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Entertainment & Nightlife in Antigua & Barbuda


Most of the nightlife is centred in St John’s, although hotels and casinos around the islands usually provide in-house entertainment for both hotel guests and non-residents. Casinos generally offer more than just gambling; live music, restaurants and bars are standard in most, and there are even gyms and Internet access in some. A wide choice of restaurants and bars around the main tourist areas offer international and authentic Caribbean food.

Some of the best steel bands in the Caribbean can be found travelling around the hotels along with limbo dancers and calypso singers. They perform nightly during the high season (November to April). For those who like to dance the night away, there are also a few nightclubs/discos. One of the best parties on the island for locals and tourists alike is at Shirley Heights Lookout, Shirley Heights. Crowds gather on the patio every Sunday afternoon to enjoy unparalleled views over English Harbour with a BBQ, live music, drinks and incredible sunsets.

Check with the tourist office for up-to-date information. In addition, a cluster of clubs and bars pulsate into the night in season around the English/Falmouth Harbour area.

Places to Unwind

The best place to be on island on Sunday afternoon is the bar and restaurant, Shirley Heights Lookout, at Shirley Heights. Beginning at 4pm, a barbecue is offered here, followed by a reggae and steel-pan band for dancing later in the evening. Many locals arrive on any late afternoon, grab a sundowner, and head for the patio in the rear for a sweeping view over the arid landscapes surrounding English Harbour and Antigua's most spectacular sunset.

Antigua's hippest night-time venue is The Coast (Heritage Quay, St John's), drawing both islanders and visitors to its precincts where they are entertained by Antiguan live bands, especially techno music, in a raucous setting of good times with plenty of drink and local specialities.

Another venue is Rush Nightclub & Connors Sports Bar (Runaway Bay), open Thursday to Saturday. Doors open nightly and the cover is $3.70 on Thursday and Saturday, rising to $9.30 on Friday. Resident DJs entertain the mostly young crowd with hip hop, soca, reggae, and R&B music.

At English Harbour, the joint is always rocking at Abracadabra Restaurant & Disco-Bar (Nelson's Dockyard). Trattoria such as home-made pastas and fresh seafood, even lobster from an aquarium, launch the night, which becomes a dance party as the evening progresses. There's always something happening here: live jazz, reggae performances, even costume parties. Admiral's Inn is a barefoot-friendly kind of place. You can always play a game of darts and there's live music Thursday and Saturday nights, usually a local 14-piece steel band. Another much-frequented English Harbour watering hole is The Life Bar (Nelson's Dockyard), the most popular spot for visitors arriving aboard yachts. The most authentic British pub at Nelson's Dockyard is Mainbrace, with darts, of course, and fish and chips, and on some nights live jazz. The pub is part of The Copper and Lumber Store Hotel.

18 Carat (Lower Church Street, St John's), is the most popular and sought-after dance club and night bar on the island. Expect a cover charge, ranging from $3.70 to $7.40 per person, an indoor-outdoor format that's open to a view of the night air of downtown St John's, and a barrage of music that includes lots of reggae and soca.

Sand Haven (Runaway Bay), is the hangout of local cricketers and always attracts a fun-loving bevy of patrons who dance the night away after ordering Tex-Mex fare. The beach bar associated with this place is especially busy on weekends.

Live nightly entertainment takes place right on the beach at Millers by the Sea (Runaway Beach). Its happy hour is the best in town.

As for casinos, the best and most elaborate gambling joint on island is Grand Princess Casino (Jolly Harbour), spread across three floors, offering a lot more than gambling. A small but flamboyant alternative is the St James's Club at Mamora Bay. Other action is found at King's Casino on Heritage Quay, the only casino in St John's proper. Entrance is free and no ID is required. You must be 18 to play.





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