The birthplace of reggae, the premier destination for white-sand beaches, and a rum lover’s paradise, Jamaica is all about living the good life. Beach bars are where it’s at in Jamaica, which means most tourist-friendly nightlife spots are in and around Negril or Montego Bay. You can find plenty of bars and clubs that go all night, or a relaxing oasis to sip a Red Stripe Beer and enjoy the ocean view. Think thatched roofs, sexy dancing, and a perfect Caribbean breeze. Ya mon!
Set atop a 35-foot cliff and listed in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die," Rick’s Cafe is one of the most legendary bars and restaurants in the world. Here you can go cliff jumping while sipping on cocktails or watch expert cliff jumpers do it if heights aren’t your thing. Enjoy the unobstructed view of gorgeous sunsets and listen to live music or enjoy a themed pool party. Pro tip: many say the food is a bit overpriced, so go for drinks and snacks to get the experience.
Drifters is here for live music lovers. Enjoy the Motown, Soul, and Blues stylings of Luddy Samms, a former member of internationally acclaimed "The Drifters" vocal group while you get your Jamaican groove on. Free jam sessions, open mic nights, karaoke, themed shows, and even a joint hostel to keep the jams going all night long, Drifters encourages people to bring their own instruments and play with them (or use theirs if you don’t have your own). Check their site for updated session times.
Memorabilia Bar & Grill
This hidden gem, located just outside Montego Bay, is a lovely little beachfront bar serving up a rum punch for less than $5. Memorabilia is everything you imagine when you’re looking for that "island life” relaxing drinking experience. Chill on one of their colorful beach chairs and munch on some seafood while chatting with a super friendly staff who will make you feel right at home from the moment you arrive.
Floyd's Pelican Bar
Floyd's Pelican Bar gives a whole new meaning to a “swim-up bar.” Built on a sandbar about 10-15 minutes from Negril Beach, the Pelican Bar is a perfect floating oasis for drinking Red Stripe Beer, watching boats go by, munching on shrimp, chicken, or steamed whole snapper, and playing dominoes—all in the middle of the Caribbean. A bar in the sea is a must-see.
Casual, relaxed, and unfussy, this nightclub and bar in Negril is the perfect establishment for people who want to dance and party without having to get all dolled up. Head over to Jungle in your flip flops and shorts, mingle with locals and tourists alike, and dance your butt off until 4 a.m. to a solid mix of old and new hits. Try Thursday night for Ladies Night—ladies get in for free before midnight!
Sky Beach Bar & Seafood Grill
Escape the crowds and head to Sky Beach Bar in Hopewell for a quieter night and delicious food. They offer fresh seafood (try their lobster or steamed fish with okra) that you can eat in a private dining hut, then sit at the bar after to watch live music in a more romantic atmosphere. It’s worth the hour drive from Negril if you’re someone looking for a genuinely local feel that’s off the beaten path.
Montego Bay's Pier 1 is all about ambiance. Part-outdoor restaurant, part-seaside nightclub, Pier 1 has an incredible view of the iconic Jamaican white sand beach and crystal blue water. Order a rum cocktail (this is Jamaica, after all) and enjoy the food and nightly parties, which spill into the early morning hours for an all-nighter in a beautiful atmosphere.
Calico Jack’s Pirate Shack
Live your best Pirates of the Caribbean life at Calico Jack’s Pirate Shack. Located off of Half Moon Beach, this rustic bar is set on its own island surrounded by pristine coral reefs. They offer $5 round-trip boats to bring you to and from the island, the well-stocked assortment of drinks are strong, and prices for food are super affordable ($7 sandwiches and jerk chicken entrees for $10). Red Stripe Beer and snorkeling? That’s our kind of happy hour.
The owner Collette is just about the sweetest woman in the world, which keeps tourists and locals coming again and again to this little Reggae spot. She serves up ice-cold drinks that are cheap and strong, but her positivity and friendliness are why Collette’s Bar made the list. You can’t have a bad time with a smile from Collette!
Margaritaville Sports Bar and Grill
Okay, this is a total tourist trap but fun and comfortable nonetheless. Live music, a waterslide, bikini contests, sugary drinks—this is the place for the frat guy in all of us. There are a few locations, but their Montego Bay Hip Strip spot is their most popular. Try one of their 52 tropical-flavored margaritas and, of course, their signature 22-ounce bongs of beer (yup).