Bar & Watersports is nestled between two major hotels, which highlights the stark contrast between the two modern destinations and the traditional Key West locale that so many seek when traveling off the beaten path. Highlighted by a white sandy beach, the tiki bar and restaurant resembles a backdrop for a Caribbean photo shoot, surrounded by lounge chairs, umbrellas and sunbathers. And patrons have an open view to the restless harbor, busy with sailboats and fishing vessels. According to General Manager, Patrick Godsell, the finished product was all by design.
“We wanted to give justice to a place that is literally found where the road meets the ocean,” said Godsell. “I feel like Lagerhead’s is a treasure waiting to be found for people looking to discover the rustic lure of Key West.”
Godsell oversees the day-to-day operations of the business and has a diverse background, including careers as a tugboat captain, a charter fisherman and a physical education teacher in Key West. He feels his lack of experience in the restaurant business actually aids him in some ways, allowing him to remain true to a simple, fresh menu that caters to locals.
“I was a charter fisherman for a longtime and people always wanted to know which restaurants served the fresh fish,” said Godsell. “By keeping our menu small, we focus on quality over quantity. Everything we serve is fresh…I promise you we have the best fish tacos you’ve ever tasted.”
Along with the bar and restaurant, Lagerheads offers an array of watersports, including boat rentals, fishing, snorkeling, sunset cruises and a harbor ride aboard a custom-built 1962 Navy Whale Boat.
Lagerhead’s Beach Bar & Watersports is located on Simonton Street at MM 1 or MM 0 … depending on who you ask.