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9 Caribbean Bars that are Serving Seriously Creative Cocktails and Food

Renovated resorts, talented chefs, and brilliant local mixologists are stirring up the excitement in some of our favorite tropical destinations.

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Mango Mai Tai
Everyone loves to “discover” a creative cocktail like the Mango Mai Tai at Sandals Royal Bahamian. Sandals Royal Bahamian

If the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that a lot of travelers are going to be in for huge surprises when they return to their favorite Caribbean islands. So many properties and businesses have taken time and poured considerable resources into renovations and expansions, which means there are even more options for incredible vacations across every island. 

And when it comes to food and drinks, many of these places don’t get the credit they deserve for their ingenuity in developing unique menus that are jam-packed with concoctions that are as fun to look at as they are to eat and sip. Best of all, local culture, history, and ingredients play a huge role in all of this, so it can be as educational as it is delicious.

Need some help loading your itineraries? Here are nine Caribbean bars that are already the talk of the town. Some we have recently visited, and some, well, we might just be sitting on the bar stool next to you, trying our first treat. Either way, it’s time to be excited.

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Mr. B’s Bar, Sandals Royal Bahamian

Guava Bubbles
The benefit of ordering a drink as pretty as the Guava Bubbles is it looks nice in every photo. Sandals Royal Bahamian

Speaking of major renovations, Sandals Royal Bahamian is ready to show off the astounding results of a $55 million makeover, and while it’s not the main draw, the new Mr. B’s Bar is going to mean a lot to this brand’s immensely loyal guests. Mr. B is, of course, the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the visionary who turned two run-down Jamaican hotels into an all-inclusive empire built on surpassing a guest’s every expectation.

Adorned with old photos of Stewart, this modern yet unmistakably Caribbean hangout showcases a variety of incredible new cocktails with delightful names, from the Guava Bubbles (above) to the Banana Bread Old Fashioned. But no visit will be complete without Mr. B’s Old Fashioned, which is infused with local coffee bitters. It’s perfect for toasting the man, the myth, and the legend.

And for cocktails with a view, venture outdoors to Sandals Royal Bahamian’s new Bar at Coconut Grove, serving up cocktails as colorful as they are tropical, like the Dragon in the Coconut and Mango Mai Tai (top).

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Zala Gastro Lounge, Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort

zala cocktail
Colorful, creative cocktails like the Par’i Mondi make this lobby bar a very popular spot. Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort

To say that Curaçao’s culinary scene is booming would be an understatement—the food here has always been amazing. Between the spectacular Truk’i Pans, the swaggerific restaurants popping up throughout downtown Willemstad, and even the iguana soup at Immanuel Place, a visitor could spend weeks enjoying the best meals without repeating venues. So, it says a lot that Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort’s Zala Gastro Lounge is viewed by visitors and locals as a place to be.

If the purpose for swinging by is simply to enjoy a few cocktails before hitting the town, people will be thrilled by the delicious simplicity of the Fresku and Par’i Mondi cocktails—and they’ll also love the showmanship that comes with ordering a Smokey Jack or Den Numbia. But don’t sleep on the food. This an island that needs to be visited with a healthy appetite, because the Pollo Mechada Arepitas and Crispy Brussel Sprouts are the kinds of bar snacks that’ll change a person’s expectations of appetizers forever.

Bklyn, Curaçao

Brooklyn Rumble
No sleep til Brooklyn and don’t sleep on this Bklyn, where guests can sip a Brooklyn Rumble while admiring the stellar wall art. Islands

Downtown Willemstad’s restaurant scene deserves its own feature story (and will have it very soon) because the efforts and creations of the island’s brightest young minds cannot be overstated, especially as they persevered through multiple lockdowns. One shining example is the uber-hip Bkyln, for which the owner draws inspiration from New York City’s hip-hop and rap culture in everything from the cocktails to the wallpaper (designed by Mike D of the Beastie Boys and available on Flavor Paper).

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Every cocktail on this menu should be tried, but for visitors who love the culture vibes, the obvious choices are the Brooklyn Rumble and especially the Lil’ Kim. Don’t let the name of the latter fool you—just like the pint-sized rapper, this cocktail packs a mean punch. And it pairs oh-so-well with the magnificent bao buns and pan ku patu.

Shellona, St. Barth

skirt steak
Beware the Captain Barbosa cocktail, as this bourbon and cucumber delight is deceptively refreshing. Islands

There isn’t an amenity, experience, or square inch of Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf that disappoints, and that certainly includes Fouquet’s, the on-site restaurant and bar, which is one of the best places for a cocktail on an island that constantly redefines extravagance. If it’s not the view or the amazing food, it’s the edible perfume that is sprayed on top of the drink for an extra special flavor enhancer. 

But the other spot that must be visited is a short walk down the hill, right beside the intimate Shell Beach. In fact, Shellona is named for its ideal location, and it is also where hotel guests can stop in for arguably the most creative cocktails on St. Barth. Bold flavors highlight the signature selections on this awesome menu, and each drink pairs oh so well with everything from the mini mahi mahi tacos to the mouth-watering chimichurri steak.

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Dutch Blonde Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Dutch Blonde
Enjoy a round of the Caribbean’s best beer while enjoying a beach breeze or trying to solve the clues to bring about a mobster’s demise. Islands

Cocktails aren’t for everyone, and sometimes a weary traveler just wants a delicious beer with views for days. In that case, Dutch Blonde Beach Bar is not only located on stunning Great Bay Beach in Philipsburg, but it also serves the best beer in the Caribbean. Dutch Blonde Ale earned that distinction when it was awarded a silver medal at the 2021 London Beer Competition, besting all other entries from this tropical region. But if you need our expert opinion: it is absolutely delicious.

The food is also fantastic, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg here. Owner and founder Sunil Vaswani is one of the island’s most enthusiastic and optimistic creators, so he doesn’t just want to serve great beer—he wants to provide experiences. Right now, that includes St. Maarten’s first and only escape room (at which I hold the record time) that will soon expand with new themes, and it’ll eventually be joined by a speakeasy. Big things are happening here.

Caribar, Caribe Hilton Puerto Rico

caribar
The birthplace of the piña colada should be on every cocktail lover’s travel wish list. Caribe Hilton

Almost 70 years ago, a bartender named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero messed with some cocktail ingredients and inadvertently became a hospitality G.O.A.T. His new welcome beverage for the Caribe Hilton was non-alcoholic, but it was the foundation of what would become one of the most beloved cocktails ever made: the piña colada. Naturally, the history of the drink alone makes the hotel’s Caribar one of the island’s must-visit establishments.

Obviously, there are other drinks to enjoy here, but anyone who loves to experience local culture and history will appreciate the chance to taste the evolution of the piña colada. And it’s not just at this hotel. The great location means it’s just minutes from some of Old San Juan’s best bars and restaurants, where bright young minds are also serving up new twists on the classic cocktail.

Monkey Business, Resorts World Bimini

cocktails and seafood
Cold cocktails and fresh seafood is everyone’s favorite form of monkeying around. Resorts World Bimini

Between establishments like Stuart’s (a go-to for conch and lobster) and Edith’s Pizza (where lobster is an amazing pie topping), Bimini is one of the more underrated spots for Bahamian cuisine. That makes Resorts World Bimini an ideal base for exploring and appreciating the regional perks, but don’t forget to enjoy one of the best spots at this sprawling property: the Monkey Business rooftop bar.

Of course, it’s impossible to skip when it’s located right next to the rooftop infinity pool, which boasts phenomenal panoramic views of Bimini Bay. This is best done while enjoying the bar’s signature cocktail, the rum-and-fruit-juice Shark Tooth, and a big plate of loaded jerk chicken fries.

Tiki and Co., Bonaire

tiki and co
Step inside for a lesson in local culture and incredibly creative cocktails. Elliott Howell

Fun fact: Bonaire isn’t just for cruise ships and divers. Like its neighbor Curaçao, Bonaire is also experiencing a culinary renaissance, and the coolest spot on the island might just be Tiki and Co. The tropical glassware alone makes it worth the visit, as travelers don’t find too many opportunities to drink from skulls of various sizes and artistic stylings.

Sir Eddy Trenidad returned home to Bonaire to open this bar and make it a cultural institution, teaching guests about his island as they enjoy epic cocktails like the Pandan Banana Colada, Stairway to Ku, and Oaxacan ‘n Talking. And if all goes to plan, his bar will crack the list of the 100 best in the world, proving to everyone that Bonaire is the real deal.

Sky Bar, Sandals Royal Barbados

sky bar
Guests won’t want to leave the infinity pool for long, but it’s worth it. Sandals Royal Barbados

One more round for Mr. B! Not only does this new Sky Bar at Sandals Royal Barbados offer the best views of the St. Lawrence Gap, but it is also a fantastic place to enjoy Sandals’ new 40th anniversary cocktail list. A new twist on a classic drink is nothing mind blowing, but everyone will love having the chance to sip the old and new, side by side, to see just how far we’ve come in terms of creativity.

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