It was well over 5 years ago that I wrote this review for Barrel Bar located on the lagoon just north of San Pedro town:
“This rickety little spot over the lagoon is true hidden gem. A jukebox, friendly local customers and a killer sunset view, finding it might be a tad bit difficult but it’s well worth it.”
You might remember the spot – but you might not. It was definitely off the beaten path. A bar with a jukebox that only played Latin songs. A spot where one Saturday afternoon, they were doing tattoos in the shaky upstairs area. A place where you definitely went for your last drinks of the day, never your first. There were no bathrooms in the bar, you had to go across the street to the owner’s house. Barrel Bar never had soda water or juice…sometimes they were out of Coke but a visit to Barrel Bar was always memorable.
And this tiny shack over the lagoon was way cool.
Here are some of my very old pics. (I think from 2011 and 2012)
There were some giant green iguanas perched in the trees hanging over the bar. You could actually lure them in with some fruit…
My beloved jukebox…I wonder where it went!
And I found this video/commercial of the owner Lou making conch EYE ceviche. In case you are interested…
In short, Barrel Bar was the COOLEST dive bar around. But over the last few years, it changed hands a few times and then was closed and the property sold.
But now there is great news! Barrel Bar is gone but a new business is rising in its place. To take advantage is this SUPER COOL spot on the lagoon…less than a block from the main road. Surrounded by lagoon, iguanas, big cruising tarpon, a gorgeous mangroves…
Ishmael, the owner of the super successful Sandy Toes bar (directly to the east of this location…just a few minute walk) is re-doing the Barrel Bar. But keeping the feel…rustic…over-the-water but BEAUTIFUL.
Some pictures from when he was first opening Sandy Toes in 2015.
They’ve also got a pretty good view 😉
So Ishmael is re-doing the Barrel Bar location to build a restaurant.
I’ve suggested the name Barrel Bar Bistro…Three Bs…but I guess I should stay out of it. The restaurant won’t be open until the end of the year at the earliest…but here is what it looks like!
Let’s look behind the zinc.
This hardwood steps…sapodilla and bullet wood…
The view from inside.
It’s an amazing spot…seriously amazing. I can’t wait to see it finished.
Opening a new business on this island is hard – almost impossible. The need to differentiate yourself is paramount. I really think this location is exactly the thing…
Stay tuned for more on Barrel Bar bistro.