It’s Beer O’Clock in SXM

24 April 2009 By Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp

With all the places to party, it’s pretty obvious how the “Sin” got into Sint Maarten. Beside the casinos, there are open-air nightclubs on the island’s 37 beaches that hold wild parties. For sounds, you’ll hear Techno, Reggae, Merengue, Salsa and Zook.

As much of the Caribbean fleet prepares to move to the States or the Med, it’s time for a last round around the islands.

Sunset Beach Bar will reopen in May under new ownership. It’s at the end of the international airport runway on Maho Beach, where the planes fly so low on approach they can kick up the sand. It’s also the place to meet flyboys. There are crab races and monthly bikini contests – and more important, all shots are $1.

During Happy Hour at Bamboo Bernie’s nearby, drinks are free until 7 p.m., when the prices go up to $1. Also near the airport, Bliss Nightclub in the Caravanserai Resort is a great place to go dancing. It’s famous for frozen drinks served at the cabana seats surrounding the pool.

Lady C’s Floating Bar & Grill is a boat with a bar on the dock featuring cool drinks and hot parties. Capt. Ric had at least one lost night there. “The crew slept in the tender that night,” he says. “They put the engine in reverse and we fell in the water.” Lady C cruises Simpson’s Bay Lagoon on Wednesdays and Sundays. It also offer a variety of theme nights. Whatever the theme, however, you’ll see lots of skimpy bikinis aboard.

The Soggy Dollar Bar at Palapa Marina on Simpson Bay is a notorious crew hangout just steps from the megayacht docks. Wet T-shirt parties and Good Girls Gone Bad give you an idea of what to expect here.

Have your appetite ready when you go to Shrimpy’s Dockside Bar, also on Simpson Bay. Happy Hour is from 5 to 6 p.m., and a few beers will help you wash down the shrimp, which is flavored in garlic, coconut or curry.

On waterfront in Philipsburg, The Black Pearl is a tiki-style beach bar that also serves snacks. Up on Front Street, don’t miss the Guavaberry Emporium. While it’s more of a store than a bar, the Guavaberry Colada, its famous folk drink made of rum and sugar cane, is worth a stop while shopping.

Moving out to the island’s east coast, Capt. Robert raves over the Reef Juice Drinks at Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar on Oyster Bay. “They have good Italian food, too.”

The French side of the island doesn’t skimp on scenic watering holes, either. Orient Beach, one of St. Martin’s prettiest, is lined with bars and restaurants ranging from open-air huts to boutique eateries. Baywatch Bar & Grill falls closer to the casual end of the scale.

Note that clothing is optional farther down the beach at Club Orient, a “naturist” resort.

“My favorite bar is Layla's on the beach outside of Marigot,” says Chef Victoria. “The view is great, the atmosphere is pure Caribbean and it's the best spot to spend the day. Good food, secluded beach and the best margaritas east of Mexico. Yum! I can almost taste them now.”

We’ll catch up with you next across the pond when the clock strikes Beer-thirty in Palma.