The docks by Alonzo’s are home to a daily tarpon feeding at 4 PM, which also happens to be when the happy hour begins. A coincidence? I think not. People all around count down to 4, when prices are cut in half for drinks, beer, wine, and about 20 favorite dishes.
Beer-steamed Gulf shrimp arrive atop a red-checkered tray that we honestly didn’t know was there until our waitress came over and gently lifted our dishes off the trays, explaining that’s where the shells go. The shrimp are fresh and plump, with the shells left on for that peel-and-devour delight. The beer is hard to distinguish, but the just-caught shrimps are hard to beat. A half pound is about 12 substantial crustaceans.
Mussels al diablo arrive in a huge white bowl filled to the brim with a spicy marinara sauce that gives them a flavorful edge. Bread soaks up the sauce nicely.
The Alonzo combo oyster plate is a half dozen atop a colorful corn salad. Two are are sprinkled with Parmesan, spinach, bacon, and Pernod. Two are topped with key lime butter, garlic, and Parmesan — tangy, crunchy, and creamy all mixed in up in each delicious bite. And then there are two Buffalo oysters, which have buttered cayenne crumbs and buttermilk blue cheese dressing drizzled on top. There’s something about the Buffalo-style-meets-ocean that really works. Yum.
The famous Key Lime Pie martini tastes like it sounds: an intoxicating liquid slice of key lime pie. If you’re dining with someone, I suggest splitting one, as they’re sweet, creamy, and destined to make your head hurt tomorrow. But they are cool and delicious in the moment: liquid embodiment of the Keys.
The big space is mainly inside, but there are plenty of tables outside, where boats are anchored just feet away. Happy hour at Alonzo’s is a wonderful introduction to Key West.