A special place on the beach in Anguilla
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
Most fishermen aren’t proprietors of their own beach bar and restaurant.
But Warren “Mutt” Webster isn’t like most fishermen.
Although, just like his father before him, he’s spent his whole life fishing the waters off Anguilla’s Island Harbour, for the last two years Mutt has also made his living off the land. Named after his beloved 25-year-old boat, Falcon, Falcon Nest Bar & Grill is the gregarious guy’s “second wife,” a place where locals and hotel guests come to park themselves on a picnic table on the sand, to dine, drink and be mesmerized by Mutt’s seafaring stories as they watch colorful skiffs bob like giant tub toys in the bay.
Although the Falcon Nest serves a comprehensive menu of fish, lobster and other seafood (much of it caught during 4a.m. expeditions by Mutt himself into the waters offshore) I’ve been strongly advised by local friends to order the fish bits. They arrive piping hot, the deep-fried chunks melt-in-the-mouth tender but with a satisfyingly crunchy coat of batter. Drizzled in the homemade (very) special sauce, they’re a meal well worth the drive from my hotel.
Even though it’s lunchtime and more work looms on the horizon, I succumb to a rum punch – which is only polite since the menu encourages me, in bold red letters no less, to “chillax and fly smoothly with a Falcon rum punch.”
And fly smoothly I do, seduced and intoxicated by the heady aroma of rum and spices (Mutt’s secret recipe contains a total of 11 ingredients, including five different rums) even before I take my first sip. Mutt’s sister, Ren, who tends the bar, tells me that people have been known to quaff as many as half a dozen of the potent potables in a single sitting. When I balk, Mutt throws back his head, laughs and suggests, “Well, some people just have a good appetite for that sort of thing, you know?” I don’t, but I take his word for it.
Satisfied after my midday binge, I lean back and take it all in: this balmy and thankfully breezy day; the soothing sounds of the birds and waves; the reggae playing over the loudspeaker. I notice that the place is spotlessly clean, not a napkin or bottle top to be seen. The WI-FI is free, fast and doesn’t require a password (Oh, Mutt, marry me!). And there are sturdy hooky under the bar counter, from which women can safely sling their totes.
A humble island beach bar with handbag hooks? It’s an extraordinary touch. But I shouldn’t be surprised. Mutt’s an extraordinary man.