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If God set out to create the quintessential Keys dive, She would probably come up with the Half Shell. Located on the water at Key West Bight, this former shrimp processing plant has all the funky charm of any world-class dive. The walls of the scruffy-looking bar are plastered with license plates from around the world, seating is at picnic tables scattered about the cavernous dining room (with a handful of tables overlooking the water), and the only air conditioning is from the ocean breezes and lazily revolving overhead fans. The food can be uneven, but the good dishes are great. Begin with an oyster shooter -- an ample bivalve, pepper vodka, and cocktail sauce -- and then move on to a peppery clam chowder, spicy beer-steamed shrimp, rich and gooey oysters Rockefeller, and plump steamed clams.
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