willy t floating bar bvi

The legendary floating bar, Willy T. (Photo: William Thornton Floating Bar and Restaurant)

Eat + Drink

Belly Up (by Boat) to the Best BVI Bars

If any Caribbean destination has perfected island hopping from one beach bar to the next, it’s the British Virgin Islands. The sailing capital of the Caribbean makes it easy to blow between island destinations, with some 50 islands and cays strung close together throughout the BVI and surrounded by sparkling sapphire seas.

Nearly every inhabited island here has a beach bar to beckon you with something icy and refreshing, washed down with the requisite come-as-you-are island hospitality.

And while Jost Van Dyke is home to two of the most famous beach bars in all of the Caribbean (Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar), there are many other beachfront watering holes to dive into in the BVI.

Whatever you do, don’t leave without sampling the most celebrated cocktail in the BVI. “You must try a Painkiller,” says Leon Miller, a bartender at the Soggy Dollar, about the rum libation made with fresh juices and topped with grated Grenadian nutmeg. “You can find them all over the world, and some are sweeter than others,” says Miller, “But it’s like the national drink for the BVI, and there’s nothing like sipping one on a beach right here.”

Read on for some favorite BVI beach bars for sandy fun on your next trip:

Willy T, Norman Island

Ask anyone who’s been to the BVI, and chances are they’ll have a story to share about the legendary floating bar, Willy T. The original Willy T was destroyed during Hurricane Irma. But a replacement barge was soon found, and eventually made her way back to The Bight on Norman Island to be anchored for good.

The same old Willy T antics of yesteryear continue today (we can’t write about them here, but you’ll see in person). While not technically a beach bar, the barge is anchored right off Norman Island’s north coast.

In short, a visit to the Willy T is all about enjoying the beautiful surrounding waters, which you can easily dip into between drinks at the open-air boat bar.

Foxy’s, Jost Van Dyke

Just around the headland east of Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke you’ll find Great Harbour and the legendary beach bar, Foxy’s. Night time is the right time to rock up here to continue the party you started at Soggy Dollar.

Serving sailors since 1968, Foxy’s has seen its share of hurricanes, yet always seems to bounce back better than ever. Friday and Saturday nights are particularly lively, with local bands playing island music and smoke from a Caribbean barbecue filling the air with the scent of grilling mahi mahi, chicken and ribs.

Big Bamboo, Anegada

You have to want to get to Anegada, the northernmost island in the BVI, which requires slightly more of sailing commitment to reach than the other islands in the archipelago. It’s worth it once you see the powdery beaches and crystalline waters surrounded by a far flatter topography than the hilly neighbors.

Beeline it to Loblolly Bay, on Anegada’s north coast, where good vibes await at Big Bamboo. Hung with old fishing buoys, the beach bar fronts what’s possibly the loveliest stretch of sand in all of the BVI. Settle in for a cold beer or cocktail and a platter of the grilled Caribbean spiny lobster, a specialty for which Anegada is known.

Soggy Dollar, Jost Van Dyke

The beachy Caribbean good life gets distilled to its essence at this wildly famous beach bar fronting White Bay on Jost Van Dyke. From morning through late afternoon, the sailing throngs make landfall by dinghy (or simply swim ashore) to join the partying crowd.

When Soggy Dollarfirst opened in the 1970s there were no roads to the place, and boaters arrived with soggy dollar bills to buy their drinks (hence the bar’s name). As you’d expect, the bartenders here, including Leon Miller, do a mean Painkiller. The drink is said to have been invented here, after all.

But consider branching out to try the Lady Killer, a twist on the original with raspberry and mango rum in the mix. For maximum Caribbean vibes, lather on the sunscreen to sip your drink in the shallow turquoise seas.