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Rum Journal: In Anguilla, Finding a Perfect Caribbean Beach Bar

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 18, 2015

Above: Garvey’s Sunshine Shack in Anguilla (All photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

What makes a perfect beach bar?

Is it the history? Is it the signature cocktail? The music? The sand?

It’s usually a combination of all of these things. Until you find one that really answers the question.

This one begins with a miraculous beach: Rendezvous Bay, home to Anguilla’s impossibly white sand.

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It’s called Garvey’s Sunshine Shack, and at first it seems unassuming. It’s tiny, just about the size of a small trailer. It sits just off the water,

It’s got a quiver of yellow sun chairs, a few tall bar tables, a few classic tables.

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There’s nothing spectacular here (other than the beach), just reliably solid. The rum punch is excellent; the music is always the right kind of reggae; the food is quite good, in fact, barbecue chicken with precise charring.

As with any much-loved beach bar, there are hand-written notes on the walls, usually addressed to Garvey, who has helmed this bar for four years.

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Garvey makes this place, with his effervescent personality and faithfulness to hospitality.

“Live Up. Love Up. Live On.” It’s the unofficial motto of the place.

And while everything is solid, it takes a moment to realize just why the Sunshine Shack is such a sanctuary.

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And after a rum punch, after an hour bobbing in the sea, the most important ingredient to the perfect beach bar becomes clear.

It’s simple: it’s the way it makes you feel: like the beach is your own, that nothing else matters. At Garvey’s, there’s a feeling of absolute calm, of overwhelming serenity. No crowds, no hyperbole. Just what works.

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And there’s the feeling that the moment will never end.

And if it does, you can always come back tomorrow.

— CJ

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