IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Porch

429 Caroline St., Key West

August 13, 2010 

Three Key West entrepreneurs have joined forces to open a laid-back beer and wine joint geared toward locals and it’s all in a historic — and reportedly haunted — Old Town home.

The Porch at 429 Caroline St., at the intersection with Duval Street, has quickly stirred up positive buzz around town because of its selection of handcrafted microbrews and chill atmosphere.

“We just wanted a good little local speakeasy,” co-owner Chris Shultz said. He and co-owners Jamille Cucci and Keith St. Peter opened up July 17.

Cucci and St. Peter own and run the popular vegetarian restaurant The Café on Southard Street; Shultz is the co-author several books about the Southernmost City, including the popular “Quit Your Job and Move to Key West.”

“Our concept is to be accessible,” Cucci said.

“You know,” Shultz said, “you could come in and be sitting next to a waiter or a billionaire. They all drink the same thing.”

Draft beers range from $5 to $8 and include such unique brews as Magic Hat #9 and the continually hopped Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, which boasts a whopping 9 percent alcohol.

Another unusual draft is Captain Eli’s Root Beer, made with natural cane and brown sugar in small batches up in Maine.

Then there are a number of bottled beers, including the standout Saranac Pomegranate Wheat brewed in Utica, N.Y. by the family-owned Matt Brewing Co. It’s a light-bodied, golden wheat beer with a sweet, but not overly so, pomegranate finish. And there’s a drawing of a bear juggling pomegranates on the bottle — another obvious plus.

Shultz described the ample and varied wine list as a “modern selection of very accessible wines priced between $20 and $50” per bottle.

The location itself is rife with interest, as the Porter House, built circa 1838, is said to be haunted by the spirit of Dr. J.Y. Porter among others, including some of the numerous children he treated for yellow fever in the home.

“Dr. Porter hangs out in the corner,” Cucci said, motioning toward the door. “We’re told the ghosts love a party, so…”

The Porch, for “beer, wine and a good time,” is open Monday through Thursday from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. or later, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. or later and Sunday at noon.

For more information, call (305) 517-6358 or visit www.facebook.com/theporchkw.

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