Stephen Pointer sweats energy, bleeds passion and dishes out positivity that is more contagious than a cold at daycare. To have a conversation with him is like catching a comet in midflight. He lives by three simple rules: The Golden Rule, manners and a belief that respect must be earned. It’s what made him a successful real estate professional in Tampa, not long after he left Key West some years back, and it’s exactly what he will inject into the Key West Pub, which will debut on Friday, May 2.
“This is my dream,” said Pointer. “I left Key West for a period of my life but the plan was always to return home. This is the city I love. Being a local is important. You feel like family when you live here and that is the aura I want my restaurant to capture for locals.”
Key West Pub will be what Pointer refers to as “a clash of styles.” Located at the former site of Sweet Teas at 1114 Duval Street, the lush interior will boast a posh décor; personally designed by artist Alan F. Maltz. The back area will offer an array of free bar games, including billiards, darts and flat screen televisions that will host Wi bowling tournaments and other unique competitions. A private outside patio and bar is accented by a colorful waterfall. It’s equipped with a full liquor license for those seeking an affordable liquor option right in the heart of Duval.
“A lot of people say they cater to locals but you don’t see a dramatic change in the pricing,” said Pointer. “When locals dine with me they will not be over-priced. Sure, we have to make money, but I also want to exemplify the local hangout while extending the Golden Rule…you come in, we know you and you are treated the way we I want to be treated.”
Another distinctive element of Key West Pub will be the menu. Christened as the “Home of the Best Sliders in Town,” the menu will feature an array of sliders, all created through Pointer’s passion for cooking.
“I love to cook and I’ve always made a habit of feeding sliders to my friends at pool parties and other gatherings,” said Pointer. “From lobster, gluten free and Italian sliders…if you can think of it, we will put it between two fabulous pieces of bread and serve it with seasoned fries or delicious tater tots. The most important thing is to listen to what people want. The other day, Michelle [from First State Bank] said she would love to see gravy on the French fries. So we will have gravy on the fries!”
The Key West hospitality industry is no stranger to Stephen Pointer. Before leaving for Tampa, he worked for a stint at La Te Da and eventually made his way to Crabby Dick’s in the ’90 s, where he worked alongside a bartender by the name of Jimmy Lane. Coincidently, the two hard workers would later prosper in the real estate industry; Pointer in Tampa and Lane who is now the Principal Broker at Century 21 Schwartz Realty in Key West. In fact, Pointer, who remains successfully active in real estate, maintains his license with his old pal from Crabby Dick’s.
“Stephen is the guy that knows everyone in the room at a party,” said Jimmy Lane. “If he doesn’t know you, he will before the night is over. I believe he will be successful in the restaurant business. He throws the best parties and the restaurant will be an extension of his home.”
Along with local pricing and scrumptious sliders, Key West Pub will offer a six-week Karaoke contest entitled “Locals Bring Their Vocals Show,” an extended happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. and a dog friendly atmosphere in a designated portion of the restaurant.
“I’m ready to get started,” said Pointer with an enthusiastic smile. “I’m nervous, but I’m going to do it right. It’s about doing well by people and not making it all about the money. Key West isn’t a town, it’s a village. A village is where you earn the respect of your peers and you make it your home. And I’m going to do just that.”
Key West Pub’s local appreciation party and grand opening takes place Friday, May 2 from 7 to 11 p.m.
Fun fact: Stephen Pointer is a dog lover and a strong supporter of the SPCA. He also throws a dinner benefit the last Friday of every month with proceeds going to the Key West Firehouse Museum.