Sweeping changes at Simonton Beach are ushering in a new era and inviting local residents back to the small, sandy beach at the north end of Simonton Street, where clear water and a sandy bottom combine to offer a satisfying downtown public swimming area. But the area has long been a homeless hangout, often keeping would-be beachgoers away.
The city of Key West offered the space for lease and solicited proposals for beach businesses that would increase activity in the area.
Lagerheads Beach Bar and Watersports is that business, and the venture will celebrate a grand opening from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday.
The food concession, outdoor lounge, and watersports destination at Simonton Beach, will become the only beach bar on the north side of the island that is open to the public.
The eatery, managed by Randy Larsen and Andrea Secson will serve beer, wine, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, cheese steaks, and soups such as cheddar ale and steak ale.
"We are going to offer box lunches and delivery to anyone in Key West, including people going out on charter boats," Secson said. "And of course we're happy to cater parties or any other type of function."
Lagerheads is the brainchild of Key West businessman Rick Spencer, owner of Spencer's Boatyard.
The Key West entrepreneur has completed renovations of the food service area and bathrooms at the beach, and has added new sand and landscaping. Beach chairs and umbrellas will be available for rent, and a wide variety of watersports activities will be offered to the public.
"Our business model for the watersports are to offer shorter duration trips at an affordable price." Spencer said. "We are giving the beach back to the community."
Water excursions will include a two-hour fishing trip in the harbor and surrounding areas, as well as snorkeling, eco- tours, and dolphin-watching trips.
A boat ride through the harbor will leave from the Simonton Street dock every hour, on the hour, during the day.
"We will also offer private charters as well as boat rentals, paddle boards and kayaks," Spencer said. "Snorkel equipment along with rods and reels will also be available for rent."
Spencer added that Lagerheads will become an active member of the community, hosting weddings and special events such as fundraisers for local non-profits.
For more information, call 305-440-2906 or stop by 1 Simonton St. Monday afternoon to re-discover one of the island's best little beaches.