Who was Captain Tony?

Captain Tony, also known as Tony Tarracino, was a colorful and well-known figure in Key West, Florida. He was a legendary character with a diverse background, including being a boat captain, saloon owner, and mayor of Key West. His full name was Anthony Tarracino, and he was born on August 10, 1916, in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Here are some key aspects of Captain Tony's life:

  1. Boat Captain: Before his time in Key West, Captain Tony worked as a charter boat captain in the Gulf of Mexico.

  2. Sloppy Joe's Bar: Captain Tony became associated with the famous Sloppy Joe's Bar, originally owned by Joe Russell. Captain Tony purchased the bar in 1978, and it continued to be a popular establishment on Duval Street in Key West.

  3. Historical Significance: The building that housed Captain Tony's Saloon (formerly Sloppy Joe's Bar) has historical significance. It was the original location of Sloppy Joe's, where Ernest Hemingway and his friends spent time. The bar is known for its eclectic decor and its connection to Key West's history.

  4. Mayor of Key West: Captain Tony Tarracino served as the mayor of Key West from 1989 to 1991. His time in office was marked by his charismatic and unconventional approach to leadership.

  5. Author: Captain Tony wrote an autobiography titled "Life Lessons of a Legend," where he shared anecdotes from his colorful life.

Captain Tony Tarracino passed away on November 1, 2008, but his legacy lives on in the history and lore of Key West. The bar he owned, Captain Tony's Saloon, remains a popular establishment in the city, known for its lively atmosphere and ties to the island's past.