Looking for License Plates

It’s a fact of life that when Rhode Islanders travel, whether it’s to New Hampshire, or New Guinea, they inevitably run into…other Rhode Islanders. In my case, I’m not finding other Rhode Islanders while I’m on vaca; I’m encountering their license plates. Turns out many of them have fetched up in the Florida Keys as a different kind of colorful bar décor, presumably left behind by their owners as a reminder of little Rhody.
Take Snapper’s, for example, a fun and very retro tiki bar in Key Largo, where Rhode Island plate “F 47,” basic white and blue circa 1980, is wedged in along the ceiling among the plates from Kentucky, Texas and Virginia, as well as one from the Yukon, and another from the Northwest Territories in the shape of a bear.
A hundred miles further south, in Key West, Capt Tony’s Saloon, Hemingway’s favorite dark and divey hangout in the thirties, is similarly crammed with plates. But the motherlode, it turns out, is the Half Shell Raw Bar, a casual waterfront resto and one-time Key West shrimp-packing plant. There are hundreds here, but these Rhody ones caught my eye: “EJT,” “SOLD 1,” and “SOLD U 1.” (Sound familiar? Is one of them yours?)
If, on your travels, you’ve donated a plate as a bar souvenir, tell us about it here, and next time we venture out of state, we’ll be on the lookout and report back.