In the summer of 1998,Don and Carolyn Jenkins and Don and Stephanie Manaher purchased a bar on the corner of Truman Avenue and Grinnell St from the Parks family. Don Jenkins, a corporate attorney from Chicago, and Don Manaher, a newspaper publisher from Indiana, had decided they were finished with midwest winters, nine to five jobs, and suits and ties, so they brought their familes to Key West. Known to most Conchs as Che Che’s Bar, the bar quickly became Dons’ Place after the two Dons. Local cab drivers soon nicknamed the place “The Million Dollar Bar,” in reference to the selling price. At first it was a joke. ” People thought we were nuts to pay that much for the place, but it soon proved to be a good buy.”
Since that summer of 1998, Dons’ Place has grown into one of Key West’s favorite locals’ bars. At first, the bar and attached liqour store were a family affair four of the five Jenkins children and all of the Manaher daughters working in some capacity alongside their parents to make the new venture work. David Jenkins, the oldest of the Jenkins children, worked as the contractor overseeing the renovations of the original bar, enlarging it and making the liquor store smaller.
Dons’ Place wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of the communty. For that reason, the bar has always been willing to support local causes, charities, and provide opportunities for fundraising.
Dons’ Place has also been providing free food to its numerous football fan customers who gather every Sunday to watch their favorite teams on one of the 19 televisions. Family friend, Dave K , has been the chef behind the grill and the customers all bring some kind of delightful dish to share. The football Sunday cookouts have been a mainstay at Dons’ since the beginning.
Dons’ Place is open seven days a week from 7:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the morning. It consists of a full inside bar with a pool table, ten television sets, dart board, and juke box. The liquor store provides beer, wine, and liquor for the neighborhood patrons and provides special orders and large orders for parties. The outside tiki bar has nine televisions for sports, ping pong, and corn hole. It also serves in othe capacities. It has been rented for birthday parties, weddings and receptions, local fundraisers, and even a couple of baby showers.