Antigua and Barbuda are like paradise for reasons that go beyond turquoise water and 365 beaches. Once you've had your daily fun in the sun, there's a thriving nightlife scene that keeps the party going on the twin islands long after the sun goes down. Many of the bars in this Caribbean nation don't have an official closing time, and it's legal to have an open container on the beach—which is helpful, considering the plethora of beach bars for travelers to visit. It's less of a clubbing scene here than it is a more tropical vibe for the nightlife. English Harbour is the place to visit for bar-hopping—and the Sunday night barbecue at Shirley Point Lookout is not to be missed—but though there's no shortage of worthy establishments at which to imbibe all over the island. From seaside cocktails to weekly events, tiki bars to live music venues, read on for your ultimate guide to the nightlife in Antigua.
Many of the bars below are within walking distance of each other in English Harbour, and Skullduggery Cafe and Cloggy's are even in the same building, the Antigua Yacht Club Marina. Read on for your must-visit list, and be sure to order the espresso martinis at Skullduggery Cafe.
- Cloggy's: Located on the second floor of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, this is the go-to spot for a night out on the town in English Harbour. Considered one of the greatest sailor's bars in the world, Cloggy's boasts a dinner scene that transitions into a dance party after the sun goes down.
- Skullduggery Cafe: Head downstairs to Skullduggery Cage, which is located right beside the dock in English Harbour. This West Indies establishment is famous for its espresso martinis, so drink up.
- Colibri Bistro Bar & Lounge: This chic bistro boasts a charming outdoor bar area that is perfect for some laid-back cocktails with friends. Ideally located in English Harbour, Colibri is walking distance to more late-night spots (including the establishments mentioned above, as well as The Lime Lounge.)
Antigua is famous for its luxury resorts and impeccable hospitality, many of which have great bars for seaside cocktails and Caribbean ambiance.
- Indigo On The Beach: Nothing in the twin islands, or throughout the Caribbean, can rival the blissful ambiance of the luxurious Five Star environs of Carlisle Bay Resort. If you can't book a room at this must-visit in Saint Mary Parish, then head to Indigo On The Beach to take advantage of one of the most secluded beaches on the island (and one of the most delectable cocktail menus, as well.)
- Sheer Rocks: Located at Cocobay Resort, Sheer Rocks boasts a day-party scene with cocktails, tropical vibes, and unbeatable views. Go there to see and be seen.
- Catherine's Cafe: Situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Antigua, Pigeon Beach, Catherine's Cafe is a perfect spot for afternoon rosé and mellow island vibes. Be sure to stick around for sunset.
- Jacqui O's Beach House: This iconic venue offers delicious cocktails at an unbeatable seaside location in Saint Mary Parish.
- Ana's On The Beach: This establishment has both an art gallery and a restaurant, so you can peruse the local craftsmanship while you imbibe amongst the tropical surroundings.
These institutions are more low-key than some of the island's swanky resorts, but they're all beachside—fun fact: It is legal to have an open container of alcohol on the beach in Antigua. So drink up!
- Beach Limerz: This institution provides laid-back beachside vibes and live music right beside the historic Fort James.
- Rum Bus Beach: The official beach bar of Mount Gay Rum in Crabb Hill, Saint Mary's Parish.
- Beach Bum Bar & Grill: Your spot for rum punch while sunbathing at the iconic half-moon bay.
- Kon Tiki Bar & Grill: This swim-up bar is located in Dickenson Bay and is accessible via a tiny boat or kayak as well (if you don't feel like swimming.)
While the scenery is always lovely in the tropics, it doesn't hurt to add a soundtrack to better enhance your Caribbean vacation. Have some tunes with your rum at the venues below:
- South Point Restaurant & Lounge: Check out the live music in the lounge of this boutique hotel located in English Harbour. The sunset views are also not to be missed. Head here early for dinner and drinks on the patio before dancing the night (or the carbs) away.
- Catherine's Cafe: Head to Pigeon Beach to catch some live music on the beach at Catherine's Cafe.
- The Lime Lounge: Also located in English Harbour, this popular bar boasts live bands and crowds spilling out onto the street, and is highly recommended.
- Shirley Heights Lookout: Head to the Shirley Heights Lookout on Sunday evenings for rum cocktails, live music, and a breathtaking sunset over the harbor.
- Sheer Rocks: This popular hangout is not just great for seaside cocktails, but its live music as well. So head on out to this spot in Cocobay Resort and remember to bring your dancing shoes (or sandals.)
- Beach Limerz: This spot is perfect for when you want to listen to live music right on the beach in Fort James.
Events & Activities
From Seafood Fridays at Nelson's Dockyard to Saturday lunches at Catherine's Cafe and Sunday Barbecues at Shirley Heights, there's no shortage of weekly events for visitors to check out when traveling to Antigua. Our top recommended outings and adventures below:
- Seafood Fridays at Nelson's Dockyard: Head to Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour for "Seafood Fridays," an event that takes place weekly at the heritage site and marina. It is also conveniently close to the bars in the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, so you have a plan for afterward as well.
- Sunday Barbecue at Shirley Heights: This is a weekly party that is cherished (and attended) by locals and visitors alike. And don't worry if you don't have a rental car: There are always a plethora of cabs waiting to escort you home to your resort. (Helpful after one too many rum beverages.)
- Rum tasting at Antigua Distillery Ltd: Tour the tasting room (and sample the local beverages) of the island-made rum created by Antigua Distillery Ltd in English Harbour.
- Rum-filled sailing excursion Adventure Antigua Eco Tour: With their eco and adventure activities, this company is proudly not your average booze-cruise, but they do offer a mean rum punch (after snorkeling, of course.) Set sail for a day on the high seas that will be invigorating and intoxicating enough to render the nightlife scene taking place in English Harbour afterward utterly beside the point.
- Saturday lunch and live music at Catherine's Cafe: If Sunday is all about Shirley Heights, then Saturday is for Catherine's Cafe on Pigeon Beach.
- Rum in the Ruins: This is your chance to imbibe sundowners every Friday at the Blockhouse in Nelson's Dockyards.
The festivals in Antigua and Barbuda are scattered throughout the year, though Carnival, Sailing Week, and Independence Day are undoubtedly the most popular times of the year to celebrate. See if you can sync up your upcoming trip with one of these national events below:
- Antigua Carnival: A 10-day festival occurring in the streets of St. John's, the capital city.
- Antigua Sailing Week: The premiere Sailing Regatta in the Caribbean
- Antigua and Barbuda Pineapple Mango Festival: Annual two-day event also known as Piango Fest in the summertime
- Antigua and Barbados Independence Festivities: Week-long festivities to commemorate the independence of the twin islands, which was achieved on Nov. 1, 1981. Features events such as Night of Drama, Festival of Choirs, the Youth Rally Parade and Independence Fashion Show.
- Taliska Whisky Atlantic Challenge: Top event in ocean rowing occurs in January and is celebrated in Antigua.
Tips for Going Out in Antigua & Barbuda
- You won't be relying on any public transit to go out in Antigua, and Uber and Lyft and other rideshare applications are not yet available. So, you will want to book a taxi service in advance and try to schedule a ride home.
- Bring plenty of cash—many bars are cash-only, and all taxis require cash, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
- If you're visiting a popular spot in English Harbour, try to plan your day around the cruise ship arrival times so that you can avoid the crowds.
- Many bars do not have an official closing time: It just depends when guests trickle out.
- Tipping is generally expected at 10-15 percent.
- It's legal to have an open container on the beach in Antigua, so cheers to that!