The Spots + Specials

Happy Hour is a great way to celebrate vacation and slide onto island time! St. John has no shortage of fun bars and hangouts, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Cruz Bay Happy Hour locales to share with you:

Joe’s Rum Hut

Located on Cruz Bay beach looking at the ferry dock and entire bay and beyond, this Happy Hour is one that can get you in trouble. Their famous “$3 You-Call-It” means any drink is $3 from 4-6pm, be it a Frozen Bushwhacker or shot of Patron, Rum Punch or anything in between. You can’t beat the view either! Take your drink down to the charts on the beach and sip to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.

The Longboard

If a frozen treat is what you’re looking for, Longboard is the spot, and you can enjoy surf videos and a coastal vibe while you cool down. Their frozen drinks are on special during the 3-6pm Happy Hour – the must-have Frozen Painkiller is $5 and the Passionfruit Frosй is $10. Craft specialty cocktails range from $6-7 during Happy Hour. 

Lime Inn

With the slogan “Happy Hour Should Start in The Morning,” this long-time island restaurant offers up Happy Hour from 11:30am-5:30pm, making it the longest Happy Hour on island. It features $4 craft cocktails, $4 prosecco and $2 Presidente beers.  The cool garden atmosphere is an added bonus.

Woody’s

Everyday from 3-6pm, Woody’s rolls out their World Famous (it’s true, Woody’s Happy Hour is legendary) drink specials including $1 Coors Light, $3 Well Drinks, $1 Off Other Drinks. Get there early to grab one of the 3 outdoor tables and watch the Cruz Bay scene.

Umami 

Located across the street from Woody’s, this spot wins for the best food + drink deals during Happy Hour. Umami offers 2 for 1 house cocktails and 2 sushi rolls for $12 during their 3-6pm Happy Hour. There are a slew of other food options too, all complete with cool air conditioning for a late afternoon outing.

The Tap Room

This local brewery has amazing housemade beers, as well as a slew of other great beers on draft. Enjoy the A/C and draft beers at $1 off, and 1/2 price flat bread pizzas during their 4-6pm Happy Hour.

What was your favorite Happy Hour on St. John? Snap a shot and share it by tagging #DestinationSTJ

Itinerary for an Idyllic Day in St. John

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We’re sharing with you our third installment of an itinerary for a day in St. John. Our guests always ask us how they should spend their days and for our recommendations for a perfect day. 

1 – Wake up and enjoy the view at whatever fabulous Destination St. John villa you are staying at! Pack a bag with sunscreen, towels, water and whatever you need for the day.

2 – Head to Cruz Bay for breakfast at Northshore Deli.  We love their iced coffees and they make an amazing breakfast sandwich! Sit outside and enjoy the beautiful architecture and planting in Mongoose Junction, or enjoy the cold A/C inside.

3 – Load up in your jeep and head out to Cinnamon Bay. This is one of our favorite beaches – it’s got beautiful vistas, good snorkeling, watersports rentals and even a little food truck where you can grab snacks and St. John Brewer’s local beer on tap. Kayak around the little island, lounge in the super soft Caribbean white sand, and splash in the crystal clear water. 

4 – Cruise back into town and hit up Little Olive Food Truck for some Greek eats. We love the Sriracha fiery fries and Street Beet Salad, and be sure to grab a Turmeric Iced Tea. Get it to go and head back to your villa for a little shade and nourishment.

5 – Once you’ve dipped in your Destination St. John villa’s pool, read your book or maybe napped (this is vacation, isn’t it??), make your way back to Cruz Bay to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese and charcuterie plate at Island Cork in Wharfside Village. The owner, Paul, will enthusiastically guide you through the best wines and make sure that you are taken care of. Wander the shops and buy locally made, hand-crafted jewelry at Bamboo Studio or great t-shirts and souvenirs at Pig + Rooster. 

6 – Enjoy an amazing, chef-driven meal at La Tapa, one of St. John’s best restaurants that has been around for years. Locally-caught fresh tuna or mahi is nearly always on the menu and a must, and we love the paella for two and the three housemade sauces with fresh french bread.. Chef and owner Alex is usually there, making the rounds and stopping into chat with tables when she’s not cooking up a storm in the kitchen! (PS – this recent NY Times article agrees that La Tapa and Little Olive are must-visits, along with a few of our other favorites like The Longboard and Angel’s Rest).

We hope you enjoy some of our favorite spots on island! Let us know if you visited them, and share any posts on social media by tagging #DestinationSTJ

Local Dining: Fresh Fish

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We’re often asked about where to eat fresh fish on island and we love the island-inspired fish dishes that are offered at The Longboard. With a healthy menu focused on seafood, you can’t go wrong dining at this bright, upbeat Cruz Bay restaurant.

The Longboard, which opened in March 2015, celebrates the adventurous yet laid back ocean lifestyle of the islands and draws inspiration from coastal cuisines around the globe. Head Chef Kenny Claxton and owners Clint Gaskins and Tyler Beckstead bring a fresh approach to dining on St. John with incredible flavors and offerings. Located on the stretch of road between Connections and the Post Office (across from Rhumblines), The Longboard has certainly brightened Cruz Bay with a cheery, surf-themed spot that is sure to draw you in for a drink and some memorable eats.

Some of our favorite dishes include Ahi Poke, with fresh chunks of ruby red Ahi tuna, avocado, mango, in a spicy sesame soy sauce topped with scallions.  Not to be missed are the tacos or bowls – your choice of a house made corn tortilla, local Josephine’s greens or a quinoa and rice blend. The choices make it hard to pick, but we always go for the Grilled Pescado – it’s the fresh grilled daily catch with pickled red onion, jalapeño, baby arugula, mango and guacamole! We love it on a corn taco, but you can’t go wrong. There are also a lot of great gluten free and vegetarian options. Check out their Instagram for nightly menu specials that feature fresh catches, local and exotic vegetables and more!

AND, don’t miss the DRINKS. Make sure to try the Frozen Painkillers on tap (yes – Frozen. Painkiller. and it’s $5 at Happy Hour!) and the Passion Fruit Frosé, a delightful concoction of rosé wine and passion fruit, frozen and perfect. We also love their inspired cocktail list with house made sodas like ginger beer, grapefruit and lemonade.  Our go to: The Heart & Sol, a tropical blend of grilled pineapple and jalapeño infused reposed tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, Thai basil, pineapple. honey syrup with a smoked sea salt rim!

Grab a table (arrive early, the place opens at 3pm and fills up fast!), enjoy the tropical music and surf videos playing behind the bar, and watch the Cruz Bay scene as you sip a frozen Painkiller.

Dining at the Longboard during your stay? Share a photo of your favorite drink or dish by tagging #destinationSTJ on Instagram!

Our Market + Scoops

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Fresh tropical fruit and rum drinks are two things that can immediately make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation! There’s no better spot to pop in when you first arrive on St. John than Our Market Smoothies, a super cute stand right in Cruz Bay.

With over 500 5-star reviews and a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, you can’t go wrong hitting up this iconic local spot. They have great fresh fruit smoothies, using local ingredients like passion fruit, papaya, mango, soursop, coconut and pineapple. One of our favorite things to order is a fresh local coconut, in the shell, with nothing added but a straw! For an extra dollar, you can add local Cruzan Rum for the full island effect! Owner Thomas is an island icon, with his big smile and warm heart as much a staple as the delicious blended concoctions he makes!

We also like St. John Scoops in Mongoose Junction – while they specialize more in ice creams and sorbets,  also has great smoothies. It’s all locally made, fresh and with delicious island fruits. We love the “adult icecream” options, including the Painkiller ice cream (a signature tropical blend of pineapple, orange and cream of coconut with rum and nutmeg).  Another favorite is their Root Beer Float, made with St. John Brewer’s Root Beer and Scoops homemade ice cream. You can always head over to their Facebook page for special new flavors, or check them out on TripAdvisor, too. 

Stop in to either spot and enjoy an array smoothies, tropical concoctions, fresh coconut, ice cream or other island treats that will cool you down and put a smile on your face. Welcome to island time, welcome to vacation!

Happy Hour: Cruz Bay Beach

the scene: boats anchoring, people watching, ferries arriving and departing, and of course and a front row seat for mother nature’s epic display of colors at sunset. 

A few of the bars at Cruz Bay have expanded their offerings to the beach, and set up chairs in the sand and offer table service. We love going to Joe’s Rum Hut in the afternoons from 4-6pm for their $3 “You Call It” happy hour – all drinks are $3 (even frozen cocktails!). Lime in de Coconut and Bushwackers are our top picks, but you can’t go wrong with a St. John Brewers VI Summer Ale either.  With appetizers like Lobster Quesadilla and Mahi Mahi bits, or great pizzas, it’s a perfect spot to post up and watch the world go by. A bit further down the beach is The Beach Bar, aptly named. Grab a table on the beach, order a drink and enjoy the ocean breeze. And if you’re reading this from home wishing you were here, you can check out their webcam. The Beach Bar often has live music, so check the schedule online. They’re known for their burgers, and we love the Tuna Down Now, a flash-fried sushi roll that is spot on. Don’t forget to order a painkiller and unwind!

A newcomer to the Wharfside shopping area is Island Cork. Though not beach front, it’s a great place to cool down in the AC and enjoy a drink. Check out this wine shop and wine bar where you can pick up a few bottles to bring home, as well as pull up a stool and enjoy whatever fine wines are available by the glass that day. The owner Paul has curated an incredible selection of wines that you won’t find available anywhere else. You can also order gourmet cheese and charcuterie plates, and he puts together an delicious deli sandwich, too! 

Make sure to snap some pictures of the sunset and tag #DestinationSTJ. We’ll share the best shots on our Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Cheers!

Dining Experience: Extra Virgin Bistro

As we’ve shared before, St. John is home to a plethora of amazing restaurants. Many visitors are blown away by the fact that there are so many incredible culinary experiences in the small town of Cruz Bay (not to mention elsewhere on island). One of the newer arrivals to the restaurant scene is Extra Virgin Bistro, which opened in 2015 across from the ball park in Cruz Bay. The name comes as a tie of the Virgin Islands and extra virgin olive oils; the menu features olive oils from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. General manager/owner Ryan Costanzo and head chef/owner Tommy Garfield, have joined forces to put on an incredible dining experience. The atmosphere, wine list, cocktails, food, presentation and staff are all top notch and we can’t say enough great things.  The cheeses, pastas and bread are made fresh in house every day, and the wine list and cocktails are curated by a super knowledgeable staff.  Extra Virgin also works hard to utilize local ingredients as much as possible and grows many of the herbs featured in dishes on site at the restaurant.

Some of our favorite dishes include the Local Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio, which features pickled cantaloupe, orange citronette and chives, and the Shrimp and Lump Crab Meat Pappardelle with housemade hand cut pappardelle, lemon and white wine garlic butter, spinach, roasted roma tomatoes and fresh parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino romano. 

Extra Virgin is now also open for Brunch, Saturday and Sunday from 11am-2pm. Expect to find items like French Toast with Foie Gras Butter and Blueberry Compote, Short Rib Hash and Maine Lobster Tail Eggs Benedict. The cocktails don’t disappoint, either!

Check out this fun video that recent visitors to St. John made about Extra Virgin Bistro.

Let us know if you plan on dining here during your stay, or have in the past, and be sure to tag any photos you take with #destinationstj!

A Guide to What/Where to Drink

There are so many amazing bars on St. John, and each has great cocktails and drink options. It can be hard to decide what to order with so many options, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite island concoctions at local watering holes!

The Longboard:

This little spot has some killer cocktails! We love the Passion Fruit Frosé and Frozen Painkillers, both on tap, icy cold and frozen. Other island favorites include the Planter’s Punch (Meyers dark rum, passionfruit, pineapple, lemon, house grenadine, Angostura bitters) and the Paloma (Reposado tequila, lime, house made grapefruit soda, Himalayan sea salt). Enjoy some great bar snacks and some of the freshest fish dishes on island!

The Lime Inn:

This family run restaurant has been taken over by the owner’s daughter and her husband and continues to be one of our favorite spots on St. John! We love The Danger (named after Chelsea + Richard’s son). It’s a spicy cocktail of house thai chile infused blue agave tequila, fresh watermelon juice, fresh lime juice and pineapple simple syrup! Wednesday is also shrimp night, so don’t miss it!

Morgan’s Mango:

We have already shared our love for Morgan’s Mango here. The Candela is our favorite; a frozen blend of Grey Goose Vodka, fresh passionfruit and mint! So cool and refreshing!

Woody’s Seafood Saloon:

Woody’s has become known for it’s Happy Hour, that offers $1 Coors Light, $3 well drinks, $1 for all other drinks every day from 3-6pm.  Order a frozen Lime in de Coconut or Bushwhacker and watch the world go by at this iconic Cruz Bay outpost.

Joe’s Rum Hut:

Rum Hut has quickly become the Happy Hour spot to be. With $3 you-cal-it (any drink is $3) from 4-6pm daily, you can’t go wrong. Grab a frozen BBV or a Dark & Stormy for $3 and sit in the adirondack chairs on Cruz Bay Beach and watch the sun go down!

The Tap Room:

This spot in Mongoose Junction is air-conditioned and has a slew of beers on tap, including St. John Brewer’s beers made by the owners. Enjoy a Mango Pale Ale or an Island Hoppin’ IPA, as well as other beers on tap! We also love their bar food – fish tacos are a must-try!

The Beach Bar:

The name says it all. An iconic Cruz Bay bar, right on the beach. This spot is always bumping, generally has great live music. Get a painkiller, relax and enjoy every second of vacation. 

DR!NK:

Another great waterfront spot, DR!NK has a great seating area, and has imaginative cocktails that are seasonal and always changing. Ask the bartenders, get fresh squeezed juice on the spot and enjoy every sip! You can also order appetizers from The Terrace next door, with service at DR!NK. How’s that for an island collaboration to love?

The Bowery:

This air-conditioned bar right next to The Beach Bar has a great vibe and different style than any other spots in St. John. With a full bar and experienced bartenders, you can’t go wrong. Make sure to also order The Bowery Board that includes fine meats and cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, bacon jam, local honey, crostini! 

The Terrace:

This is actually a restaurant, but they have a great Sunset Happy Hour at the bar (includes oysters!) and an extensive wine list. They also just recently launched an impressive cocktail list, including specialty drinks like The Beet Goes On, a tasty concoction of Skyy Ginger Vodka, ginger simple syrup, lemon with beet juice ice spheres!

We’ll be telling you about some other fun spots in St. John, but for now, this list should keep you busy! Have fun!

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Dining at Morgan’s Mango

Despite our tiny size of 8 miles long and 5 miles wide, there are quite a few restaurants on St. John that all offer incredible food. From local Caribbean cuisines to Italian, Spanish, coastal fusion and more, we have an array of food options.

One of our favorite spots is Morgan’s Mango. This locally-owned restaurant has been a Cruz Bay staple since 1992. Morgan’s Mango serves “neo-Caribbean cuisine” that offers a sublime tropical taste of the islands. The food includes flavors from Creole, Bahamian, Cuban, Jamaican, Haitian, Maya, Puerto Rican and native Virgin Islands foods, as well as influences from Africa.

The drinks at Morgan’s Mango are some of the most refreshing and tropical that you can find on-island. We love the Candela, a frozen concoction of Grey Goose Vodka, fresh passion fruit and mint, or the Lime & Coconut, another frozen delight featuring local dark and light Cruzan rums, fresh limes and cream of coconut.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, Morgan’s puts on a spectacular lobster night, featuring fresh locally caught Caribbean lobsters that are grilled and served with their special house butter blended with garlic and parsley, a side of sweet plantains, seasoned rice and homemade black beans. An added bonus: the lobster special comes with a complimentary glass of Chateau Lamothe Bordeaux Blanc. We also love the Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar appetizer and the fresh grilled “Voodoo Snapper” can’t be missed. But really, you can’t go wrong with this menu.

The family-run restaurant not only has great drinks and food, but the atmosphere is lively and manifests the sights, sounds and smells of the Caribbean. There is live music every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Also, if you are visiting St. John for the holidays and January 1, don’t miss Morgan’s New Year’s Eve Party, a true party in paradise!

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