591 South Collier Boulevard, Marco
591 South Collier Boulevard
Bartender Gidget Hastings loves serving up Mai Tai’s behind the bar on Marco Island. “Dark rum. Light rum. Tropical juices shaken to perfection. Topped with a pineapple cherry garnish. It’s smooth, but it has a nice punch to it,” Hastings explained of the drink.
But traditional specialty cocktails served at the Cathy O’Clarke’s Irish Pub and Grille and the adjoining Fat Pelican include Irish car bombs, Irish coffee and mojitos. The bartenders use homemade cream in the Jameson-spiked coffee and real sugar cubes in the mojitos. And owner Mel Slawik encourages patrons to try the homemade powdered sugar doughnuts to dip in the Irish coffee.
Mondays through Fridays, customers enjoy happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., which include a rotating specialty drink and two-for-one domestics and wells. Happy hour food includes 75-cent oysters on the half shell, fresh and shucked.
Every night in season, the pub offers Irish entertainment. And, being an Irish pub strong in traditions of all kinds, they welcomed Hastings’ tradition of wearing hats. She’s got a collection of about 1,500 to prove it. It started at a country bartending gig at the age of 18, with someone complimenting the way she looked behind the bar donning a hat.
“Customers started bringing me hats. It just sort of took off,” Hastings said.
Over the years, she’s become known for it and receives hats of every kind from all over the globe.
“I’m a walking hat rack,” Hastings said.
General manager Debra Day loves the tradition.
“We’re creating fun at Cathy’s,” Day said. “That’s what people on vacation are all about — the locals, too.