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Pelican Bar, Jamaica. Coolest Bar in the World: How to Get There from Jakes, Treasure Beach

The Coolest Bar in the World? That would be Pelican Bar! What to know and when to go.

ne mile off the coast, in the turquoise sea of Parottee Bay, you’ll find the Pelican Bar. Literally a hut, made from scrap wood and built on a sandbar, Pelican Bar serves beers and seafood to fishermen and other folk who arrive by boat. Built by a fisherman named Floyd in 2001, Pelican Bar was at first just meant for Floyd’s fishing buddies—but it quickly became known as one of the best beach bars in the world. Join the locals playing dominos, and take a dip in between drinks. The best times to go are very early in the morning—hop in a kayak at 5 a.m. and you’ll be drinking a Red Bull by 7:20—or very late in the afternoon. There’s no better place in the world to watch the sun set.

The full Pelican Bar experience takes about three hours. The boat trip there and back takes about 25 minutes to and from the dock at Jakes. If, like most folks, you’d like to go for sunset, we’ll arrange for a captain to meet you at the dock at 3 p.m., and we’ll have you back around 6 p.m. If there’s another time you’d prefer, just let us know.

Pelican Bar: the back story

JASON HENZELL

A local fisherman named Floyd had a dream one night: a dream where he built a bar on the sandbar he would go to every day to clean his fish. Every day on that sandbar, he’d see fishermen passing him on their way to Black River—and he wanted to build a bar for them. Everyone told him he was mad, but Sally looked at him and said, “You’re going to be world famous one day.” She took the first photo of Pelican Bar that was ever taken, on her mobile phone—and the mobile phone company in Jamaican used it for their national campaign. She got paid $500 for the photo and gave the $500 to Floyd, who used it to stock his bar. It’s a Robinson Crusoe kind of story; he was world-famous within a few years. Today, Pelican Bar is the epitome of making something out of nothing.

—JASON HENZELL

TREASURED SECRETS

“We love going to Pelican for sunset, on nights when the moon is full, and then ride back in the boats under the moonlight.”

Giuliano Pignataro

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