Conch! It’s quite a quirky word, satisfying, yet it sounds like you’re cursing… “you CONCHhead!” or “you’re such a CONCH!”
Giggles aside, over in the gay island mecca of Key West, a conch is a legit nickname given to the locals. And this bunch of conchers sure know how to live life to the fullest!
Key West is famous for its relaxed, tolerant and queer inclusivity. Historically it’s always been different, helped by the fact that it is the southernmost point of the USA mainland, slightly cut off from the rest of Florida. This has allowed Key West to thrive as a mixed haven for an eclectic blend of people ranging from Native Americans, Spanish, freed slaves, pirates, and of course, the LGBTQ community. It has also been a bedrock for artistic talent with the likes of Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway and Judy Blume all making this unassuming island their home base. Key West even has an official motto of “One Human Family“.
We absolutely loved Key West. There are so many things to do here with a really exciting gay scene along Duval Street. We’ve been to Key West several times and always had a ball on each visit. We’ve put together this detailed gay guide to Key West to include our experience trying out the best gay hotels, partying in the bars/clubs, inspiration for things to do, and more.
Gay Key West
The gay area of key West is based around the busy Duval Street, between Angela and Petronia Streets. There is a permanent Rainbow Crosswalk here so you can’t miss it! This small intersection forms the gay neighbourhood of Key West, largely centred around 3 large complexes forming a sort of triangle. The 3 large complexes are 801 Bourbon, Bourbon St. Pub and Aqua. Each one has around 3/4 separate bars/clubs inside which we summarise in detail below.