Key West’s famous bars are closed. One opened so Conchs could phone home

With no water, no electricity and a curfew, the famous bars of Key West are not open for business after Hurricane Irma rolled through town.

The Green Parrot opened its doors this week.

They aren’t slinging drinks, don’t have any live music — but they are drawing quite the crowd.

The Parrot, you see, has a working telephone.

Right now, that’s almost as good as a cold beer in post-Irma Key West.

Buzzfeed’s Amber Jamieson found the scene at the popular watering hole off Whitehead Street.

Jamieson describes a colorful scene — as one could only expect from the Conch Republic — in which hundreds lined up to use the bar’s working landline.

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According to Jamieson, there are only a handful of working phones on the island which is basically cut off from the mainland although sea and air deliveries are being made.


The green tint of the building serves as a landmark in downtown Key West at the Green Parrot Bar in Key West as pictured on July 30, 2010. The Green Parrot Bar, like many other drinking establishments, work to keep their doors open during hurricanes each season.

STEVE JOHNSON Miami Herald file photo

How is their phone working? According to the story, the bar’s mechanic rigged up an old handset to the live connection at a closed restaurant next door.

“He pirated the thing. He did it for the people,” a local named Rick said.

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The bar isn’t charging for the calls — the bill, one would think is going to the closed restaurant next door, after all — but is placing a time limit so those in line can use it.


Mike Powers stands in the doorway of the Salty Angler Bar wearing a life vest on Duval Street, Friday, September 8, 2017. He is one of the residents of Key West who refused to evacuate as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida Keys as a Catagory 5 storm.


The Green Parrot mechanic who fixed up the phone is the one who dials the numbers and keep track of the call durations. He told Jamieson few remember any individual numbers from memory except for one.

“It’s always their mother’s number that they remember,” the man named Buco said.