Beach bar is a phrase that conjures up an array of individual and personalized images. For some, it might be a tiny little shack sitting right along the sands and shaded by a few local palms. For others, the perfect beach bar is one that features plenty of seating and a promise of amazing sea and/or sunset views. It is also a spot with a signature drink or two, maybe some good food and staff that knows just how to offer the right blend of service and warmth.

However, even though it could be easily argued that a perfect beach bar is going to vary from person to person, there are five fabulous bars in the Caribbean that each rates as a “must visit” destination.

Nikki Beach on St. Barts

Opened only in 2002, this amazing destination has, nonetheless become a major attraction for the world’s jetsetters. With a massive, open-air dining pavilion right on the beach, and its distinctive “teepee” structures at the back, it is the place to see and be seen. Yet, the real attraction is all of the waterfront dining and drinking. They don’t have a signature drink, but most visitors agree that a visit when the place is busy means lots and lots of champagne on hand.

Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands

Because it is a bit out of the way for those arriving on one of the many cruise ships that visit the BVIs throughout the year, it is a perfect spot for a leisurely day at the beach. Known for its “Painkiller”, which is a blend of fruit juice, coconut, dark rum, and a dash of nutmeg, it is also famous for its hammocks and its stunning scenery right along the beach. Many visitors arrive by boat and swim in for a drink!

Kontiki Beach Bar on French St. Martin

Kontiki Beach Bar is noted as the southernmost spot on the “five star” Orient Beach. Popular with the jet-set, it is another spot where travelers can see and be seen, but it also features a great bar and restaurant. Casual is the keyword at all times, but meals are still crafted to the highest standards. The menu features a nice array of fresh seafood dishes and even some classic hamburgers, but everything pairs well with the house wine list and signature cocktails.

Conch Shack & RumBar on Turks and Caicos

No visit to the island can be considered complete without time here. Serving the truly freshest seafood, including conch, it is a place where vegetarians can find a lot to love as well. Sitting directly on the sugary white sands, this “open air landmark” is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner, and the best beach parties on the island are held here every Wednesday and Sunday. Grab one of their famous t-shirts as the perfect souvenir and be absolutely certain to sample at least one of their signature rums from the RumBar menu.

Basil’s Bar on Mustique

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting the private island of Mustique, you must make your way down to the legendary waterfront Basil’s Bar. Known as a landmark on the island and in the region, it is a popular spot for a freshly grilled lobster or a classic burger to enjoy with your drink. It also has a fantastic Wednesday Night Jump UP party and Sunday Sunset Jazz events. There is even a Blues Festival hosted here with world-renown musicians on hand.

Going to the Caribbean means paying at least one visit to a popular beach bar, and these are but five of the many unforgettable spots to sip a drink, eat a meal and savor the non-stop scenery.

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