DANIEL (DANI) GILBERT
Tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in Miami, and I am of Cuban heritage. I work as a local bartender for Island House (www.islandhousekeywest.com).
How long have you been living in Key West?
I have been a Key West local for a little over nine years.
What influenced your decision to move here?
I was offered the opportunity to move to Key West by the new owners of the Alexander’s Guesthouse (www.alexanderskeywest.com). They wanted to remodel and upgrade the guesthouse to the boutique status that it has today.
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
There are many amazing restaurants located on this wonderful island, but if I have to choose, my Top 3 would be:
1. Point 5 (www.915duval.com/point5) located upstairs at the restaurant 915. Point 5 has amazing views from its second story wraparound porch, great food, amazing drinks, a cool lounge feel, and the staff is 5 stars! Heather, Andy, and Agnese will make you feel like you’re a local.
2. Azur (www.azurkeywest.com), in the heart of Old Town. Come hungry because you’ll want to try everything. Their Sunday brunch is all the rage, with their Azur eggs benedict and bottomless mimosas.
3. El Mocho (www.facebook.com/ElMochoKeyWest), the last authentic Cuban restaurant left on the island. They are still owned by the same family and the original owner still cooks. I’m taken back to my young days in my own grandma’s kitchen. Its located on stock island, but well worth the Uber/car ride.
What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors?
Key West is full of history and culture. There are so many things to see and do. As a person who loves historical culture, there are a few must sees while in Key West. The Oldest House & Garden Museum (www.oirf.org) is exactly what it’s name says it t is, the oldest house left on the island after many fires and hurricanes. The Key West Lighthouse (www.kwahs.org) in front of The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum (www.hemingwayhome.com) is another great spot. The views from the top are amazing. And last but not least, the Dry Tortugas (www.drytortugas.com) are just beautiful and breathtaking.
A friend is coming to Key West for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
Planning a perfect weekend for friends and family for the first time I would choose what Key West is best known for, water adventures. Take the ferry out to the Dry Tortugas (www.drytortugas.com), or charter a boat to go out for a day on the water. Next would be watching the sunset from Mallory Square (www.mallorysquare.com). Then a night of great food at Point 5 (www.915duval.com/point5) and bar hopping, ending the night at Mr. Z’s (www.mrzscheesesteaks.com) for a slice of pizza. Then finishing the weekend with a great Azur (www.azurkeywest.com) brunch, a stroll down Duval Street, and ending at La Te Da (www.lateda.com) for tea dance.
What are the best places to enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (www.fortzacharytaylor.com) has the best natural setting and beaches, but a boat trip out to Woman Key (www.floridakeys.noaa.gov/zones/wmas/womankey.html) will show you the riches this destination is known for.
What is your favorite time of year in Key West and why?
Key West always has beautiful weather and is a destination that People love to visit throughout the year. But if I was to choose a time of year, it would be April/May. There are less crowds then, the days are warm, and the spring nights makes it ideal.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
There are many things you can bring back to share with your friends and family, but I would say my favorite is Key Lime Pie. Many places will mail you a pie, or two or three! Making it the sweetest gift you can give to anyone.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Key West without…
Don’t leave Key West without having a day on the water and watching our world famous sunsets.