OJ’s Beach Bar, located on the soutwest coast of Antigua, has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, when anyone asks me about beach bars to visit in Antigua, I always include OJ’s. When Ian Corks from Seasoned Traveler reached out to me about submitting an article about it, I couldn’t say “yes” quick enough. Judging by Ian’s article, I’m guessing he’s as big a fan of it as I am.
It had been eight, maybe 10 years since our last visit to OJ’s on Antigua’s beautiful west coast. I remember that we were doing a bit of a bar crawl along Darkwood and Turners beaches. We visited a few establishments, but kept coming back to OJ’s. Strange thing was that exactly the same thing had happened on our last visit to Antigua a few years previous. The place obviously had something.
Both of those trips had involved a bit of a slog from where we were staying. This time we were lucky enough to be at a hotel (Keyonna Beach) literally five minutes up the beach from OJ’s. I was anxious to get back to OJ’s, but just as anxious about how the place had fared over the years – especially the last two.
No worries. OJ’s is certainly a bit bigger than before, but it’s still a killer of a beach bar! First of all, there’s the beach. A great stretch of powdery white sand that stretches off in both directions. The warm, shallow water is perfect for cooling off between rounds. And OJ’s stands out on its section of the beach, not crowded by close neighbours. (A bit of a walk north and you’ll find the upscale Jacqui O’s, a relative newcomer and also worth a visit).
That sense of space also permeates through the interior/exterior of OJ’s. You can choose from well spaced tables, inside, on the deck or on the sand. Or you can climb the few stairs to the breezy second floor for an even better view. And if, for some inexplicable reason, you forget you are at a beach bar, the décor will soon remind you. The place is liberally festooned with the appropriate flotsam and jetsam: old fishing nets, battered buoys, shells, strings of coral, driftwood and more.
Local Wadadli beer, the aptly named OJ’s Knock-Out Rum Punch and a range of Antiguan and imported rums and spirits will satisfy most visitors. Food is good, simple but tasty Antiguan fare, strong on the grill and fresh seafood. The background tunes were a funky mix of island beats, soul and 70’s classics (live music is featured on weekends). Staff are even friendlier than I remember. Overall, it’s just a terrific beach bar vibe.
Suffice it to say, I’m still a fan of OJ’s. In fact, even more so. We managed to fit in a couple of visits during our stay. It’s been a challenging couple of years for so many people. My own journey has been a particularly rough one. It just feels so good to be able to just sit and chill at a great place like OJ’s again.
About the author
An award-winning health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto, Ian Corks now edits a travel website focused on the Caribbean at www.seasonedtraveler.ca. He is a cancer fighter, certified beach bar aficionado and reviewer.