Situated in the heart of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, opportunities for exhilarating blue water sailing in steady trade winds have attracted sailors to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua for centuries. Apart from the near-perfect sailing conditions and peaceful anchorages, Antigua is adorned with 365 dazzlingly white, picturesque beaches, one for every day of the year.
After you’ve dropped anchor in Deep Bay and snorkelled around Antigua’s vibrant sea floors, or wandered through the cosmopolitan city of St Johns, it’s time to unwind with a refreshing cocktail on Antigua’s beautiful white sands. Read on to see our top 7 best beach bars, so you can start planning your ultimate getaway.
1. Bodog Beach Club, Jolly Harbour
Brace yourself for one of the warmest Caribbean welcomes at Bodog’s Beach Club, formerly Castaways on the Beach, on Jolly Harbour’s strip in St. Mary’s Parish. Watch the sunset over the glistening sands and wash down your spicy jerk chicken or fresh lobster tails with the best coconut rum infused Caribbean Breeze cocktails and pirate punch for a night you won’t forget.
2. Beach Bum Bar & Café, Half Moon Bay
We think it’s safe to say that life is a beach in Antigua, and what better way to enjoy it than at Beach Bum Bar & Cafe. The simple open-air beachside bar/restaurant is a perfect place for a light lunch, with Caribbean-style burgers and homemade rum punch. This little spot is off the main tourist attractions, but well worth the visit.
3. Ana’s, Dickenson Bay
If you’re looking for the most exquisite air-conditioned beachfront cabana, look no further than Ana’s restaurant and art gallery. Make unforgettable moments with family and friends overlooking the horizon and on towards Antigua’s beautiful neighbouring islands. Serving primarily Mediterranean cuisine you can choose from their tipsy tenderloin with cognac, salt fish tortellini in calcots sauce or a Neptune’s platter for two, while enjoying an Antigua Smile – a cavalier rum-based cocktail mixed with pineapple juice and crème de banana.
4. OJ’s Bar, Crabbe Hill Beach
For the most iconic Caribbean setting, nowhere ticks these chilled-out reggae vibe boxes better than OJ’s Bar on Crabbe Hill Beach. Located just a stone’s throw away from Starfish Jolly Beach, OJ’s Bar is the best place to go to watch coral coloured sunsets on a rickety wooden deck hung with rope balustrades, vibrant coloured fishing nets and buoys that only add to the wonderfully relaxed vibe. We’d recommend tucking into their house speciality, the red snapper that comes with coleslaw and creole French fries. The cinnamon-scented rum punch is also a must-try.
5. Lydia’s, Jolly Beach Resort
To fully experience all the wonderful flavours of the Caribbean, no trip to Antigua is complete without a pit stop at Lydia’s bar and restaurant for the evening. With a direct view overlooking the bay, Lydia’s offers a tantalising seafood menu that’s sure to whet anyone’s appetite. From its creamy coconut shrimp and sizzling codfish fritters, the main delight is their fresh catch of the day, served in delicious citrus butter. On Sundays, head there for one of the best Antiguan-style buffets and live steel band music.
6. Jacqui O’s Beach House, Crab Hill Beach
Delivering tantalising modern French cuisine and fresh cocktails, Jacqui O’s Beach House is a great hidden gem on Antigua’s golden south-west coast. With high tables at the bar, picnic tables and sun-loungers, this restaurant is perfect for that relaxing afternoon lunch, unwinding with cocktails on the beach, or for that romantic dinner at candlelight on their deck. Working closely with Antiguan farmers and local fisherman, Jacqui O’s keeps their menu’s fresh, with recent highlights being their Rock Fish Bouillabaisse with Purple Mashed Potato, Pineapple Gazpacho and Mahi-Mahi ceviche.
7. Kon Tiki Bar and Grill
If you’re looking for something a bit different, tear yourself away from that towel and visit the floating bar of Kon Tiki offers that little slice of Caribbean paradise and adventure. Named after Thor Heyerdahl’s 1940’s expedition from the shores of South America, this swim-up cocktail bar offers a great selection of Tiki-inspired cocktails and rum punches, a firm new favourite with the locals and regulars in Antigua.
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