Steve Thompson wrote about Cow Key Marina. I never heard of Cow Key Marina. I’ve only been in Key West 30 years. Impossible to know everything.
So I did a little homework this week preparatory to writing today’s blog. Not easy. I found only one person other than Steve and Cindy who ever heard of the place.
We begin with Steve’s writing. Note it speaks of the 1970’s.
The Cow Key Marina was like nothing I had seen. It had chickens and a pump leaking gasoline. We always stopped there for fuel when on Phil’s boat.
If you saw the bar, you’d think it was a joke. The plywood floors looked like waves at sea. And low ceilings with no windows concerned me. It was so unusual, it’s where a movie was made.
It brought celebrities to town called, “92 In The Shade.” Peter Fonda, Warren Oats, Burgess Meredith, Guy di la Valdene, and Jim Harrison were on a roll. Partied with Margot Kidder and Elizabeth Ashley like there was no tomorrow.
It was Tom McGuane’s first movie and actually a flop. If they had filmed themselves at night while partying, it would have gone to the top.
So the Cow Key Marina remained the same for years. Old Roy at the bar sold us one dollar beers.
It’s all fixed up now like every tourist store. We all miss Roy and we don’t go there anymore.
I began my quest this past week on the internet. Sure enough, a Cow Key Marina was to be found. Limited information, information nevertheless. Spoke with Steve how to find the place. Actually located on Stock Island.
Took a while. The Marina is located at the far end of Fifth Avenue. Address 5001.
Steve described a shitbox. What I found was beautiful.
A small clean active marina. Tiki hut sales shack. Showers and dressing rooms. And a restaurant.
Two guys working the quiet marina. The restaurant/bar closed.
It was obvious the restaurant/bar was not of yesteryear. Not the one described by Steve. This one was newly remodeled/rebuilt. Lovely deck. View magnificent.
Reminded me of a dressed up Hogfish or Geiger Key. Smaller, however. The thought occurred Hogfish and Geiger Key were smaller 30 years ago. Bobby Mongelli expanded each over the years. Especially by adding tables in every nook and cranny.
Parking sufficient. More than either Hogfish or Geiger Key. Then there is the road available to be utilized as with those two restaurants.
One of the tiki hut workers was 30ish. Chatted with me. Told me the restaurant would be open in a month. Other persons I talked to as part of my inquiry said they were told the same thing 6 months ago.
The fellow was not too bright. Never heard of Peter Fonda. Or his father Henry for that matter. Just kept repeating the place would be open in a month.
Steve told me his 1970 days found chickens and rabbits galore running around. None visible on my visit. He described the place as a dump. No more.
His experience began with the Chart Room. Everything begins with the Chart Room.
Shooting was over at 4 in the afternoon. Stars and crew ran to the Chart Room. Tom Cochran bartending. Steve and his friends quickly became friends with the likes of Perter Fonda, etc. Partied at the Chart Room and Cow Key Marina with them.
Steve telephoned yesterday morning to advise he had found the movie. 92 In The Shade had been released in 1975. I watched it.
Steve said the crummiest movie he has ever seen. I agree. Without a doubt, the absolute worst. Mentioned it to Jean Thornton last night. Turns out she watched it years ago. Totally agreed.
Watch it, however. An experience.
The bar in the film doesn’t look bad. I refer specifically to the bar and stools themselves. Nothing else.
The movie was a box office failure.
Someone described the movie as a “weird deadpan portrait of outsiders and oddballs living in Key West.” An apt description.
Roy the for real bartender at the Marina is actually in the movie. He plays himself.
A restauranteur I am not. However it appears to my inexperienced eye that the Cow Key Marina restaurant/bar is a gold mine waiting to be discovered. It needs Bobby Mongelli or someone like him to reopen the place.
Enjoyed a lovely meal and company Friday night.
The evening began as planned with Jean and Joe Thornton at the Chart Room. We were joined by Laura. A friend of Jean’s. Laura lived in Key West years ago. Rented a house for the month of December and is revisiting. A most interesting woman. A Virginian. A Washington lobbyist.
We dined at the outside deck at the Pier House. The cold wind beating on us. Stone crabs the main course. Outstanding!
I rarely get out these days. Enjoyed the evening and company tremendously.
Syracuse played Notre Dame in basketball at Notre Dame at noon yesterday. What a game! Syracuse was back! Its record a poor 3-4 going into the game. Notre Dame 6-1.
Syracuse won by a point 62-61.
It was that kind of a game. Close throughout. Could have gone either way. Glad it went Orange!
Joe Girard returned to form. He played very very poorly the past 3 games. Jesse Edwards was a center to be envied.
It’s Christmas time in the City! Key West brightly lite for the holiday. I am a Christmas softie at heart. Love it!
Enjoy your Sunday!