and hilarity combine at Schooner Wharf’s Battle of the Bars
The battle lines are
drawn for the 17th Annual Schooner Wharf Battle of the Bars, where
from local watering holes and eateries compete in a hilarious relay
race that each year raises thousands of dollars for two local
The showdown begins at
high noon on Sunday, Aug. 1 at Schooner Wharf Bar, and there’s still
time to enter a team or make plans to watch. Old rivalries resurface
and new ones emerge, while an enthusiastic and generous crowd
watches the explosive action.
popular and fiercely competitive event tests the pouring, serving
and drinking skills of the island’s best, while raising money for
two deserving local charities.
Teams of seven
“soldiers” from bars and restaurants race through a chaotic relay
race while mixing a margarita and serving it to a team member, who
must down it before other teammates continue the race by sorting
recyclables, tapping a keg and chugging a beer.
The teams race against
the clock and each other, and if their times didn’t qualify them for
the next round, they’re encouraged to bribe the judges in order to
be allowed another chance on the battlefield.
Some teams spend many
months raising money in a variety of ways to bolster their bribery
funds, and since the event began, the Battle of the Bars has raised
$191,658 for various local charities. Last year’s Battle raised a
whopping $26,060, which was split between Easter Seals and the local
Service workers now
have the opportunity to help each other – and possibly themselves.
All proceeds from this year’s Battle will benefit the Sister Season
Fund and the Key West Wildlife Center. This year’s charities are
very excited to be recipients of the Battle proceeds.
“What better way for
locals to help locals,” said SSF Board Member Barbara Ramey. “The
fund assists those in the food, beverage, hospitality, and tourism
volunteer group helps service industry workers pay utility bills,
rents or mortgages during unavoidable hardships.
The wildlife center,
located at Indigenous Park rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick
and injured wild birds, and last year treated 1,100 winged patients.
“Although we do our
very best for the wild birds in the Lower Keys, we could always do
better, by improving our facility to aid in helping our feathered
friends,” said Director Michelle Anderson.
Competition is fierce
in this annual confrontation. In addition to the official winners of
the Battle, prizes are also awarded for Deepest Pockets (most money
raised by a single team) and Most Outrageous Team Costumes.
Bragging rights for
the winning team last all year – and are the most coveted of awards.
The Raw Bar Rowdies will be looking for their fifth consecutive win.
“We know the
competition is going to be tough but we’re not going to let that
daunt us,” said Raw Bar Captain Stacey Schaaf. “Bring ‘em on – the
more the merrier – and more money for two good causes!”
But Cowboy Bill’s is
out for revenge. Bill’s Bootleggers took Second Place last year, and
are itching for the 2010 trophy.
The team is also one
of the most generous, and last year tied with Irish Kevin’s for the
Deepest Pockets award. The two teams raised a total of $11,000 for
last year’s charities.
“We were robbed last
year with second place,” said “Cowboy” Bill Larose. “This year we
want First Place and the glory. Everybody watch out, ‘cause we’re
rarin’ to go."
Erin Hoffay, veteran
team member of Irish Kevin’s Gaelic Bangers, said, "I even postponed
my vacation to make the Battle of the Bars! It is so much fun! We’re
planning on taking the trophy for deepest pockets and also fastest
team this year!
“We started collecting
money several months ago for bribes. We’re selling shamrocks; also,
if you say a certain word, you have to contribute $1. Our customers
also get involved. The first month the word was "shots" -- lots of
dollars were raised then! It’s fun and it makes work fun too.
“We’ll have an Irish
themed costume again this year. We’re very much looking forward to
it, it’s a great day!"
But the TGI Friday’s
team, “Blood, Sweat and Beers,” wants to move up in the ranks from
its Third Place finish last year, and the combat training has been
“We’re holding the
crew captive until they pass the agility test,” said TGI Friday’s
General Manager John Hines. “We're stopping at nothing to make sure
we do well – including torture and withholding paychecks.”
Teams have been
holding unique fundraisers to stuff their bribery pockets, while
designers from each team are working up clever costumes to rival
last year’s Most Outrageous Costume winners, Sebago’s Southernmost
All-day drink specials
on Three Olives Vodka, 1800 Tequila margaritas and Michelob Ultra
drafts will keep the crowd refreshed, and their wallets well-oiled
for donations. Popular emcees Bill Hoebee and Frank Everhart
contribute to the good times with color commentary and play-by-play
It’s not too late for
teams to enter the town’s most riotous competition. The $35 entry
fee covers all seven team members and each competitor receives a
free T-shirt. Sign up today to get your team name printed on the
Everyone is invited to
come watch the waterfront action – all in the name of charity.
“I love seeing all the
bar and restaurant staff rallying together for good causes,” said
Schooner Wharf owner and Battle organizer Evalena Worthington. “The
competition is heated, but the teams’ generosity and genuine desire
to help their community is equally exciting to see, and every year I
am impressed with the people in this industry.”
For more information
or to enter your team, pick up a form at Schooner Wharf or call
292-3773 or 292-3302.