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British Virgin Islands Nightlife

Bomba Surfside Shack
Cappoon's Bay , Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 4148

To call this beach bar on Tortola's Cappoon's Bay a shack is an insult to shanties everywhere. Still, this jumble of flotsam and jetsam—held together, it seems, solely by the elastic of the panties and bras that hang from every available inch of rafter—has become a must-do for Caribbean pub crawlers. The main attraction is the Full Moon Party, when the grizzled Bomba himself hosts an overflowing horde of partiers, many of who come to sample the infamous hallucinogenic mushroom tea (weak, but $10 gets you a bottomless souvenir cup). And with beverages like that, you can understand how people eventually feel the need to donate their undies.

Opens daily at 10 am. Live bands play Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Chez Bamboo
Spanish Town , Virgin Gorda
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 5752

The Caribbean meets the French Quarter? Somehow it works at Spanish Town's Chez Bamboo, a Cajun/Creole bar and restaurant (think gumbo, but with conch). As a dinner spot it can be hit-or-miss, but come for dessert and music at the courtyard bar, which is built around a tamarind tree: The crème brûlée is reliably delicious and the live local band is one of the best in the BVI. For island-hoppers, Chez Bamboo is located just off the water near Yacht Harbour, easily walkable from the docks. When charting your itinerary, plan to be here on Friday when the boaters and locals gather to jump up with the live reggae and calypso.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 to 10 pm, Fridays 5 pm to 2 am.

Foxy's Tamarind Bar and Grill
Great Harbour , Jost Van Dyke
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 9258

Foxy Callwood's eponymous watering hole on Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, is the most famous bar in the Caribbean. Foxy is a famed raconteur and politically incorrect Calypsonian who ribs patrons with improvised guitar ditties (stop in before 5 pm to catch his shanties). Most people know the salty dog for his do-before-you-die “Old Year's Eve” party when revelers fill the bay with sailboats rafted gunwale to gunwale. The rest of the year, boaters sail in for great food, live music (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights), and libations like the Dread Fox (made with Foxy's own brand of rum poured over sour mix and cranberry juice) and the Friggin' in de Riggin' (mango, banana, and a double dose of rum). Be forewarned: The ferry stops at about 6 pm, so those who want to continue the party will have to sleep on boats moored in the harbor or at one of the few accommodations on the island.

Opens daily at 9:30 am.

Quito's Gazebo
Cane Garden Bay , Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 4837

Tortola's Cane Garden Bay is the place to do a barefoot bar hop down the beach. Walk along the crescent strand, eavesdropping on the ebb and flow of people moving from one beachfront bar & grill to the next, Myett's to Rhymer's to Big Banana. Most everyone ends up at Quito's, eventually, especially when the owner—singer/songwriter Quito Rymer—is on stage with his band The Edge. The house specialty, Caribbean Run (coconut rum, vodka, and OJ), is named after one of Quito's most popular songs. It's best enjoyed from the large first-floor bar/restaurant, where you can take in the view across the bay and down the beach. Quito mellows out with acoustic solo sets Tuesdays and Thursdays; the full band rocks the reggae Friday and Saturday nights.

Opens daily at 10 am.

Rock Café
The Valley
Virgin Gorda
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 5482

A daytime visit to the stone formations and grottoes at the Baths can be an otherworldy experience, so just imagine the same natural beauty after sunset with the added attraction of dramatic lighting, gurgling waterfalls, and icy cocktails. Although the Rock Café started as an Italian/Caribbean restaurant, it's evolved into an after-dinner destination with a piano bar and live music every night. The tempo depends a lot on the crowd, with many evenings turning into rock 'n' roll sing-alongs and dance parties where locals and yachties mingle (Rock Café is within walking distance of Virgin Gorda's Yacht Harbour).

Open daily at 4 pm. Music starts at 8 pm.

William Thornton
Norman Cay Bight , Norman Island
British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 494 0183
Tel: the bar also monitors VHF Channel 16

Body shots, temporary tattoos, synchronized shooters via an ingenious contraption called the “shotski,” impromptu nakedness. This floating bar proves that the further you get from the mainland, the lower your inhibitions. Captained by head bartender, Zeus, Willie T cruises nowhere fast. The partying pirate ship simply swings on anchor in Norman Cay's Bight, attracting yachties and those landlubbers who hitch a ride on the bar's supply boat, the Wet Willie (284-496-6416; leaves Tortola at 5 pm; back whenever the bar closes.). To soak up the rum, the galley offers up a good selection of grilled and fried pub grub (conch fritters, fish sandwiches, burgers). Even though the skinny-dipping skydives off the stern rail have recently been outlawed, the atmosphere can get decidedly PG-13 to R after dark, so the sensitive best abandon ship early.

Opens daily at noon. Reservations for lunch and dinner suggested.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.