No visit to Barbados is complete without a nightcap at one of the many spots on St Lawrence Gap, a long, winding road that connects Worthing and Dover Beach. It is said that The Gap has the best nightlife on the island and on the night we stopped in it certainly didn’t disappoint.

St Lawrence Gap is a beach side entertainment precinct about half an hour from Bridgetown, Barbados. By day, it’s a beautiful place to watch the world go by, with the white, sandy beach, turquoise waters and colorful boats making it a haven for photographers and fisher folk alike. By night, the street comes alive, with its many restaurants, bars and hotels.  Staying ten minutes from “the Gap” gave us an excuse to sample the best of both times of day.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Our first visit to St Lawrence Gap is at dusk with the sun setting over the steeple of St Lawrence By The Sea (its namesake) and storm clouds rolling in. With an overwhelming choice of happy hour specials to try, we settle for one offering the best value – two pina coladas for B$12 (i.e. $6US). It’s a quiet spot to sit outside and a great place to take in the view of crashing waves. As the sky’s hues change from light blue, to a deep shade of pink to finally going down beyond the church, so do the pina coladas. In the distance, a paddle boarder battles the growing waves and the streets begin to fill with revelers.
The next morning, we’re back in search of a relative rarity in Barbados – a half-decent non-fat latte. Unable to find a café on the strip, we abscond to the ground floor restaurant of one of the boutique hotels for an affordable, but entirely meh-class breakfast and drip coffee. Luckily the million dollar view more than makes up for the disappointing caffeine hit.

On the second evening, we explore further down the road, passing a long line of restaurants, each offering their own spin for tourists, barbacoa, Mexican, vegetarian, you name it you can find it here. With our appetites suppressed for a little while longer, we head toward Dover Beach, on the far side of the Gap.  We pass small vans with their back doors revealing local fare and delicious-looking pasties. It’s part of the British presence that has permeated their food and culture.

PARTYING WITH THE LOCALS

Another particularly British/Commonwealth site ahead welcomes us at the end of the Gap, where the beach road borders a cricket ground. It’s a sight for sore eyes for an Aussie! For the evening, we’ve been tipped off by some folk we met on our cruise, that there’s a party going on. The cricket ground has been taken over by a local radio station for a community party that, we find out, has been going since 11 a.m. in the morning.

We decided to stop in and get into the community spirit. There’s a large crowd spilling out of a giant tent, with many other smaller tents offering local fare. Expecting island music to be blasting over the speakers, we’re instead greeted by middle of the road country music. Couples are dancing and the vibe is positive. Around the tent, community games are taking place, with handball a hit, whilst in smaller tents, quietly intense battles over dominoes are taking place. Someone’s even brought along a green monkey, which takes great joy at leaping onto Jess’s shoulders.

Beers are flowing freely in the beer tents and rather than control alcohol consumption, we’re told that you can only buy four at a time – our kind of bar! At 4 for B$10 ($5US), it’s easy to see what’s fueling the dance floor. We stop a few locals for a chat and they’re more than happy to share a few travel tips.

Across the road, at the beachfront are a cluster of small kiosks and restaurants selling fried fish and chips. A community minded old lady stops us to warn us that there’s heightened risk of pickpockets in that area, so we check our valuables and head back up St Lawrence Gap for another quiet cocktail.

As a place to visit, it’s not a totally essential part of the Barbados experience (minus the aforementioned cocktail), but the addition of a community celebration gave us a greater appreciation of the people and their values. Barbados is a strong, religious, familial country that isn’t afraid of letting its hair down and being part of a local party revealed so much more of the country to us than sticking to the well-trodden tourist path – even if it was that very road that took us to this experience.

WHAT?

St Lawrence Gap is a 1 mile road that is home to a vibrant restaurant and club scene.

WHERE?

St Lawrence Gap is on the south coast of Barbados, about half an hour from Bridgetown. It can be found between Worthing and Dover Beaches at St Lawrence, in the parish of Christ Church.

HOW?

Take a ZR taxi or stay locally.