Arts and Culture

The Barbados Party Edit – The Best Bars, Clubs And Festivals On The Island

From rustic, candlelit beach shacks to glittering late-night clubs and super-fun festivals, here’s our rundown of the must-visit nightlife spots on this idyllic Caribbean isle

Get your fest on at Crop Over

Over 100,000 people gather in Barbados each year for the lively Crop Over Festival (above), which traditionally marked the end of the sugar cane season. Festivities kick off in June with the Opening Gala, igniting two months of street food markets, live soca and calypso music, art exhibitions and carnival displays. It culminates on Grand Kadooment Day (in early August) when masquerade bands parade down the Spring Garden Highway, accompanied by wing-wearing, sequin-bejewelled revellers, dancing and playing music. As you’ll hear the Bajans say: “Crop Over, it sweet fun days!”

Go bar-hopping in St Lawrence Gap

You can’t visit Barbados without spending an evening in The Gap. Just south of Bridgetown, this low-key neighbourhood is home to a clutch of open-air bars, decked out with vibrant weatherboarding and neon lights. Watch the sunset with a rum punch in hand at Mimosas Trattoria and Bar, before wandering across to Hal’s Carpark Bar for karaoke or Cocktail Kitchen for a more refined affair. Finish the night at McBride’s; their reggae nights are renowned across the island (doors close at 4 am).

Enjoy the chilled out charms of John Moore Bar

<p>Enjoy delicious rum and fried fish in the relaxed surrounds of John Moore Bar </p>
Enjoy delicious rum and fried fish in the relaxed surrounds of John Moore Bar (Visit Barbados)

Rub shoulders with locals at this legendary beach bar and rum shop, perched on the water’s edge near Mount Standfast. It’s a little out of the way but worth a visit for its rustic charm, friendly service and postcard-perfect views of the paradiscal Weston Beach. If you’ve worked up an appetite, order the fresh-off-the-boat fried fish; the bar sits just metres from the local seafood market. Wash it down with a Mount Gay XO rum on the rocks – and take a bottle back home as a souvenir.

Have a beer on the beach at Carib Beach Bar

Stroll north of The Gap and you’ll find the quieter Worthing Beach, home to Carib Beach Bar. Swaying palm trees and sun loungers dot the white sand, backed by crystalline blue waters. Grab a seat and within minutes, you’ll be sipping an ice-cold local Banks beer, paired with a platter of fish cakes. Keep an eye out for turtles bobbing up for air in the bay.

Sing karaoke at TML One Love Bar

On first glance, One Love looks like an unassuming yellow-and-blue watering hole. However, after 9 pm, the party really gets started; the music cranks up as locals and tourists spill out onto the pavement, Banks beers in hand. Expect seriously reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere. Sunday is karaoke night, so warm up those vocal cords, ready for a rendition or two of Purple Rain.

Enjoy sunset cocktails at Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge

<p>Enjoying cocktails as you watch the sun set is a Barbados must-do </p>
Enjoying cocktails as you watch the sunset is a Barbados must-do (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For a sundowner, there’s no better place than Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge. Pale grey weatherboarding and low lighting create an intimate atmosphere. Take a seat on the sea-facing bar stools just before 5.30pm (sunset times are fairly consistent year-round). Order the Mermaids Mane cocktail, made with mandarin-flavoured vodka, passion fruit puree, and orange juice, topped up with prosecco and clink glasses as the sun turns crimson pink.

Party hard at Red Door Lounge

Described as the “crown jewel” of Barbados’ bar scene, Red Door is an unmissable late-night pitstop in Holetown. Step through the dimly lit entrance and you’ll discover a surprisingly glitzy, urban space, far removed from the beach bars nearby. Live DJ sets and artisan cocktails are the real highlights here; order the elevated rum punch, served in a jam jar with a chargrilled orange slice and a sprig of mint. Just make sure you dress up for the occasion – this isn’t a shorts and flip-flops kind of venue.

Watch incredible live entertainment at Harbour Lights

<p>Take in a seaside spectacle at Harbour Lights on Bridgetown’s Brownes Beach </p>
Take in a seaside spectacle at Harbour Lights on Bridgetown’s Brownes Beach (Alamy Stock Photo)

Experience flamboyant Caribbean culture at Harbour Lights on Brownes Beach in Bridgetown. By day, it’s a popular beach club. By night, it morphs into a dinner show venue and nightclub. Arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday night for a barbecue dinner whilst fire eaters, feather-costumed dancers and stilt walkers parade around your table. Tickets also include a shuttle service to any hotel on the west or south coast.

Source: The Independent

Frebetha Atieku Adjoh

News Editor, Lover of Arts & Entertainment

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