Just over a year ago, I posted the 2011 edition. Since then I’ve tested even more bars to make sure I have an opinion about each and every one. From Zaak Bajo (now closed and for rent) to Coco Beach, I’ve left few stones unturned – even expanding my reach to the north side of Ambergris Caye. See the suffering I endure for my readers?Now, I’ve been all the way north to Tranquility Bay and Sueno del Mar, I’ve been all the way south to Rastafarian Bar (is it still open?) and bars in between, from Black & White Bar to Bernie’s Sports Lounge. You can read all about many of my visits in previous posts.Here is my definitive list of 2012’s Best Bars in San Pedro.
Best Place to Drink In The Morning – Estel’s By the Sea
Great Bloody Mary’s, great micheladas, sangrias and a delicious Belizean (or American style) breakfast right on the beach. Open at 6am each day but Tuesday.
Here is the menu. Careful not the brush up against it!
Best Bar To Feel Like A Local – Barrel Bar
Looking for a bar a bit off the beaten path? One where you can hang with local fisherman, tour guides and just folks relaxing? Barrel Bar is your spot. Just north of town and on the lagoon, this bar is one cool spot. Beers are $4bzd all day ($5-6 is the town average), they have a giant iguana mascot eyeballing you from the nearby mangroves and a killer view of the lagoon and the setting sun. You’ll love this bar.
Hidden Gem Beach Bar – The Squirrels Nest at Mata Rocks
Not so much hidden as small and tucked away, the Squirrels Nest is one of my favorite beach bars. One you might just pass by on your way down the beach. Don’t. The atmosphere and the view are well worth stopping for.
View from your bar stool.
Most Improved Bar for 2012 – Wet Willy’s Bar & Smokehouse
With new owners, Wet Willy’s has been making lots of upgrades. Fresh new coats of paint, a sparkling new kitchen, a great menu and they finally took the dirty, dusty t-shirts and Xmas lights down from the ceiling!
Wet Willy’s is doing BBQ…pulled pork, chicken and really, REALLY good burgers. With the much beloved Lazy Croc’s BBQ currently closed, if they do it right, they should be able to pick up lots of island fans.
With the new owners and a new DJ, I still need to attend the famous (and sometimes infamous) Wednesday Ladies Night. Wish me luck.
Best Good-Old Fashioned Bar Food – Average Joe’s
Wings are king in San Pedro. And for the best wings on the island (in about 20 different flavors both dry rubbed and wet), real beef hot dogs and other faves like mac & cheese and chili, Average Joe’s takes this prize. Easily. Though not on the ocean, this bar tucked into a corner just off the main road is a definite stop if you are craving good old fashioned fried bar food. Or ice hockey games. The owners are Canadians and avid fans.
Plus, they have a great bartender you’ll want to meet named Kevin.
Best Bar To Feel A Bit More Sophisticated – Wine De Vine
Though not a bar, this wine, cheese and specialty shop does a great Tuesday and Friday evening social. Get there early, around 6pm, because at 8pm, you will be politely ushered out. Sit in a comfy armchair or snag a seat at the small bar, order a good glass of wine and a cheese plate and chat with people (mostly gringos) that live on the island.
Best Bar for Karaoke – Roadkill Bar
Wednesday nights around 8pm to 11pm, Roadkill is the spot if you visit the island and want to belt out some Journey. “Just a small town girl…”
Bars Guaranteed to Have a Crowd (No Matter What Time of the Year) –(Day time) Cholo’s Sports Bar
Right in the middle of all the action, Cholo’s serves cheap beers, has a pool table, LOTS of TVs and is right on the beach. Serving beers as early as 9am, this is a fun spot filled with lots of locals and tourists.
(Night time) Fido’s Courtyard
Live music (or karaoke) every night of the week, you’ll always find people at Fido’s. The best night (and biggest crowd) is Friday.
Best Mixed Drinks – El Divino at Banana Beach
Though mixed drinks (here and on the entire island) are very pricey, hit El Divino on Martini Monday or Tequila Tuesday for their 2 for 1 specials. 2 is more than enough for me, these drinks are strong! And Monday, in particular, draws a big, mixed crowd…from the young folks to a large group of retirees.
Best Rum Punch – Seaduced by Belize
Okay, so they are not a bar. Seaduced is a tour group that just happens to make delicious rum punch. And drinking it while on a catamaran sail to Caye Caulker or on your way back from a day of cave tubing makes it 10x better. I’m not sure what they put in this stuff.
Best Place To Hang on A Sunday Afternoon – Crazy Canuck’s
Sunday Funday and Horseshoe Tournament from 3pm on. (I just recently wrote a post about my afternoon there.)
Best Late Night Club – Jaguar’s Temple Night Club
On Friday and Saturday nights.
Best Place to Hear Live Music – Wahoo’s Lounge
I know many of you are going to disagree with this but when I visit a tropical place, I like to hear the local music…not blues or classic rock or jazz…local. So my favorite night of the week to hear it is the SUPER POPULAR Chicken Drop Thursday at Wahoo’s Lounge. Local punta and reggae live out on the beach with Barry and the Islanders.
Get there early if you want a seat.
Best Place to Meet Shady Characters – Daddy Rock’s Outside Bar
No need to elaborate.
Best Overall Bar 2012 – Palapa Bar
Just over a mile north of the bridge, Palapa Bar is the #1 spot everyone should go to on a trip to San Pedro. A two story palapa sitting out over the water, this place has got THE view. Sit, have a beer or two and watch the boats go by or soak in one of the inner tubes tied to the back porch…you’ll love this place. Honestly.
So there is it. Agree or disagree, I would love to hear your comments.
One of my favorite places to hang out when I am in San Pedro is at Hurricane’s bar. The ceviche is amazing and it’s always very chill and relaxed.
It is a cool place, I agree. Maybe 2013?
Love Love Love the Palapa bar! We we’re there 10 days and spent almost 4 full days at the palapa! The bartenders are awesome and the food and drinks are great!!! Its relaxing and fun and you cant beat the view of course! We cant wait to go back!
Kevin is the BEST bartender~ and his wings are awesome. I visited 2 years ago and once more before that and my hangout was the Tackle Box, where Kevin made the BEST Pina Coladas I’ve ever had!! And I LOVE the Palapa bar, such a serene feeling sitting up there enjoying rum punch with a gorgeous view! Can’t wait to visit again!
Kevin is great…I’ll agree! I used to work at the Tacklebox…probably when you were there. See you soon…there are lots more bars to test out!