Party After Dark
From Cuba to Trinidad with all the islands in between, the Caribbean region pulsates with rhythms of reggae, calypso, steel pan and more. With roots in Africa and influences from Spain, American blues and the struggles of history, Caribbean music has developed into an exciting and often unique blend. Fungi music, special to the BVI, is played by a scratch band of acoustic stringed instruments, perhaps a flute, perhaps a washboard, even a washtub base. Bob Marley is still the undisputed king of reggae nearly 30 years after his untimely death — and Jimmy Buffett, master of Caribbean escapism, is as popular today as he was when he sailed into the BVI for his "Cheeseburger in Paradise."
For reggae lovers, Quito's Gazebo in Cane Garden Bay is a must-stop spot. Tortolan Quito, with his band The Edge, will have you up and on the floor in no time. The full band plays on Saturdays, with guest appearances by Quito playing unplugged during the week. You won't find better reggae anywhere. Speaking of Cane Garden Bay, let's not forget Myett's, where live bands perform most holiday nights and weekends and a happy hour minstrel helps the cold ones slide down. Another popular hot spot is the Elm with its famous Sunday night barbecue and popular blues combo, the Elmtones.
Several one-man-band shows liven up the islands, and local star Reuben Chinnery of Jost Van Dyke should not be missed. His deep baritone voice accompanied by his 12-string guitar will serenade you with island tunes both new and old.
There are probably several contenders for Tortola's hottest nightspot and high on the list is the Bat Cave at Road Town's Inner Harbour. Bartenders often offer complimentary tantalizing sips and exotic shots. Theme nights and karaoke are also popular.
Jost Van Dyke's Foxy's is the BVI's legendary beach bar, restaurant and entertainment centre. On Friday and Saturday nights boaters flock here for the barbecue buffet and fun times afterwards. There's dancing to a live band, a "stroking contest" and an audience participation quiz. Foxy's is also famous for the mega event at his "outback" venue — the New Year's Festival, which is renowned around the world.
Not to be missed is the dinner show at the Last Resort. The extremely talented "Almighty" Al Broderick, aka "The Singing Chef," has a huge repertoire of songs and tunes that will take you through the decades, and is accompanied by Dave on keyboards. There's audience participation and free tequila shots. You're bound to have a good time here.
At Tortola's West End there's a bar/restaurant named for the quintessential happy Caribbean pirate. You guessed it: It's the Jolly Roger. Every season the bar hosts a series of musical acts over a period of about 16 weeks from January through April called the Bud Light True Music Series. The bands play from an open-air stage with plenty of dancing room, and the action gets lively from about 9 p.m. Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats, Deb Callahan and The Reverend Raven are a sampling of the top acts playing this popular venue.
On the sister island of Virgin Gorda, The Bath & Turtle pub has its weekly "jump up" on Wednesday with lively reggae, and Jumbies Beach Bar in Leverick Bay hosts a spectacular party night on Fridays with a gargantuan pig roast buffet, mocko jumbies and a reggae band.
Jumbies Beach Bar also hosts a popular pirate party. There's a pirate trivia quiz, a conch-blowing contest and free shots of rum. Painkillers flow like water, and the crowd gets raucous with enthusiasm.
Virgin Gorda's talented Latitude Stars are resident at the world-famous Bitter End Yacht Club. This band performs the full range of Caribbean music and is open to special requests.
If you're lucky enough to be in the BVI during a full moon, two outstanding parties await your presence. Starting at sundown on full-moon nights, the whole of Trellis Bay metamorphoses into party central. At the Caribbean Kitchen, a Caribbean buffet is served alfresco and soon afterwards a band begins to play, generally a fungi or steel pan band. Dancing starts in earnest as the mocko jumbies make their entrance. These colourful stilt walkers thrill the crowd with their acrobatic antics and amazing stunts. Suddenly, flickering shadows from burning sculptures enhance the scene whilst fire jugglers amaze an awed crowd. It's a night to remember.
At the island's western end there's another full-moon party. Bomba's Shack is renowned Caribbean-wide for its origins and its magic mushroom tea. The structure at the water's edge in Cappoons Bay is made up from bits of driftwood, hurricane debris and fl otsam and jetsam. With decades of graffi ti and displaying diverse ladies' lingerie, the venue is indeed unique. After the barbecue, the band strikes up around 9 p.m. and the party spreads out across the road, across the car park and along the beach, as revellers party with gay abandon in an atmosphere of "anything goes." The tea is served at midnight.
If you love to party after dark, there's no place better than the BVI.
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