With a circa 1890 to it’s name, the Green Parrot claims to be the oldest bar in Key West. And when you stroll into the establishment at 601 Whitehead Street, you can easily discern that this place has been around a long time. With it’s crooked roof eaves, concrete floors with sporadic broken green vinyl tiles and smoke dinged wall mounted memorabilia, you get the feeling that you’ve walked into an old Key West saloon that contains many fascinating stories.

What’s so cool about the Green Parrot Bar is that it’s truly a locals bar that has been discovered by some adventuristic tourists. One block off of Duval Street on the corner of Southard & Whitehead, you quickly realize that you’re not on the Duval tourist strip. There are no bright lights, no crowds walking blindly along the sidewalks, and no street performers (except those spending their hard earned tips in the bar).

The “Parrot” is well known for it’s bluesy and eclectic southern blends of R&B, funk, zydeco and swamp music, whether played live by bands from all over the country, or emanating from the infamous jukebox.  One story has it that their jukebox was recognized by Playboy magazine as one of the best in the nation. I don’t remember reading that article, but then I just look at the pictures.

Don’t pull out your Visa, Mastercard or Amex because this bar only accepts cash, payable when served and no running tabs. The way all bars used to be in the “old days”. Priceless! And if you leave your change on the bar in front of you, put it under an ashtray. Otherwise, if it gets blown behind the bar by the constant howling overhead fans, it’s no longer yours.

If you’re hungry, go somewhere else. There is no food served, just booze. There is a restaurant next door, the Twisted Dish (until recently the Meteor Smokehouse). It doesn’t have much in the variety of “traditional bar food”, but if necessary you can eat from their new menu. Or you can cross the street to the Courthouse Deli and get a sandwich or bag of potato chips, but they are only open til 10 or 11PM depending on the day.

There seems to be two entirely different crowds at the Parrot. Afternoon sports a very locals crowd; not many tourists. Since the only afternoon entertainment is the jukebox, you get a primarily unemployed group until happy hour begins. On the evenings when live entertainment is scheduled you’ll see more tourists early on, then the locals begin over takingÂaround midnight after the restaurants are closed. All in all the people are friendly, except the occasional impatient tourist who believes the bartenders are there only for them. They are of course usually disappointed.