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The more and more I travel to the Florida Keys the more I think I could live there. It really wouldn’t take all that much effort to pull the trigger, but I’ll save this Havana daydream for another post.

Last weekend was spent in Key West, participating in the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl. The event started out as just some online friends wanting to get together in a beautiful place like Key West and paint the town with rum. It quickly evolved into more than just a group of island junkies looking for a fix, it turned into a chance to really make a difference and have fun doing it.

Each of the sponsors; Team Cocktail, Rum Connection, Shawn Martin, Conch Republic Bikinis, Hoffman Publications, the Shot Doctor and RumShopRyan – are active online with blogging/social media and have good size readerships. Why not take a little of that influence and invite people (Castaways) to come down to Key West with us and raise money for charity at the same time. The charity we chose was to support the families of the Naval base there in the Keys.


So that’s how the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl was started. Now I could write a story about how we went to this bar and that bar, how we drank this cocktail and tried this rum, how the fun lasted till the wee hours of the night and how we can’t wait till next year but I’m not going to do that.

Instead I’m going to tell you about the people and let the photos tell their stories. I titled this post with “A Meeting of the Minds” not because it has anything to do with the large gathering of Jimmy Buffett Parrotheads that will be invading Key West next month also called Meeting of the Minds, but because the people who participated in our Conched in Key West crawl.

Conched in Key West

BigKahunaBrew (Charles) & RumShopRyan

My buddy Carl of Conch Republic Bikinis wrote a good story yesterday and I think he hit the nail on the head. Most of us have never met, we only know each other through words on a screen, a thumbnail photo and a Twitter handle. But something special happens when you throw a group of people together that all have the same salty, rum infused soul. Handshakes be damned, I’m giving you a hug and buying you a drink!

Conched in Key West

Raffle for a bottle of Tommy Bahama Rum

We had a group of about 30 crawlers and raised somewhere around $1500-$2000, exact figure is still being worked out due to t-shirt sales. We hit up 9 or 10 bars, you tend to lose track of things as the crawl drags on. The bars we hit, many I’ve never even been to before, where great. Places like the Cork & Stogie, Pearl’s Patio, Rum Bar, Virgilio’s, Krawl off Duval, Overboard Bar & Grill, Captain Tony’s and Irish Kevins. I think a few more places were sprinkled in there, I just can’t recall all their names right now.

Conched in Key West

Bahama Bob at the Rum and his infamous Root Juice

We raffled off things like limited edition Tommy Bahama Rum, Team Cocktail gift cards, a bunch of Castaway gear and all the proceeds went right to the charity.

Conched in Key West

Do you know where this is?

But like I said, this wasn’t just an average bar crawl, it wasn’t just an excuse for a bunch of people to get together and drink their way down Duval. It’s the start of something new, the start of lasting friendships and a chance for many to get a taste of the islands. We had crawlers travel from Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas and I think a couple were from Maryland.

Conched in Key West

Steven and Erin - Nice Koozie Steven!

We are planning on making this an annual event, so if you couldn’t make it this year, start planning for next year. Next year will be bigger and better and everyone is already excited about returning.

Conched in Key West

Rum Connection Mike and RumShopRyan

New friends, a great charity, an island with a crazy personality and a little bit of rum, mix those all together and you get the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl. It was an amazing time and I’m already missing my new pirate friends.

To see the rest of the Conched in Key West photos you can go to the RumShopRyan Facebook page here and see our Flickr group here.

Cheers to next year!


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About the Author: RumShopRyan

Just a salty pirate looking to explore and document the wonders of the Caribbean. Professional blogger, rum judge, consultant, marketer, and consumer of blue water beauty. To learn more, visit our About Us Page.