Wow, I can’t believe the summer of 2020 is already behind us, and we can look forward to some cooler fall temps. Here in Key West, we have some exciting changes for you to look forward to as well on your next visit to the island.

Aquaplex Poke Key West

Key West’s Aquaplex has added an Asian-themed restaurant in its open-air backside bar and patio area, giving it the sassy name of Poké in the Rear. (Photo by Greg Tromba, Florida Keys News Bureau)

We have added two new gay-owned and -operated restaurants for your dining pleasure, and our bars and restaurants are now open at 50 percent capacity — with current COVID restrictions in place, of course.

In addition to our gayborhood getting a food upgrade, many of our entertainment venues have a fresh new look with recent renovations now complete. Additionally, extensive COVID sanitization and safety protocol procedures are currently in place. They’ve also expanded outdoor seating capacity (and socially distanced it), so you can revel in our idyllic island weather 365 days a year — and hopefully with a refreshing libation in hand.

Here are some of “what’s new and improved” in gay Key West.

The Aquaplex (formerly known as the Aqua Bar and Nightclub), located at 711 Duval St., has added an on-site Asian-themed restaurant in its open-air backside bar and patio area, aptly named Poké in the Rear. The eatery will offer lunch, dinner, and late-night menu options along with a full bar. Also, the famous drag shows have made a triumphant return (after being closed briefly due to the pandemic) with 8 p.m. shows nightly and two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. on weekends.

Red Shoe Island Bistro Key West

The Red Shoe Island Bistro is the newest addition to Key West’s Bourbon St. Entertainment Complex.

The Bourbon Street Entertainment Complex, which entertains revelers at 724 Duval St., has also added a new gay-owned and -operated restaurant to its property: the Red Shoe Island Bistro.  The bistro is open Wednesday through Monday serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner — with a special brunch on Sundays.

You can call or text your order to have the emporium’s delicious cuisine delivered right to your bar chair or poolside lounger for the ultimate in outdoor dining convenience.

At 801 Duval St., you’ll find the 801 Bourbon Bar801 Cabaret, and Saloon 1. The Cabaret features the legendary Sushi and the 801 Girls, who perform their zany and sometimes risqué drag acts nightly at 9 and 11 p.m.

The girls, who started performing again recently, can now also offer a full bar experience given the new COVID regulations in place as of Sept. 14, 2020.

La Te Da Key West

Key West’s La Te Da currently offers prime accommodations, as well as food and entertainment at its restaurant and piano bar.

I’m also thrilled to announce all of our fabulous LGBTQ lodgings are also open and in full compliance with new COVID regulations. As a welcome- back present for your travel budget, some properties have expanded their summer accommodations values into the fall (give them a call for the latest and greatest offers).

One particular value-added offer is from La Te Da, which is extending its “summer, stay three nights, and the 4th is free” campaign until Oct. 4. The property’s lovely piano bar and restaurant continue to offer exceptional evening musical entertainment. However, please note the upstairs Cabaret is currently closed. Click here for updates and schedules.

We can’t wait to see you in Key West and share with you some of our new favorite spots to dine, party responsibly, or simply relax and unwind.

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