The Caribbean is one of the best regions in the world for beaches, and one of the best for cool bars. So it would make sense that two superlatives would meet up often.
Below are five great Caribbean beach bars. Our list includes one selection that is among Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite bars of any sort in the world . . .
Dune Preserve, Rendezvous Bay
There’s only one degree of separation between Kevin Bacon and the Dune Preserve bar on Rendezvous Bay—this is where the Hollywood star comes to play live music when he’s in Anguilla. But this ramshackle bar set in the sand dunes and constructed of driftwood and material scavenged from shipwrecks is not cool because it attracts celebrities. It is cool because it is a ramshackle bar in the sand dunes made from driftwood and shipwrecks. And because the Dune Preserve also doubles as the home of reggae artist Bankie Banx. And because it has one of the best music scenes in the whole of the Caribbean. Of course, being right on the beach and serving up cold beers helps too.
British Virgin Islands
Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke
On Jost Van Dyke, along a beautiful stretch of sand and nestled up against a palm tree ridden hill, sits the Soggy Dollar Bar. Time was that the only way to get here was by boat. With the introduction of the road between Great Harbor and White Bay it is now possible to drive to the Soggy Dollar. Still, the majority of bar guests arrive by boat and swim to shore (which means the majority guests are shoeless and in their bathing suits). No matter the manner of your arrival you’ll find this cool bar a haven from the stress of modern civilization.
Pelican Bar, off of Treasure Beach
Does it count as a “beach bar” if there’s water between the bar and the beach below? We weren’t about to get caught up in semantics and leave the Pelican off Caribbean beach bar list—it is one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite watering holes in the entire world.
The Pelican Bar is perched on stilts about 800 yards/meters off of Treasure Beach not far from high value, high cool-factor Jake’s Resort (click here to read our resort review). The only practical way to get to the Pelican is by boat, yet the water around the Pelican is not deep—shallow enough for most adults to stand up in.
As for the bar itself, it is made of bamboo and palm tree leafs. There are a few hammocks strung between sections of it. Most bar patrons hang out on one them, on the little boat dock, or in the main sheltered bar area.
The Pelican is an absolute must when in the greater Treasure Beach area. But if you are traveling in the rainy season check the weather report before you head out—the Pelican’s roof is not exactly water proof.
Rick’s Cafe, Negril
Set above, and below, a cliff on Negril beach, Rick’s is most famous for its sunsets. But this is a cool place to visit before, and after, the sun goes down too.
During the day the prime attraction is the ocean pool formed by the concave cliffs around Rick’s. Divers, both expert locals and drunk tourists, make the plunge from the trees above the cliffs some 20 meters (65 feet) above the ocean. Rick’s serves meals during this time; the thatched roof cabanas around the pool around the pool are the prime seats.
At night, Rick’s serves an early dinner before morphing into the sort of reggae nightclub. The crowd here skews young, especially during the American college spring break season, but the older among you won’t feel totally out of place. Rick’s, fortunately, is still more about chilling out than it is being part of a scene.
For 15 minutes at the border of night and day people’s voices quiet to whisper as all eyes turn westwards across the oceans. There’s a reason why the sunsets here are famous.
Turks & Caicos
Infiniti Bar, Grace Bay Resort
The longest bar in the Caribbean is also one of the coolest. The 28 meter (90 foot) long Infiniti Bar stretches its black marble from the restaurant at the Grace Bay Club all the way to (and, seemingly, into) the ocean. The bar is the most active in the evening though it is a great place to hang out during the day when it is covered by what we assume is the Caribbean’s long canopy.
Not incidentally, the Grace Cay Club is a cool place to stay for more reasons than the Infiniti Bar. This elegant Spanish-style villa sits on one of the best beaches in the Turks & Caicos.
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Have a great Caribbean beach bar to add to our list? The comments section awaits.