Last Updated on October 7, 2023

Part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory, is renowned for its stunning white stretches of sand and turquoise waters. They offer some of the best diving, snorkeling, sailing, swimming and fishing in the world.

What my partner and I also enjoy most about this spectacular part of the world are its unique beach bars – framed by swaying palms and waves gently lapping the shore with a drink in hand celebrating the immense beauty around us. That is true Caribbean.

From flip-flop/laid-back to she-she chic, one thing all these bars have in common is serving up awesome drinks!

Foxy’s, Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke

Boaters in the BVI are into the party scene and the best evidence of Foxy’s bar’s popularity is the number of boats and yachts you’ll see moored in Great Harbour.

Owner Foxy Callwood is a Caribbean idol with a great sense of humor, a life-of-the-party personality, and a laid-back carefree spirit. His bar is an island institution serving tasty food and strong drinks to sailors and visitors since 1968, toes in the sand and drink in hand in the shade of a Tamarind tree.

You won’t want to miss its famous beach barbeques on weekends.

Even country singer Kenny Chesney has celebrated his friendship with Foxy in his island ballad “Somewhere in the Sun.”

Willy T’s, The Bight, Norman Island

Willy T's Floating Bar, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands.
Willy T’s Floating Bar, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Have you ever been on a floating bar? You can at Willy T’s legendary island floating bar and restaurant on Norman Island, reputed to be an inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate tale “Treasure Island.”

For over 35 years, sailboats have been mooring in the cerulean waters of The Bight, then hopping into their dinghy and pulling along the bar, modeled after an early 20th century trading ship.

Though the restaurant serves food and drinks throughout the day, sunsets here are amazing, and nighttime brings on   the real-deal island party scene.

Soggy Dollar Bar, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Soggy Dollar Beach Bar in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.
Soggy Dollar Beach Bar in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. Photo by Noreen Kompanik.

It’s called Soggy Dollar Bar for a reason, as arriving boaters must literally leap into the crystalline waters of White Bay and swim their way to shore – which only makes telling your story that much better!  

The infamous Painkiller was created and perfected at the Soggy Dollar in the 1970s – a full-flavored rum cocktail that has become “the” signature drink of the British Virgin Islands. Though we’ve had it other places in the BVI, somehow, the idyllic setting with Caribbean music and swaying palms makes it taste even better at Soggy Dollar. Word of warning, it will bend your knees if you imbibe on one too many.

If you don’t feel like leaving the island after a day of fun and frolic, the restaurant just opened the Sand Castle Hotel.

Cooper Island Beach Club, Tortola

Unless you arrive by yacht, you’ll have to take a ferry to get to this small, virtually undeveloped island lying about four miles south of Tortola. Thank goodness these somewhat isolated places still exist.

Cooper Island Beach Club is a family-owned eco resort with a beach bar on a deck overlooking the picturesque Sir Francis Drake Channel. The views are absolutely stunning, sunsets are spectacular, and guests can enjoy a sampling of rums along with two-for-one drinks every day between 4 PM and 6 PM.

Consider staying for lunch or dinner as their menu is not your typical bar food, and, you can’t beat the idyllic setting. Unlike Kenny Chesney’s lyrics “no shirt, no shoes, no problem,” you will have to don a shirt and shoes to dine here. Reservations should be made in advance.

Bitter End Yacht Club, Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda

This club in the North Sound’s oldest and most iconic watering hole, but again, only accessible by sea. Destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the owners salvaged everything they could in the restoration of the famous yacht club.

Guests can stay on property, adventure and play in the cerulean waters of the Caribbean or just drink, dine and take in the breathtaking views. Whet your whistle with some amazingly fun rum punches and libations.

Sunsets here appear in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors.

The Cow Wreck Beach Bar, Anegada

The Cow Wreck Beach Bar, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.
The Cow Wreck Beach Bar, Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

The quiet island of Anegada is home to miles of deserted angel-white beaches and luminous turquoise waters – a true piece of Caribbean paradise.

Though the bar’s signature drinks include the Cow Killer and the Wreck Punch (be careful with these), Cow Wreck also serves up a Painkiller that rivals Soggy Dollar’s.

The food menu features seafood, especially the conch, lobster and fish plucked fresh from the BVI waters.

Next time you’re planning a trip to the British Virgin Islands, make sure to experience one or more of these amazing beach bars. After all, it’s always “island o’clock somewhere” in the BVI.