One Subway in St John’s and three KFC franchises are far outnumbered by intimate, local restaurants in Antigua and Barbuda serving island delicacies such as a hearty meat and vegetable stew called pepperpot, okra and cornmeal dumplings called fungee, freshly caught lobster, and unusual sweet black pineapples. One of the island’s most delicious desserts, ducata, is made from sugar, coconut, and grated sweet potatoes, which are steamed and wrapped in banana leaves. Each Saturday, a drive-by barbecue complete with sound systems pop up at many of Antigua’s busiest road crossings for a party on the go.
Bars and Pubbing in Antigua and Barbuda
Much of Antigua and Barbuda’s nightlife takes place within its hotels, but the three-floor Grand Princess Casino (Jolly Harbour, Antigua) also offers flamboyant entertainment rivaling Las Vegas in its lounge, as well as a the separate Liquid Nightclub on its second floor. Castaways (Jolly Harbour, Antigua) may be situated beneath a far more modest thatched roof, but it serves up tasty tapas and has an atmosphere that is just as lively as that of more elaborate gambling establishments.
St John’s is home to Antigua and Barbuda’s most exclusive nightspots, including 18 Carat (Lower Church Street, St John’s, Antigua), where visitors must pay a cover to enjoy the live soca and reggae music performed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. No cover charge, however, is required to enter the Coast (Heritage Quay, St John’s, Antigua), whose live techno acts attract countless numbers of locals and visitors alike.
English Harbour’s nightlife boasts a more casual vibe, especially around Nelson’s Dockyard. Mainbrace (Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua) pub serves up dart games and live jazz, along with authentic English dishes such as fish and chips. Footwear is strictly optional at Admiral’s Inn (Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua), where local steel bands with up to 14 members perform calypso music on Thursday and Saturday nights. However, the biggest party in all of Antigua and Barbuda takes place at the Shirley Heights military lookout each Sunday evening.
Dining and Cuisine in Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda’s most vegetarian-friendly cuisine is located on St John’s Redcliffe Quay, home to Mama Lolly’s (Redcliffe Quay, St John’s, Antigua), where Tuesday and Friday fish specials are the only meat dishes on the menu. Their burgers, pizzas, wraps, and lasagna are all meat-free, while the courtyard juice bar features cool drinks made from freshly squeezed tropical fruits. Calabash (Redcliffe Quay, St John’s, Antigua) is another vegetarian-friendly restaurant owned by a former New York City raw food chef.
A surprising amount of Antigua and Barbuda restaurants are situated near VC Bird International Airport, including the Pavilion (No. 7 Pavilion Drive, Coolidge, Antigua), whose elegant setting is reminiscent of a plantation dining room and whose wine cellar contains no fewer than 8,000 bottles from around the world. Diners can enjoy some of Antigua’s finest Caribbean cuisine and an exciting cricket match at the same time at Sticky Wicket (20 Pavilion Dr, Coolidge, Antigua), located adjacent to Stanford Cricket Grounds.
The menu at the waterfront JohnnyCocoNat (Slipway, English Harbour, Antigua), near Nelson’s Dockyard, contains no fewer than 20 different oven baked pizzas, rib eye burgers on focaccia buns, and some on Antigua’s finest salads. Le Cap Horn (Dockyard Drive, English Harbour, Antigua) adds a unique Caribbean twist to its French cuisine and is where diners can enjoy piping hot steak or fish served on smoking cast iron skillets or cook their own meals on volcanic stones at their table.