First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery

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First Flight Island Restaurant & BreweryFirst Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery
55 Ratings
First Flight Island Restaurant & BreweryFirst Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

301 Whitehead St
Key West, Florida, 33040
United States

(305) 293-8484 | map

Formerly Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 24
Reviews by Mitchster:
Photo of Mitchster
3/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Located in downtown Key West, the southernmost "brewery" in the US. Do 5-gallon batches count?:) This place was difficult to get to, only by the fact that it was spring break and there was no parking. Unless you rent a scooter or a bike, good luck. I was lucky to find a parking spot that was 10 minutes away by foot and only had change for an hour, so it was a quick trip. The atmosphere is very nice. I ate on the upper courtyard where trees and vines dangle everywhere, lit by xmas tree lights and such. The service was poor. It took over 15 minutes to get my check after I had asked for it, though the waiter said he was new and they just had a large party leaving. The beer was not available at the bar, as the bar was sealed off for the party, therefore I had to eat on the balcony. The coconut shrimp was very good, large and firm. The beer was average at best. I did not see any brewing facilities on-site. The waiter knew nothing about the beer. What was called a "gold lager" was actually a raspberry wheat, and when I asked about the quite different taste, he went back to his manager who told him it was a wheat, but denied there was any raspberry in it:) The prices were a bit steep, but hey, you're in freakin' Key West so you have to get used to it.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Ironnomad
4.13/5  rDev +22.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of chuckgietzen
3.14/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25

Photo of zekeman17
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Photo of DucksFan16
2.84/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5

Rated on 12/24/2015. This rating is primarily for the beer (food is ok, but nothing special). The beer is horrible, and they only offer three of their brews on tap, so the selection is also horrible. I honestly cannot think of another brewery anywhere in America that only has three offerings on tap.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2

A cool place with some short hours. Close at 10 pm? Is this Key West or the Midwest?
Staff is very friendly & they try to help but breadth of knowledge isn't their strong suit.
The vibe is prototypical Key West. I'll come back for the coolness but not the beer selection.

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Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Photo of crbnfbr
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of shoretaxi
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of kristyjo
1.68/5  rDev -50.1%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 2 | service: 1.25 | selection: 1.25

We tried Kellys a few years ago and weren't thrilled with it but we tried it again last winter. The beer was barely tolerable, again, the flavor wasn't good at all, again and the bartender was barely polite. The location is great but the tables were dirty so we had to clean them ourselves. We won't try it again because it seems with all of the unfavorable review, it hasn't changed.

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Photo of 22Blue
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of tfsimpkins
5/5  rDev +48.4%

Photo of DuffDaddy
4.25/5  rDev +26.1%

Photo of Corburk
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Immortale25
2.04/5  rDev -39.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 1.5

Since it's the only "brewery" in Key West and I got a free sample coupon from the hotel I stayed at, I needed to check it out...and regret the waste of time. We went for happy hour since their "microbrews" are only $2 a pop. I use my coupon to get a sample of the Red So, since they only have three beers, I go down the line: I ask my father for a sip of his Southern Clipper Wheat Ale and it's even more lackluster than the Red. So I order the IPA...which doesn't even come close to a true IPA. Not only that, on the menu they call it a Golden Ale, but the bartender refers to it as an IPA. Yeah, IPAs can have a gold color but to call it a Golden on the menu is incredibly misleading to someone who knows beer. Guess it doesn't really matter since the beer advocacy in the Keys is extremely low anyway and, if someone ordered the Golden expecting a light-bodied ale with low bitterness, they wouldn't be far off. Also, there are no craft selections besides their homemade swill so we didn't even bother trying any food, paid our tab and walked down the street to The Porch. If you're in Key West and you want to try great Florida beer, go to Krawl and try whatever Due South they have on tap and then go to The Porch and try any Cigar City they have.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

This place has two attractions: the scenery/ atmosphere, and the food. Other than that, this place was a huge miss.

The whole bar is an open area with a courtyard out front for a rainforest feel if you enjoy that while dining; I do. I sat at the bar but the courtyard seemed like a very nice place to be.

The food was delicious. I had some curry chicken that was outstanding.

The beer was pretty awful. There were only three selections, all house beers, and all very average. They had a pale ale, a wheat, and an amber. How original. The beers lacked any flavor and had no spark or anything in them to make me want more of them.

The service was very slow. The food took about 45 minutes to arrive and the bartenders had empty glasses all over the bar.

Unless you go for the food and scenery, go other places for beer and service.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.42/5  rDev -28.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2 | food: 4

The atmosphere is a uppity version of Key West, lots of outdoor seating, small bar, however quite proper. A small bar under a overhang that is overlooking the outside dinging. The quality of the beer was, well, kind of touristy, and not fantastic, but not really that bad. A more of focus on their extensive wine list (wait, we are in a beer place?), and Miller Lite is on special right now!! Service was slow, the waiter spilled a beer and didn't even clean it up, no, it's ok, I will take care of it, oh yea, thanks for the apology. As for the food, all was good, split some apps, everything was really nice, but it could have come out at the same time, I guess the server thought we were coursing our apps. Had two of the three beers, would have had a third, but he brought the check instead of asking. So, all in all, been there, done that, food was good, but pricey, and I will not go back.

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Photo of adkirkish
4.22/5  rDev +25.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Being the only brewery in the keys, I had to pay a visit to Kelly's and here was my experience: Kelly's is a microbrewery with 3 small batch fermenters. The usual beers on tap are the Havana Red Ale, Key West Golden Ale, and the Southern Clipper Wheat. I had all three and I ended up getting a pint on the Havana Red Ale.

I love the outdoor patio. There are huge trees that grow up through the interior structure that form a jungle canopy overhead. It's relaxing, lowkey, and off the beaten path of the hustle and bustle of duval street, but within close proximity to the main drag.

The service is nothing short of spectacular (Erica - You are awesome btw ;). Server poured me enough samples to make sure I had a proper tasting and was knowledgeable about the beers / brewery.

The food is great as well with local catch, steaks, and other normal pub fair. Everything is higher priced in the keys so nothing over the top here.

The only issue I see is just the minimal tap list. But for being so remote, I'm not that hard pressed to demand someting more. I'm just happy that there's a brewery at the end of the road offering up local craft beer. This is one stop you shouldn't pass up in Cayo Hueso.

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Photo of david18
3.63/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I went to Kelly's because it was the only micro brewery on Key West. A very beautiful bar/restaurant with a nice setting. Seating in a restaurant, a bar, and outside porch and a further outside yard. The help was very nice but didn't seem to know too much about the beer itself.

i had the Red, the Golden (which is an IPA) and the Wheat. All were ok. I think the Red is the best for the style but the IPA was my favorite and a very decent IPA (I've had a lot worse). Nice building/pretty house.

I did not try the food but the menu seemed like most of the others on Key West. Lots of fish including the signature Key West Conch Fritters.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 2.5

I was down in the Keys with The Chauffeur1 contemplating the idea of order in Key West. Actually, I was contemplating beer and Kelly's beckoned, plus Greg said that he only had two requests for the trip - Key West and Nawlins. Being an accommodating sort... Ha! Like I needed an excuse. My contemplation was an allusion to one of the most famous poems by Wallace Sevens, who routinely came down to visit. It also represented an opportunity to continue to follow the footsteps of Papa Hemingway who routinely came to Key West. A real literary moment was in the llate 1920s/early 1930s when the two got into a one-punch fist fight on the beach over Hem's advances on Stevens' wife and Stevens laid the tough guy out on the beach and walked away shaking his head.

Back to the present. Kelly's was a massive complex that sat at the corner of Whitehead and Caroline Streets. The long patio entry was on Whitehead with the m.d.s. about ΒΌ of the way aft on right. The long, angular aluminum-topped bar was to the left and further aft, down a flight of stairs, was an outdoor patio area. The bar was pop-riveted to emulate an early airplane wing. Lavs were on right, past m.d.s., followed by the kitchen. The whole place was aviation themed with ceiling fans that looked like old prop turbines/motors. The front of the bar was corrugated aluminum with aluminum chairs. The patio area was enclosed by dense foliage, including palm trees and twisted ficus and banyan trees. Other than being the only b/p in the Keys, their other claims to fame were being the birthplace of Pan Am Airlines and being owned by Kelly McGillis of "Top Gun" fame. A second floor was accessible by stairs behind the m.d.s., leading to a set of bookshelves, a secondary bar, a private seating area, and a deck for overflow seating.

Beers: Havana Red Ale; Key West Golden Ale; and Southern Clipper Wheat. They were decent and beat most of what I had seen for sale in local stores.

Mom Test: Yeah. Why not? It's a tourist destination among other things.

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Photo of aaronh
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Located in the building where Pan-American airlines was founded, this "southernmost" brewpub was a nice find. On Whitehead street just a block off of Duval. Nice plane motif - one of the locals said it's owned by actress Kelly McGillis of Top Gun movie fame. Beer selection was average, but the $2 pints at happy hour are a nice bargain for decent beer in Key West. The outdoor seating area is very tropical, and the bar area is relaxing. Mostly football on the TV's since it was a Sunday afternoon. The IPA was a nice British-style. Would visit again if in Key West.

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Photo of spointon
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

Visited while on vacation last week.

Kelly's is a really cool indoor-outdoor place with its own line of beers brewed on premises. The vibe of thie place is all Key West, and I especially liked the airplane motif (The bar is located in the old Pan Am airline office building). The bar itself was made of riveted metal and looked like an aircraft fuselage. Cool.

The beers were so-so. Not great, but very drinkable nonetheless. The selection wasn't much though. Just three house brewed beers (an ok wheat, an ok IPA that was more like a pale ale, and a red/amber ale that was really unique). The bottle selection was all macros.

The food was also decent (we had conch fritters).

The service was pleasant and attentive. The bartender was happy to chat with us tourists and give us the scoop on Kelly McGillis the former owner and namesake.

All in all an ok bar in a place where craft beer is not celebrated much.

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Photo of HardcoreKeith
2.58/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.5

Cool place, very nice building. Service was not so good. We sat at a table about 5 feet from the bar for about 10 minutes before the bartender informed us, "There's no table service." No, "What can I get you? Here you go, I'll have to give it to you at the bar though," or, "Hi, I'm afraid I'll have to serve you up here at the bar," or anything. That's all. There's no table service. Well, I tell you what, there's hardly any service at all. Anyway, I went up to the bar and inquired about their microbrews. There were only three, and they were, as described to me by the bartender, in entirety, "A wheat, a red, and an IPA." I ordered two of each for my party.

They were ok. Very mild, muted, and subdued. The IPA seemed like maybe 30 IBU. American hops, but English style, I suppose. It was nice to have a fresh microbrew, but that's about the full extent of what I can say about the beers.

They have other light macros available in bottles. Being Key West though, the focus and precedence is on mixed frozen drinks, so expect that if you go here.

Positives: Their microbrews were only $2 for a goblet of what I estimate to be 8 to 10 ounces. I paid $12 for the round, which was friggin' amazing for Key West. It seemed like there were other good happy hour deals on mixed drinks available based on the chalkboard.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.13/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2

Nice historic building. Both indoor, and outdoor seating. Lots of palm treas line the outdoor area. Pretty comfortable all over.

When we stopped in, the had only 2 beers available, a wheat and a red. Neither were impressive. Both seemed dumbed down for the masses.

Service was good, they were quick to get our beers, and seemed friendly at the bar.

I can't comment on food, but for happy hour, they have wings that are only $4, and I hear they are some of the best on the island. Beers at happy hour were $2.

Overall, I was very disappointed. I was really looking forward to a brewpub, especially since I was tired of all of the usual suspects in Key West. Neither beer was a welcome relief. Maybe the food is good, and I may revisit when I go back, but still disappointed.

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Photo of rbowser
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5

Let's start by saying, this is the only brewpub in a town that has a lot going for it, but great beer is not currently a focus in Key West.
On the positive, this brewpub is in a beautiful historic building (the old PanAm headquarters) and it has a gorgeous outdoor seating area with palm trees. The service was solid and the bartender was friendly and prompt. They had three beers on tap, a Cascade forward IPA that was decent, a red ale, and a wheat beer. I only tried the IPA, which was decent, but really nothing competitive with an decent brewpub elsewhere. They also have all the regular macros (Miller Lite, Bud) etc. available by the bottle.
This is a nice option in Key West, just a block off of Duval, which makes a big difference as it is not so crazy. This really is more of a restaurant with some beers on tap that they make but do not expect much of a brewing focus.
If you really want to hit someplace that features beer in Key West then Finnegan's Wake beer bar in the Seaport area is the spot.
This restaurant, is relaxing, beautiful, and has some decent food, with a couple of hand crafted beers that while not great are decent. In Key West, this make Kelly's a beer oasis.

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First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery in Key West, FL
Brewery rating: 3.14 out of 5 with 55 ratings
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