The Best Bars in Oranjestad, Aruba

Youre never short of options when it comes to waterfront bars in Oranjestad
You're never short of options when it comes to waterfront bars in Oranjestad | © Darryl Brooks / Alamy Stock Photo
Siobhan Grogan

Couples, cruise ship passengers and sunseekers love Aruba for its tropical beaches, sun-speckled Caribbean Sea and the pasted-coloured colonial buildings of its capital Oranjestad. Compact and walkable, the city is also ideal for a night out, with waterfront bars, sophisticated clubs and alfresco cocktail lounges to retreat to as the sun goes down. Whether you’re keen to sample the local rum or just fancy live music and a cold beer, these are the places to go.

U-Wanna-Beer

We would visit this local bar just for the name, but it’s also one of the best places to grab Aruba’s only locally made beer, Balashi. The beer is brewed on the island from imported Scottish malt and hops from Germany, and you won’t need to blow the budget to spend an evening supping it here. Expect live music, friendly staff and a tasty menu of Portuguese nibbles to go alongside.

CILO City Lounge

No need to worry if your long lunch turns into dinner at this swish lounge above the city’s marina in the Renaissance Marketplace. It’s open from breakfast until late and even has live music and DJs most nights, so it’s easy to let the hours pass by. The extensive and excellent cocktail menu means you’ll barely even notice, especially if you stay for the daily two-hour happy “hour”.

Eetcafe The Paddock

The weather proves you’re in the Caribbean, but if you head down to this popular spot in the Wharfside Market, you’ll swear you’ve headed straight to the Netherlands. This authentic Dutch pub is a great choice for a lively night, with imported European beer and some of the best frozen cocktails in town. There are great happy hours, live music and excellent Dutch-style platters for grazing on, though avoid when cruise ships are in port as it gets very busy.

Iguana Joe’s Caribbean Bar & Grill

Don’t plan an early start the morning after a night in Iguana Joe’s. This lively location in Palm Beach Plaza is open every evening until 10pm and is legendary for its heady cocktails, including a sizzling mango jalapeno mojito and the Pink Iguana, which includes light rum, crushed strawberries, pineapple juice and coconut cream. Be warned, though, they’re served in 500ml (16fl oz) carafes and taste like fruit juice so go easy.

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant

What’s better than a happy hour? How about one that lasts for three hours, every day? This bustling, fun bar close to the Renaissance Marina pier is a great place to grab a bargain and eat without breaking the bank, while watching cruise ships come and go. Speciality drinks include flavoured frozen margaritas and craft beer, but if you’re really brave you can attempt a Scorpion Shot including a real scorpion. We’re not sure the free T-shirt is quite enough to convince us to try one.

Café Chaos

Another top Dutch pub, this small, popular drinking den is all about the music. It’s off the tourist trail so popular with locals who want to see the best local bands over an imported beer. Saturday nights are the most popular with bands playing everything from funk to reggae, pop or blues – but be aware, the action doesn’t start until after 11pm so you won’t be getting an early night.

The Wine Room

If you’d rather a fine Bordeaux than a fruity cocktail, this chic wine bar is a must-visit. Opened in June 2012, this intimate lounge is the perfect place for a good glass by candlelight. The wine menu includes bottles from France, Italy, Chile and California. But to really spoil yourself, book the Journey into The World of Wines package, where five lavish courses are paired with matching wines.

Local Store

You can’t pick up your groceries here but this open-air bar is still a local favourite on Palm Beach. A no-fuss dive joint among the upscale hotels, it’s best for anyone who loves new IPAs and craft beers, with more than 40 different ones in stock and a new selection every Friday. Go in the evening for a party atmosphere and cheap drinks, but call by any time for a beer or to order from the extensive menu of spicy chicken wings.

Saloon Bar Aruba

Theme bars might leave you cold but this Wild West-style saloon near the hotels of Palm Beach, a few miles outside Oranjestad, is the best place to party on the nightlife strip. Drinks are reasonably priced, staff are always welcoming and there’s often karaoke for those who dare to take the stage. By the end of the night, everyone will be on the dance floor anyway.

The West Deck Island Grill & Beach Bar

Every table in this casual bar, set on a large deck over a whitesand beach, has a sweeping ocean view, and it’s a great place to watch both planes landing and giant cruise ships gliding into port. Just past the Renaissance Marketplace, it has a huge menu of martinis and cocktails, but the bar’s signature drink is the Beer-Rita, an icy bottle of local Balashi beer served with a margarita cocktail for the best of both worlds.

That’s the nightlife sorted, but you still need to fill up your daytime in Aruba. These reasons why you should visit Aruba will surely help. Make sure you book your stay through Culture Trip; we have the best resorts and best boutique hotels in Aruba available for you now.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Nicole Anderson.

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