Most people come to Jamaica for the laid-back beach scene and mouthwatering food. But in Montego Bay, a city on the northwest shore of the island, the nightlife is worth staying for. The main drag of Montego Bay is Gloucester Avenue, known as the Hip Strip. Here, the bars, clubs and restaurants are a scene of elbow-to-elbow people, pounding music and free-flowing drinks all night long.
Three of the most popular bars are Margaritaville, Blue Beat Ultra Lounge and Pier One. This trio of hot spots is in the thick of Montego Bay activity, meaning there's a ton of folks strolling along the traffic-jammed streets. The best part: They are within walking distance of the area's best all-inclusive resorts and hotels, making it easy for visitors to come and go as they please.
Tips for Tourists
Just exploring this stretch of Gloucester Avenue is an adventure in people watching, with street vendors and pot stands everywhere you look. Make sure that you stay cautious as pickpockets can be aggressive with tourists. Men, keep your wallet in your front pocket, and women, hold tight to your purses. If you want to spend some cash—or win some, if you're lucky—try your hand at a game of blackjack at the flashy Coral Cliff Hotel casino in the heart of the district.
At the end of the night, if you need a cab home, there are some tips you should use as it is common for taxi drivers to try and swindle tourists. First, make sure that you tell them the destination (and possible directions) up front. Then, agree on the price of the taxi before you leave, not at the end of the ride.
That said, enjoy the party at one of the following fabled nightlife spots in Montego Bay. Hey, it's Jamaica, mon, go with it.
For a more relaxed evening, go to Pier One on Mondays for karaoke nights (instead of weekend DJ sets) or on Sundays for its seafood specials—think fresh conch, scallops, shrimp, and lobster. Although more of a drinking den than a restaurant, Pier One serves fantastic food, if you come early enough to eat. Otherwise, check it out in the evening for a sundowner and the killer waterfront views.
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
As with any Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, this bar is very touristy, but great for families. While the parents relax on the deck with fruity cocktails, the kids can enjoy the massive on-site water park, with a three-story, 120-foot water slide and more. The bar is also a popular party stop for catamaran cruises and can get very packed on Thursdays, during Ladies Night.
Blue Beat Ultra Lounge
Blue Beat Ultra Lounge is more of a dance club than a bar, so make sure to dress up in going-out clothes (no shorts, flip flops, or tank tops allowed). On certain nights, Blue Beat has comedy shows and live jazz music, which provides a fun break from all of Jamaica's reggae.