USA – Key West, Conch Republic // Licence to Kill (1989)
Key West is known as an amusement galore – full of bars, water sports and adventures. But at a certain sea food restaurant, once the fish turned the tide.
Why Bond was here
After James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and his US aide Felix Leiter (David Hedison) hunted down drug king pin Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), the latter escapes and takes a terrible revenge. His men abduct Leiter from his wedding and bring him to an old fish warehouse owned by Sanchez’ henchman Milton Crest in Key West. In the basement, a pool with a juvenile white shark is hidden. Leiter gets lowered down on a hook – later on Bond finds his friend next to his raped and killed wife. Leiter is close to death, with a note on his chest: “He disagreed with something that ate him.”
The Crest aquarium was once a large warehouse known as “Fish House No. 4”, and is now the sea food restaurant Conch Republicright at the Yacht harbor of Key West.
The United States’ southernmost point can be reached by air, by land or by sea. The Key West International Airport is connected to the Miami International. Flights are leaving Miami daily and take about 45 minutes for around 200 US-Dollars one-way.
Another option is driving with a rental car or taking a bus tour from Miami along Highway No. 1 – who was featured in the hunt on Sanchez at the opening scene. Almost every big car rental company is available in Miami, offering weekend packages with cars for 45$/day and unlimited miles. Easier is going by bus, e.g. Greyhound, starting from Miami for roughly 100 US-Dollars both ways. Or go by boat, e.g. Key West Express, leaving Miami around 6pm, dancing through the night at one of the few bars and clubs in Key West, and indulging in a great sunrise on the way back to Miami. Tickets for the boat rides must be purchased some days in advance and range about 120 US-Dollar for both ways.
Once at Key West, start at Mallory Square and walk along the marina on Front Street till the northern end, the Conch Republic is then to the right.
Good to know
Still fancy fish? Key West is a good place to go snorkeling, diving or – to stay dry – board a glass-bottom-boat or do a dolphin encounter. Numerous agencies offer trips at Mallory Square or along the waterfront. The water at the Keys is a crisp turquoise, allowing beautiful views on the fish-filled Florida Reef. Prices range from 40 US-Dollar for snorkeling trips up to 100 US-Dollar for dolphin tours. See Best on Key West for a list of agencies. For a non-touristic and more educational experience, check out the work of the Key-based Dolphin Research Center. The center does actual research on the behavior of both dolphins and sea lions and displays its work in regular education sessions. Admission is 28 US-Dollar for the whole day.
After a little stroll along the neighboring flea market on Caroline Street we came in for some sea food salads. The food was nice – but we hope, it didn’t come from the aquarium tanks, that were lined up in the restaurant. The coral fish in them looked a little pale around their fins.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1989 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)