A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

A catastrophic event has occurred. Smoking no longer permitted in Berlin’s.

New owners. The no smoking rule invoked. Surprising because one of the primary new owners a smoker himself.

Please, do not bury me in e-mails about the evils of smoking. Some remain who enjoy it. A personal choice. I do not criticize those who opt not to smoke.

If second hand smoke is a problem, do not attend a place that permits smoking. Only a few are left in Key West. Many non-smoking restaurants and bars available for the multitude.

Lets me share the Berlin story with you.

Berlin’s full name is Berlin’s Cigar and Cocktail Bar. It has been a place frequented by smokers since 1947 when it was first opened as Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton’s Fish House.

Eventually, the name was changed to Alonzo’s and Berlin’s Lobster House. The dining institution of the day. The place for a night out followed by a Cuban cigar. The affluent then hopping a plane for a quick flight to Havana for a night of gambling. Returning in time to bed down while still dark outside.

Those must have been the days!

At some point, the establishment was rebuilt. Always a perfect waterfront site. Class before and class after the rebuilding.

Berlin’s had a cool look to it. The feeling of Rick’s cafe. Some consider the swankiest spot in Key West.

Paul Tripp was owner at the time of rebuilding. He said, “I wanted it to be a men’s club, to have a masculine feel to it.”

It did.

An intimate room. Mahogany walls. Maroon leather bound stools and large comfortable easy chairs. Cigars stored in a humidor. The perfect place to sit back and enjoy a smoke.

The present day Berlin’s has the finest filtration system I have ever experienced. Even if the person next to you was smoking a cigar, you never smelled it. The filtration system sucked up the smoke  immediately. After leaving, your clothes did not smell of smoke.

Smokers generally ate in the intimacy of Berlin’s. A&B Lobster House, the restaurant portion is extremely large with a huge outdoor balcony to accommodate everyone else.

The food at the bar and restaurant the same. Always excellent. Pricey. Worth it, however. Especially when I could enjoy a couple of drinks and cigarettes before dinner and another after dinner while enjoying the last drink of the night.

The change makes no sense. It will not increase business. It might lessen it, if anything.

The Chart Room my only stop last night. John bartending. Ran into Diesel last year. Again, last night. We spoke at length. I enjoyed his company.

Diesel is from Ohio. Retired. He and his wife Lynise bought a home in Key West several years ago. Lynise was not with him. An early to bed person as I am most evenings.

They spend 6 months a year on the island. I told Diesel he was a snowbird. He did not like the title. Preferred to be known as a transient Conch. Don’t think it would fly with the Conchs.

Cori Convertino, how I envy you! Cori was on Ballast Key yesterday!

Cori is technically Dr. Cori Convertino. She is curator at the Custom House. Over the years, she became a close friend of David Wolkowsky. David you will recall died 2 month ago.

David enjoyed 3 homes in the Key West area. One was on Ballast Key. A small island 16 miles west of Key West. A magnificent edifice planned and built by David.

Not sure why Cori was there yesterday. Wish she had invited me. I assume she was there for some reason having to do with the furnishings. David was a huge benefactor to the Custom House.

I met Fritz Adare 12 years ago at a party at Larry and Christine Smith’s home. Nice guy. He was introduced as a personal trainer. Looked it. A magnificent body. Skin like a baby’s back end. A body that sparkled.

It was obvious Fritz was a good health addict.

I rarely saw him. We would run into each other one or two times a year. Always a cordial hello and a few words.

Yesterday’s Facebook listed the day as Fritz’s birthday. I sent him a Happy Birthday!

Last night, Larry and Christine telephoned me. I knew there had to be trouble if both were on the phone together. Fritz had died several months ago. I did not know.

Strange. I never saw his obituary. Looked for it this morning. Not in the Key West Citizen. Found it in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper. Fritz died on May 29. He was residing in an assisted living facility at the time. Age, 71.

May he rest in peace.

When older people who I know pass on, I get a bit nervous. I am 83. Fritz was 71. He unquestionably was a health nut. Always working out. Took all kinds of vitamins and supplement pills. Nutrition was a big thing with him.

I do not dwell on death. Mark Twain said, “Age is not an issue of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

What will be, will be.

An important thing in life. After saturday’s victory, Syracuse is now ranked 14th in the nation. A 7-2 record so far. Go ‘Cuse!

Enjoy your day!

 

8 comments on “A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

  1. As a former smoker, I’m on your side. Smokers need and disserve a place they can call “home”. Non-smokers don’t have to go there.

    These days I think it would be a good business decision to open a place called the “Smoke Easy”. With a filtration system like you described, good food, and good booze, the place would be packed.

  2. This nanny state has gotten out of hand. Case in point, for all the government oversight, Lou’s health nut friend died at only 71, after a lengthy illness. While Lou is still smoking and drinking at 83. A full life indeed.

  3. New owners. The no smoking rule invoked

    Good luck with that “new owner” ….I expect their customer base to drop off since overpriced martini’s is ONLY worth the trip with a good cigar accompaniment.

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