With its famous twin peaks rising in the distance and the miles and miles of sandy shores dotting Saint Lucia's coastline, many may wonder if this blissfully serene island has any nightlife spice to it. And, while St. Lucia cannot certainty be described as one of the biggest party places in the Caribbean or one of the loudest, it's quite the opposite in fact, but it does have some good nightlife hotspots.
As long as you don't expect over-the-top raves, raging parties, unless you come in time for carnival season, and Miami or Cancun-style nightclubs, you will enjoy and, in my opinion rather be thankful for, St. Lucia's more subdued nightlife style, with plenty of authentic charm to enchant you and autochtonous rhythms and dances to discover.
If you're a nightlife lover and expect serious and varied nightclub action every day of your stay or want to go clubbing most nights in your holiday, St Lucia is perhaps not for you. But if you're the kind of curious, enthusiastic, music-loving traveller who enjoys a good party atmosphere, with live background music and a rather chilled atmosphere, then most definitely the St Lucian nightlife scene is sure to charm you.
This post aims to shed light on St Lucia's best nightlife hotspots, the majority of which are found in the north and western half of the island.
Rodney Bay - St Lucia's liveliest party town
Without a doubt, Rodney Bay is number one when it comes to the variety of bars and nightlife entertainment options in St Lucia. Simply put no other place in the island tops it, so if experiencing the best of St Lucia nightlife is really important to you, this is the place to stay, luckily for you there are great hotels here so choosing one won't be a problem.
OK, you won't have the Pitons lushly peaking out in the distance, but you will equally enjoy spectacular views over somewhat less iconic yet visually stunning mountains rising above the water and visible from some hotels, like the Royal St Lucian or Papillon by Rex Resorts, and you will enjoy a mile of sun-kissed sands in Reduit Beach. In fact, all along the beach itself, you can feel Rodney Bay's party vibe and a relaxed atmosphere.
Visitors and guests at the hotels lining this pretty beach are a good mix of locals and foreign holidaymakers, so it doesn't feel as much of a tourist trap as other places in St Lucia and there's a lot to be said about the area's character and authentic music scene. Melodic tunes seep out of picturesque beach bars and pumping music livens up the evening atmosphere all around.
That said, there are other places worth exploring if you have the time or the inclination to visit more of the island's good evening entertainment venues. But we'll get there in due time. In terms of St Lucian nightlife, Rodney Bay takes the crown.
Oh, and another thing. Rodney Bay is more than a beachfront party village, it's also home to St Lucia's first ever inflatable water park - Splash Island, so oodles of splashing fun is guaranteed for visitors of all ages. As the Caribbean's first and only inflatable park on open water, this is a great place to let youngsters test their fitness skills as they race through the variety of floating obstacles, from giant slides to monkey bars and climbing walls.
But on with the nightlife action, I will proceed to name Rodney Bay's best, most popular nightlife hotspots.
Top nightlife hotspots in Rodney Bay:
The Rodney Bay Strip is lined with one restaurant and bar after the other. In between them, you'll find some fantastic nightlife joints vibrating with the sounds of Soca and Hip Hop beats. Here I want to draw attention to the most nightclub-style venues for serious party-goer. Of course, this short list is not exhaustive and subject to variation as new bars in Rodney Bay pop up every now and then while others close down and a few others change names and ownership.
By the time you visit some of the ones in this list might no longer be open or will have been re-branded, in any case, the majority are fairly new and likely to stick around for a while, local fans hope so anyway! These are the ones to check out on your next St Lucia holiday if you're serious about nightlife reveries and Caribbean clubbing or "liming" experiences.
Formerly known as "Rehab", this evening joint has been popular for quite some time and after changing names it has also revamped the experience for visitors. There's something different going on every night and the dynamic team ensures everyone is well looked after. As one of the most authentic places in which to spend the night, it's frequented by young locals and the mood is buzzing with banging music from powerful speakers.
DJs spin a mix of dub, soca, hip-hop and old school RandB and the venue can easily get crowded given it's a fairly small place, with the crowds often spilling out into the beer garden. This atmospheric joint is a great place to come and dance, down a few cocktails (2 for 1 offers on drinks are on most nights) and mingle with locals. This is definitely the place to "lime" and "wine". Sundays is karaoke night. You cannot miss its neon-lit entrance so it's an easy one to spot
Having just opened in 2018, this is the freshest, coolest nighttime entertainment venue in Rodney Bay (so far) and the most modern too. As the newest kid on the block (and the most happening too) if offers a cosy environment with "lazy boy" booths for seating in comfort, an ample dance floor and nightly light shows. It's not just a nighttime spot, as it opens daily from 11 a.m. to offer a delicious tapas menus and drink specials during Happy Hour in the afternoon.
The decor is elegant and chic, staff are courteous and attentive, food is simple but tasty consisting mostly of small bites, but people don't really come here to eat, in any case, snack in between drinks. The music here is more international and DJs spin all-time hits and chart-topping ones. You can't go wrong with a visit here and are more likely than not guaranteed an amazing time well into the early hours (it closes after 4 a.m.)
The Boardwalk Bar
This buzzing bar set on a deck-like boarded seaside walk offering prime ocean views. This is the place to be for those looking for a more chilled and laid-back attitude to nightlife. Breezy, casual yet somewhat refined, this place comes alive in the afternoon with daily "Happy Hours" as well as frequent live bashes with top local bands performing traditional rhythms after 9 p.m.
The ambience is fun and lively, carefree and engaging. Adjacent to Rodney Bay Marina, theme parties are held throughout the week as are special promotions on drinks and bites. It's an incredibly atmospheric and magnetic place with good music and an electrifying vibe. Cocktails are excellent and patrons are warm, this is an ideal after-dinner nightlife joint where you can dance, chat and take it easy. Sunsets from here are pretty spectacular too.
At the time of writing this I had just learnt that Rodney Bay's most famous and most elegant nightlife venue, Delirius, had closed as of 27th May 2018 and it had done so for good, which surprised me enormously given its fame, popularity and the rave reviews it attained over the years from leading travel experts. Out of all the ones mentioned above it was the only one to have boasted TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence prior to its sudden closing less than two months ago. So, sad news indeed (especially for its long-time patrons and repeat visitors) but the area's new wave of hip and sleek bars and clubs are making up for the loss.
A more chilled out alternative to the party vibe of the places mentioned above is Spinnakers, where live or recorded music is always played but the atmosphere is generally more subdued. This restaurant and beach bar is Rodney Bay's most famous and with good reason. Perfectly placed right on the sands of Reduit Beach this Spinnakers not only serves delicious fare with grilled seafood specialities and a daily changing lunchtime menu but come dusk the ambience gets more lively but also more romantic. Recorded music is played during the daytime but on some days there are live calypso and Soca bands adding more authentic charm to the ambience. Don't expect raving parties or nightclub-style impromptu dancefloors though. As the sun starts to go down, lights are dimmed. Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily
And if you're interested in Rodney Bay's daytime attractions, this recounted experience of Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island will inspire you to discover more of this beautiful part of St Lucia.
Other nightlife hotspots in Gros Islet
Rodney Bay is part of the Gros Islet quarter in St Lucia's north. Originally a sleepy fishing village, this community has gone on to become the heart and soul of the island's party scene, home to the widest variety of nightlife action and the official headquarters of the annual carnival festivities. Incidentally, it's also one of St Lucia's most popular holiday spots for holidaymakers and therefore home to an ample selection of hotels and resorts.
But there's more to Gros Islet than Rodney Bay for nighttime revellers. Beyond experiencing Rodney Bay's varied nightclubs and lively bars there is one event in this part of St Lucia you simply cannot miss and that is the Friday Jump-Up!
Gros Islet's Jump-Up
This massive street party that takes hold of the town each Friday night and it's a great event to experience and mingle with the locals in a 100% free unadulterated, authentic environment. Expect pumping music, enough rum punch to go around and lots of food vendors lining the streets. The mood is carnival-like and indeed feels like carnival minus the floats and the costumes. Some stalls also sell arts and crafts. Gros Islet's Jump-Up is a must-do if you're in this part of St Lucia, even if you aren't it might be worth it to come up here and get a taste of it for a memorable night out during your holiday.
One of the newest nightclub-style bars on this list and one of the most sophisticated, this is a refreshing alternative to small bars and beach shacks.
Other nightlife gems islandwide
Although it does get quieter the further south you go in St Lucia, if you go east it goes practically silent, there are some good, popular nightlife hotspots to be found along St Lucia's western coast, and one weekly evening event to venture into at the lesser explored town of Dennery. Here are the highlights.
On Da Deck Bar and Grill, Soufriere
What attracts most to this bar in Soufriere is not only the lack of nightlife in this part of the island but the fact that it is beautifully wrapped around by lush nature. Small and cosy, this tiny venue may not have too much space but it over-compensates with charm and atmosphere. Music is great and the owner, being himself a DJ will play different tunes according to the audience present that day. The grilled bites are tasty and patrons rave about their pizza, deemed the best in Soufriere. The Pitons tin peaks in the backdrop? Not quite but you can still see them in the distance.
Anse La Raye Seafood Friday
This popular street event is an excellent way to soak up local culture, mingle with the people of this coastal town and tuck into fresh snapper. St Lucia's biggest and most famous fish fry takes place every Friday in Anse La Raye, often accompanied by live music, street performers and even the occasional fashion show.
The focus though is on the food, and lobster, conch, shrimp and crab cakes are all available from local splendour. Visitors can enjoy their dishes at communal tables and there's plenty of rum to wash it all down. Whilst there's indeed loud music and dancing, this Friday night gathering is more family-friendly than Gros Islet's more drinking-focused Jump-Up.
Off the beaten path in Dennery
If you want to experience a street fish fry event minus the tourist crowds heading to Dennery's Seafood Fiesta will give you a glimpse into more authentic St Lucia, far removed from the big hotels, resorts and other tourist traps. That's not to say you won't find any other tourists though, as this well-kept secret is slowly being let out but it still remains fairly off the beaten path.
It's a great place to sample local cuisine and in close proximity to attractions like Sault Falls and Frigate Island Nature Reserve. The Seafood Fiesta itself is right on the waterfront, starts at 4 p.m. and is littered with stalls selling freshly-cooked fish specialities, bakes, Piton beer and rum punch. Live DJs liven up things with melodic tunes.
Is that all? Any more St Lucia nightlife to explore?
While I've tried to single out the most popular or best nightlife spots in St Lucia, this post cannot cover all the many charming bars and lounges in the island, simply because, it would go on and on, and it would defeat the purpose of pointing you only to the best. That's not to say there aren't other excellent ones that have been left out. For example, Castries, as the capital also has a good selection of bars, with Rum Therapy Bar and Treatment Center being an extremely popular one.
Most tourists tend to favour staying in other parts of the island like Gros Islet, Anse Chastanet or Soufriere, although the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in Castries is well-liked among travellers and boasts a TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence, which is why I've put my nightlife focus elsewhere.
But with the recent success of St Lucia Carnival 2018 and the many events organised as part of Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival 2018, no doubt we will see more nightlife action taking hold of the island in upcoming years and quieter areas perhaps gaining a new bar or two.