It was more than a bar.
For decades, Iggies Beach Bar was the spot on St Thomas, the place where the locals went and the guests stayed, where everyone of every stripe and spirit made pilgrimage.
And then came “Irmaria,” as they call it now, and the signature bar at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort was no more.
In the early days after the storms, though, in a sea of blue tarps, there was one place left on the island for cold ones and Painkillers and sanctuary – the Lobster Grille, Bolongo’s main restaurant at the edge of the pool.
“Right after the storm everything was a tarp,” said Richard Doumeng, whose family has owned and operated the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort for nearly a half century. “This was the only place.”
And, as the Doumeng family, from Richard’s wife Katarina, the resort’s sales and marketing director to Richard’s brother, Paul, the general manager) has done for decades, through storms — and, more recently, a pandemic — it adapted.
And so, the “new” Iggies was born: Iggies Oasis.
The elevated, two-level bar is perched above the pool that hangs over the 75-room Bolongo Bay’s beach, housed under the two gazebos that are part of the original resort property from the 1960s.
But it’s much of the same team, with the same colorful cocktails and friendly service, with the same cast of characters like Rocky and Miriam.
“That’s Iggies,” says Richard’s son Mikael Doumeng, who leads the property’s social media department. “The locals come and they feel like guests, and the guests feel like locals.”
And then there’s Iggies’ food, from the best fish tacos in St Thomas to steaks and sandwiches and, naturally, Painkillers, now serving food from the early morning to 11 at night.
And one of the cores of the original Iggies is back, too: live music.
Even amid the current realities of travel, Iggies manages five nights each week of live entertainment, Richard says — set at the kind of outdoor, breezy space that’s particularly prized right now.
And while the original Iggies will soon begin the process of reconstruction (part of a broader initiative the Doumengs say will be one of the most ambitious sustainability projects in the area), its essence is alive and well just above the pool, drawing in the same pilgrims and beach lovers, the guests and the locals alike, just as it did before the storm, and just as it did right after.
“It was just natural that we call it the oasis,” says Katarina Doumeng.
For more visit the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort.