BIG PINE KEY — We love No Name Pub for its 80-year-old Dade County pine bar. We love it for the huge and delicious sandwiches and pizza. But, we have to admit, we really love it for its money.
No Name Pub, which calls itself “A Nice Place If You Can Find It,” is a few minutes off U.S. 1 in Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, about 30 miles north of Key West.
From the outside, it looks like an old wooden cottage turned into a bar and restaurant. On the inside, however, every surface is covered with thousands of fluttering dollar bills. Most are decorated — people’s names and initials, messages, doodles. (The wait staff will bring you markers.) Some estimates put the total at $90,000 and growing: Its hard to resist adding your own buck to the collection.
If only half of what they say about the No Name Pub is true, it’s still a good story.
The pub’s account of history begins with a general store and bait-and-tackle shop in 1931, with the eatery added in 1936. Around that time, the upstairs was occupied by a brothel.
In those days, all traffic to Key West came via a ferry that arrived at nearby No Name Key and all vehicles drove past No Name Pub to continue south. Once bridges replaced ferries, No Name Pub’s location became decidedly obscure. Still, the funky atmosphere and a rowdy crowd kept the place going.
The Keys were a wild place in the ’70s and ’80s; lots of people got rich smuggling marijuana. The pub’s website says that’s when the tradition started: “There was a lot of illegal money passing through the Keys back then . . . so much money in fact they started hanging it on our walls.”
Today, No Name Pub is filled with families and tourists as well as Keys regulars. The menu includes pizzas, local seafood, pub food such as nachos, chili and chowder, and sandwiches. The Smoked BBQ Pork Sandwich with Silver Dollar Fries was huge and delicious. The half-pound grouper sandwich was similarly oversized and one of the best we had in several days in the Keys. Prices are typical of the Keys — a little high for casual food.
Beverages include a variety of beers, including No Name Pub Amber on tap.
It’s located in the middle of Keys deer habitat, so there is also a chance to spot these miniature deer, an endangered species found only here, along the way. (So drive slowly!)
- No Name Pub
- 30813 Watson Blvd.
- Big Pine Key
What Yelpers say about No Name Pub. (They love it.)
Trip Advisor folks are mixed in their views.
YouTube video takes you there.
Other things to do in Big Pine Key
- The nearby Old Wooden Bridge Marina is a good place to rent a kayak through Bill Keogh’s Big Pine Kayak Adventures. There’s a good map of a four-hour paddle around No Name Key.
- Here are tips on spotting Key deer in the vicinity.
- Old Wooden Bridge cabins, just a few blocks down the road, are a good base for exploring the area.
Resources for planning a Florida Keys vacation:
- Mile marker guide with dozens of stops to help make the most of your drive south.
- Florida Keys wildlife: Places to see animals
- Tiki bars: Soak up the Keys atmosphere
- 12 great kayak outings in the Keys
- Top 10 pit stops on Overseas Highway
- Free beaches in the Florida Keys
- Bicycling the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
Special places to discover in the Lower Keys and Key West
- Free things to do in Key West
- Key West on budget: Accommodations, restaurants
- Florida Rambler guide to the Lower Keys
- Eight Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor
- Bahia Honda State Park: Good beaches & a great bridge
- Key West Butterfly Conservatory: A tranquil stop
- Audubon House, a lovely refuge in Key West
- Historic Key West Seaport
- Historic Key West Cemetery is full of stories
- Fort Zachary Taylor
- Hogfish Grill: Where Key West locals go for fresh fish
- Key West chickens