Sunday, May 15, 2011

key west coin toss

The building at 428 Greene St. in Key West is an historical landmark with a storied past.

These days it's the home of Capt. Tony's Saloon but starting sometime in the 1800's it has been an ice house that doubled as a morgue, a telegraph office and the original site of the first and original Sloppy Joe's.

But all that, for the right price, is a tale for another time.

Today's interest is the giant Jewfish hanging above the sign over the front door of the place.

After it was caught by Capt. Tony himself, the Goliath grouper made a visit to the taxidemist and was suspended, as you see it here, about 15 feet above the pavement.

Now, the tradition with the fish is, after you've got yourself appropriately enlightened at the bar, you stand on the side walk below the sign facing the street with your back to the Jewfish's gaping mouth.
Then with a quarter in hand, toss the coin back up over your head in an attempt to land it in the fish's mouth.

Personally I've never tried it (but of course, I don't get enlightened anymore) but I've watched dozens of others try their luck without success. But a few years ago, a few of my cousins from Long Island came down with some friends to throw a bachelor party for cousin Dan. We spent some time at Capt. Tony's, (Dans favorite Key West bar) then headed up Duval to the Red Garter for a while and then it was back to Capt. Tony's for a nightcap.

All said and done, as we left the saloon for the night, cousin Eric came out, quarter in hand, assumed the position and made his toss.
That, my friends, has been the one and only time I've seen anyone get it done.
Into the belly of the beast, nothin' but net!

Since then I've wondered if and how often a Capt. Tony's bartender gets sent up a ladder to collect
what that Jewfish has swallowed.

1 comment:

RumShopRyan said...

I hadn't heard about that tradition, I think I'll give that a try in July when I'm down.

Cheers to Captain Tony!