There’s a new breed of beach bar in the Caribbean these days. Places that up the ante in terms of food, ambiance and indulgence. Establishments that offer an alternative to the more basic, even ramshackle beer and BBQ type of beach bars that are scattered across the islands. I’d be the first to say that there is plenty of room for both!
Catherine’s is definitely one of that new breed. Occupying a plum spot on Pigeon Point Beach in the bustling English Harbour area of Antigua, Catherine’s styles itself as a French-inspired beachfront “venue”. It backs up that claim with a creative menu, an extensive wine list and a casually elegant ambiance. In fact, if it wasn’t for that gorgeous beach, the tables and loungers on the sand and a laid-back beach bar ambience, it could easily pass for a high-end continental bistro.
It’s a spacious place with comfortable seating under the roof and outside. Staff is friendly and efficient. But the vibe is still such that you can take a break from your cocktails or meal for a quick dip in the ocean.
Prices are on the high end, especially by Antigua standards, but far from outrageous. And, from our experience anyway, you get good value for your money.
The location is excellent. Pigeon Point is a really nice beach, well worth strolling along either before or after your visit. And Catherine’s is a short taxi ride from most of the hotels in the English Harbour area.
What will you have?
Beer: Antigua’s own Wadadli is by far the most popular beer here. The also carry another local microbrew, Pigeon Point Pilsner, at least when they can get it. Heineken, Carib and a few others are also available.
Rum/Cocktails: This is one well-stocked bar. Local rums are featured. Cavalier is the mixer, but they also feature English Harbour 5 year and 10 year (often in short supply). Cocktails are numerous, creative and well-made. And the wine list is top notch – well above typical beach bar standards.
Food: This is where Catherine’s really shines. From gazpacho Andaluz and Salad Nicoise to hand-made seafood taglioni, the menu is impressive. And just when you think that this isn’t a beach bar at all, they throw in a separate beach menu for a more toes-in-the-sand dining experience, featuring baguettes, quiches and snacks.
Catherine’s attracts a mixed crowd of young locals, curious tourists staying near by and sailors. English Harbour is a yachters’ paradise. As such, the place can get really busy during one of Antigua’s many regular sailing events.
At first glance Catherine’s doesn’t exactly look like a beer and rum place. But you can certainly get those and chill on their beautiful beach. Or, if you prefer, you can sip champagne and enjoy a serious meal. Catherine’s delivers both experiences equally well.
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