While Anguilla is known for a lot of things, chiefly among them its beaches, dining options and A-list clientele, one part of everyday life in this latest Caribbean hotspot that doesn’t get much news is its beach bars. That’s where I come in. You see, beach bars are made for beaches, hence the word “beach” before the word “bar.” All the ones I have been to serve food and on Anguilla, many of the people preparing your meals at the beach bars honed their craft in the heat of the kitchens at the high end resorts that dot the shoreline or in some toney restaurant overseas. And A-list celebrities dig their beach bars. When they’re walking along the beach discussing the next big movie deal or looking for somewhere to kick back and relax, the bright sparkling lights at a beach bar will draw them like a moth to the flame. Without the whole being zapped to death thing. So while Anguilla does have plenty of sand, eats and stars, it also has some pretty awesome beach bars and these are the eight I would give my left arm to own. It’s pretty much useless anyway. And I only have one to give so first come, first served.
Gwen’s Reggae Bar
Gwen is like country radio’s Carrie Underwood – both ladies more than hold their own in a business dominated my males. She’s affable, she’s got a new location at the west end of Shoal Bay East, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and people can’t help but dance when they’re at her beach bar.
Uncle Ernie is no more but his beach bar on the other end of Shoal Bay East from Gwen’s isn’t going anywhere soon. It’s been here for a long time and thanks to low prices and strong drinks, it plans on showcasing the legacy of Ernie for years to come.
The Sunshine Shack
The Sunshine Shack is often just called “Garvey’s” and I feel disingenuous by not referring to it as Garvey’s Sunshine Shack. That was actually my first thought as I typed out the name of this classic throwback Caribbean beach bar on Rendezvous Bay. You see, the Sunshine Shack wouldn’t be the Sunshine Shack without Garvey. Spend an afternoon here liming with Garvey and by closing time, you’ll be begging your new best friend to take you home with him to continue the party. He’s just that cool.
The Dune Preserve
If you know beach bars, you know the Dune Preserve. Lorded over by Bankie Banx and on the other side of the Cuisinart from Garvey’s, the “Dune” has rightfully earned its spot at the top of many “best of beach bar” lists. Come for the legend, stay for the fun. A visit to Anguilla wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this adult play land. And then there’s that whole Moonsplash thing.
Elvis’ Beach Bar
Elvis is alive and well, thank you very much, and you can find him hanging out with his buddy and co-owner Brett at the north end of the beach at Road Bay in Sandy Ground. On a beach filled with bars and restaurants, not visiting this beach bar could result in you having your beach bar bum credentials revoked and that would be a bad bad thing.
The Beach Bar at Da’Vida Bayside Grill
Crocus Bay is downright gorgeous and there’s only one beach bar that sits on it. While it’s part of a larger complex, the beach bar is the only part I care about. It’s where I spent most of my time when we visited with only the siren sounds of Omari Banks pulling me away occasionally. That’s right – Omari and his band play here on Sunday afternoons. Need I say more?
Smokey’s at the Cove
The view of Cove Bay from Smokey’s is something you have to see for yourself. They also have a seldom used bar right on the beach that is just begging for someone to put it to good use. Heck, I’ll just take this little bar and they can keep the rest of it. I might only have to give up my left hand. How about a pinky toe?
Blanchards Beach Shack
Started a few years ago to give beach goers an opportunity to experience the mouthwatering goodness that is Blanchards Restaurant without changing out of their swimsuits, the Beach Shack has quickly become a popular spot on underrated Mead’s Bay. The lively colors will grab your attention but the food will keep you around long after you’ve ended the search for the authors of your favorite beach read. They already have a restaurant – surely they’d require less than my arm for the beach shack, right?