Above: Yara Bar at the Amanyara Turks and Caicos (Photo: Aman Resorts)
WE KNOW the Caribbean has the world’s best beach bars, but it’s also home to some exceptional hotel bars — some are well-known, and others are well-kept secrets. Some are on the water themselves, while others are wood-paneled hideaways. While we wish we could include 100 bars on this list, here is Caribbean Journal’s list of the top hotel bars in the Caribbean for 2013 (in no particular order).
Library Bar — Four Seasons Nevis
Set inside the Great House at the Four Seasons Nevis, the Library Bar is a clubby retreat — a throwback to old-school Caribbean luxury. And it’s a perfect place to retire to after a day of basking in the Nevisian sunshine. And its expert bartenders make a mean cocktail — you can’t go wrong with the Nevisian Spirit.
Vieille Tour – Auberge de la Vieille Tour – Guadeloupe
In still-under-the-radar Guadeloupe, this bar offers a wide selection of local rhums (we like Damoiseau) and an even better view of the coast of the island and the nearby Ilet du Gosier. (And don’t miss the live piano on the weekend).
Piano Bar – Couples Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
This bar at the Couples Tower Isle in Jamaica’s Ocho Rios, which is dotted with photos of some of its famous guests, aims to evoke the spirit of 1950s Hollywood — and succeeds, transporting you back to a more glamourous time.
Yara Bar — Amanyara Turks and Caicos
The radiant Amanyara is one of the most exclusive hotel properties in the Caribbean — and is more like something out of Bali than the Caribbean. And the Yara Bar maintains that vibe — a perfect spot to wind down the night overlooking Malcolm’s Beach.
Monkey Bar — Sandy Lane, Barbados
This monkey-themed bar is set in the lower level of the Sandy Lane resort, the Grand Dame of Barbados luxury, and is an ideal location for an after-dinner glass of Mount Gay Extra Old. (And if rum isn’t your thing, there’s quite a selection of cognac).
Keys Cigar Bar — St Kitts Marriott
Tucked away in the expansive St Kitts Marriott resort is the Keys Cigar Bar, a hidden gem in this property on Frigate Bay. A solid selection of cigars and spirits and the feeling of escaping to a member’s only lounge.
Bullion — British Colonial Hilton — Nassau, Bahamas
This hotel was a filming location for the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. And Bullion, which was renovated in 2010, combines the allure of that era with a modern, sleek feel — and towering ceilings. And it makes an unmatched Goombay Smash.
La Balandra — Harbour Village, Bonaire
This is the only hotel bar on this list to have its own bow — but there’s a good reason. To understand why, just take a glass of Cacique Rum and look around at the panoramic views of Bonaire’s sparkling waters.
Avila’s Blues Bar & Restaurant — Avila Hotel, Curacao
There must be something about the Dutch Caribbean and bars that extend over water. The always-lively Avila’s is part of the Avila hotel in Curacao. And the view? Well, just take a look at the photo.
El Secreto — Belize
While many of the bars on this list are indoors, this one is all about the absence of walls. The thatched-roof bar at the exotic El Secreto resort on Belize’s San Pedro Island is all about relaxation.