Sint Maarten has often been referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of the Caribbean’ and, judging by its plentiful supply of bars and clubs, I can see why! If you’re in search of somewhere exciting and lively, then this is the island for you (note that Sint Maarten is the Dutch side and, compared to the French side named ‘Saint Martin’, there are lots more bars and places to go)
After over 2 months living there, I feel like I’ve certainly managed to suss out some of the best places to grab a drink – and most importantly, the best happy hours!! From chilled beach clubs to lively nightclubs, here’s my lowdown of the best bars on Sint Maarten.
Best bars for: Daytime Drinks/Sundowners
Roxxy Beach Bar
Roxxy Beach Bar is a good one for those in search of a bit of class and sophistication. This beach club is free to enter and has its own private beach which even has little tables in the water so you can drink with your feet in the sea.
During the day, hire a daybed and relax with a refreshing cocktail. I’d recommend the Bamboo Colada or Frozen Passion Fruit Daiquiri or try the Detox Iced Tea for a non alcoholic option (they use jasmine iced tea which just tastes incredible!) The drinks are slightly on the pricier side but you really get what you pay for. They taste amazing, look amazing and have a veryyy generous alcohol:mixer ratio – now that’s a yes from me. It’s just such a cool vibey place with good music, beautiful white sand and tasty food if you’re feeling peckish. Sunday’s are a very good day to visit as they have live music and it’s packed. I’d say Roxxy’s is my all time favourite place for sundowners. Amazing sunset views, cool music and great drinks – what more could you want?!
Sint Maarten Yacht Club
Even before I got a job on a super yacht, I always loved heading to a marina to check out all the boats (it sounds so cliché now I think about it but look back at my very first blogposts and you’ll see!) The big marinas in Sint Maarten are all under high security and not open to the general public but the best (and most exciting) way to see the boats is at the Yacht Club. This is because it’s located right next to the drawbridge which boats need to go through to access the marina and it’s notorious in the yachting world for being pretty tricky to get into (without going into too much detail, a quick google search will show you a recent accident which took place – insert gritting teeth emoji) Make sure you time your visit with when the bridge opens and relax with a drink or two whilst watching the action unfold (bridge opening times are: 8.30am, 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm)
Buccaneer Beach Bar
After over 2 months staying on Sint Maarten, I only actually found this place on my final night (typical!!) Located on Kim Sha Beach, this beach bar is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Sit at a table on the sand under a palm tree or inside the bar whilst sipping on one of their many choices of cocktails (I’d recommend the BBC – baileys, banana and coconut yummm) Once the sun goes down, the fairy lights switch on and if anyone knows me, they’d know how much of a sucker I am for fairy lights!! I visited Kim Sha beach pretty much EVERY. SINGLE. DAY when on Sint Maarten but of course, it had to be the final evening before I discovered this little gem of a bar – how annoying!
Karakter is located at Simpson Bay and quickly became one of the fave post work places to go. During the day, their sunbeds on the beach are free to customers and their amazing selection of both alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails will keep you refreshed all day long. I loved their smoothie selection especially ‘King of the Vitamins’ and ‘Fruit Bomb’ but they also sell really good and cheap alcoholic cocktails too. In the evening, it turns into a chilled beachfront restaurant but come Sunday, this place really comes to life! It became tradition to finish my weekend here; arrive at lunchtime and listen to live acoustic music while enjoying my meal and then stay on until sunset when the dance floor is cleared and a dj comes on playing house music until late. Now that’s not a bad way to end the week!
Sunset Beach Bar
Possibly the most iconic activity on Sint Maarten is a trip to Maho Bay – if you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically a beach right at the end of the runway to the airport where you’ll be able to see planes just a few metres above you as they come in to land. It’s a very cool thing to experience but the beach deffo isn’t one for sunbathing on all day!! When the planes come close, the sand blows around everywhere and you’ll see hats and loose clothes all blowing into the sea (a funny thing to watch unless it’s your stuff being blown away – I speak from experience)
Instead, my favourite place to watch the action is at ‘Sunset Beach Bar’ which is at the end of the beach. In fact, I think the views are actually better as you can see the planes from side angle – really putting into perspective how close they are to the sand!! There is a surfboard sign at the bar noting times when planes are due to land (I’d recommend coming around 2/3pm which is when the biggest planes come in) Of course, with a name like that, you have to stick around until the sun goes down – sunsets like that are not ones to be missed. On the menu are a bunch of tasty cocktails; some of my faves include the BBC, Mudslide and Berry Breezy (frozen lemonade and raspberry/blueberry vodka is like heaven in a glass!) It does get busy but has such a lively atmosphere and is a must see when on the island.
Daleo’s Snack Bar
Located at Mullet Bay (named as one of the best beaches on the island), this beach bar provides the perfect place to refuel and refresh after a day in the sun. Name something more Caribbean other than drinking a Pina Colada in a beach shack under a palm tree… I’ll wait. I also tried out their chicken sandwich which was very tasty – all with the stunning views of Mullet Bay, this place is a cracker.
Best bars for: Nightlife
Roxxy Beach Bar
This place is not just a daytime affair as Roxxy’s is also open into the evening. Again, the same sophisticated drinks vibe is continued and the barmen perform some pretty impressive drinks making displays. It’s open every day but Tuesday is Latin Night and I would say that Friday’s are the best. This is when it seems to be the busiest and on the occasions I’ve been, there has been a saxophone player wowing the crowd.
This is an absolute classic on the line up – every good night out ended up with a trip to Topper’s! This karaoke bar may not be the most bling or classy place out there but you could bet it would always be the busiest of the lot. They actually make their own rum which you can buy for $15 a bottle in any flavour you could ever imagine – buy a bottle of this and a variety of mixers and you’ve set yourself up for the night (a little money saving hack I only discovered after a few too many heavy rounds on the wallet!) No matter how many rum and cokes I consumed, nothing could tempt me to try out the karaoke but it sure did tempt a lot of others (there was never a moment it wasn’t used and you often had to wait 40 mins for your turn!) Topper’s was probably my most visited bar on the island!
If you’re wanting to properly get your boogie on, then Lotus is a big nightclub located right next to Topper’s in Simpson Bay. It claims to be ‘The Number 1 Nightclub in the Caribbean’ – I guess I’ll have to visit a few more islands to test out that one but I’m more than willing to for the record. It’s just how you’d expect a nightclub to be: big dance floor, dj, bar. I managed to get in for free but the guy I was with had to pay $10 (I’m not sure if this is a standard thing for females or because I arrived before midnight or something but I wasn’t arguing) Try to get here past midnight unless you’re wanting to take to the dance floor alone – not that I’d find that a bad thing!
Soggy Dollar is another one of the very popular bars in Simpson Bay. It’s a big open bar right next to the marina which also has a dancefloor for those wanting to get their groove on. Tuesday nights are Latin Night where you can sign yourself up for a salsa class and they often host guest dj’s and artists. One of the big draws of Soggy’s however is the amazing happy hour!! From 5-7pm, you can get any beer for just $1 (just make sure you bring cash) When in the Caribbean, I would suggest trying out a ‘Carib’. It’s pretty much the same as a Corona but makes you feel like you’re getting into the Caribbean spirit! Start your evening here to take advantage of the cheap drinks before heading off to the likes of Topper’s or Bar Bamboo.
If you could sum up a place as being ‘instagrammable’ this would be the place (so ironically, I’m shocked to find absolutely zero photos of the interior on my camera roll!) Inside, there’s a water fountain, photo walls, swinging chairs and enough plants to fill a garden centre. It’s got such a cool vibe and a classy place to have drinks or dinner. They specialise in grilled food such as steak and fish and, although I didn’t get chance to eat there, my crewmembers had very high praise for it when they did. I did go in for drinks a couple times though and they did not disappoint. They’ve created lots of different unique versions of cocktails which taste amazing and are just as appealing on the eye as the interior! It is more expensive than other places around but I think that bit more money really does make a difference!
There really are SO many options of where to eat and drink in Sint Maarten (especially on the ‘strip’ in Simpson bay) and, as much as I tried, there were lots I didn’t get to test out:
- Bar Bamboo is opposite Topper’s and I’ve heard they do amazing cocktails!
- Red Piano sounds like a cool and quirky bar where they have a pianist playing live music (on what I’m guessing is a red piano) Monday and Tuesday nights are apparently the best times to go but I’ve heard the place doesn’t really open until around 9pm.
- Pineapple Pete’s is located a bit further down the street towards Phillipsburg but serves up good food and has live music and a pool table – I’m sad I missed this one!
Sint Maarten really does have a bar for everyone and every occasion. Beach bars, beer bars, karaoke bars, nightclubs – this island just has it all! For those in search of a bit of life and fun, this is the Caribbean island for you.