Divers are notoriously early risers, but a few bars keep things hopping if not quite happening, especially on weekends, when local bands (or “imports” from Grand Cayman) often perform. Quaintly reminiscent of Footloose (without the hellfire and brimstone), watering holes are required to obtain music and dancing permits. Various community events including talent shows, recitals, concerts, and other stage presentations at the Aston Rutty Centre provide the rest of the island’s nightlife.
Barracuda’s Bar.…New Yorker Terry Chesnard built his dream bar from scratch, endowing it with an almost 1960s Rat Pack ambience. Nearly everything is handcrafted, from the elegant bar itself to the blown-glass light fixtures to the shot specials (try the Barracuda “if you dare”) and cocktails with cojones (though Terry takes greatest pride in his top-of-the-line espresso machine). The kitchen elevates pub grub to an art form, with Reubens and French melts. Local flock here for free pasta Fridays, karaoke Wednesdays, and live music on Thursdays. You might walk in on a hotly contested darts or dominos tournament, but the vibe is otherwise mellow at this charming time-warp hangout. | West End, Cayman Brac | 345/948–8511 | www.barracudas.ky.
Edd’s Place.…Edd’s Place is a sports bar, known for its riotous happy hours as well as occasional live music. The front room serves as a restaurant, the back as a sports bar/lounge, replete with three TVs, dangling pennants, football and soccer star T-shirts, pool tables, and surprisingly cushy chairs. It tends to attract a rowdier, more local crowd, and features a friendly rivalry with Bussy’s for “best” jerk on island (served from the adjacent lean-to, Barry’s). You can’t miss the colorful mural of revelers splashed across the exterior. | West End Rd. | West End, Cayman Brac | 345/926–0376.
La Esperanza.…Also known as Bussy’s, La Esperanza overflows with drinks, good cheer, and seemingly half the island on weekends, when Bussy fires up the grill and does a huge beach jerk barbecue. You can shoot pool and the breeze in the indoor lounge or head outside for the sensational sunsets (and drinks in matching colors). The music, heavy on the reggae with the occasional salsa tune thrown in, blares, encouraging everyone to sway along. | The Creek | Stake Bay, Cayman Brac | 345/948–0591 | www.laesperanza.net.
Tipsy Turtle Pub.…Tipsy Turtle Pub overflows with good cheer and strong drinks: The Mudslides are particularly potent, and there are usually some good Cubanos. The alfresco bar serves excellent pub grub (jerk chicken pizza, Caesar salad wrap, portobello-and-Swiss cheeseburger, messy marvelous spareribs, tempura shrimp) for around $10. Popcorn and Ping-Pong are free. It’s the kind of casual congenial hangout where almost everyone ends up buying a round at some point (“What are you drinking?” might elicit a response like “Oh, a little bit of everything”). Depending on your tastes, stop by for Wednesday karaoke on the outside patio, which attracts large, enthusiastic crowds. | Brac Reef Beach Resort | West End, Cayman Brac | 345/948–1323.