File this one under the “Did You Know?” category.
The Sloppy Joe’s Bar that’s heavily frequented by tourists at the corner of Duval and Greene Streets in Key West is not the original Sloppy Joe’s. The bar that was a favorite watering hole of novelist Earnest Hemingway during his time in the Keys is actually a few doors to the west at 428 Greene Street.
Known today as Captain Tony’s Saloon, Hemingway was a friend of the bar’s owner and would meet up with his buddies at the bar every afternoon at 3:30 for a round of drinks.
The building itself has an interesting history. It served as a wireless telegraph office during the Spanish-American War and was the first to relay news that the battleship Maine had been destroyed. In the early 1900s, 428 Greene saw a lot of action. Within a few years, it housed a cigar factory, a bordello and a number of speakeasies.
Gun runner Tony Tarracino eventually purchased the building in 1958 and 428 Greene has been known to the world as Captain Tony’s ever since.
So next time you’re in Key West, get off Duval Street and step inside the bright yellow building with the big fish hanging over the door. For true Hemingway fans, it will always be the original Sloppy Joe’s.