On-Site Anguilla: The St. Croix Secret That Makes Elvis’ Bar So Special to Me
There exists in Anguilla a bubblin’ beach bar culture nearly unparalleled throughout the region, at least as far as I’ve seen on my travels. Each bar carries its own legends, signature drinks and characters, both behind and in front of the bar. One of my favorites is a guy and place named Elvis.
Anguilla’s Elvis won’t soon remind you of The King, though he is a pretty good showman with a strong following of fans who, like me, enjoy a particularly special brand of drink one can enjoy here.
Before we share the secret, let’s set the scene…
Elvis’ is located in an area known most popularly on Anguilla as Sandy Ground, though the bay along which this nice stretch of pristine white sand sits is actually called Road Bay. Such legendary Anguillan watering holes as Johnno’s and The Pump House are also found here, with the latter actually sitting across the street at the edge of a vast salt pond.
The setting is night and day different to the ultra-posh sprawling resorts for which Anguilla is most famously known. Sandy Ground is gritty. Sometimes it smells, due to the Salt Pond. It’s working-class, with colorful fishing boats and hulking container ships dotting the calm and picturesque bay.
Essentially, it’s an authentic West Indian fishing community where, it just so happens, some of the coolest beach bars in the region just happened to spring up. They’re all great, of course, but when it comes to late-night fun, Elvis’ stands above the rest to me.
A big part of the reason for this is Elvis himself. Slight of build, but big of service and smiles, he has an infectious aura about him. Instantly upon meeting him you can tell he’s one of the coolest guys on the island. Warm and welcoming, he makes you want to hang out at his bar, even if your body says you should’ve gone home long ago.
The bar, itself, is another big draw. It’s actually a 16-foot boat, as colorful and distinctive as the ones floating just offshore.
While the other beach bars on Anguilla tend to alternate their big theme nights in a sort of communal sharing of the party crowd, Elvis’ tends to stay open the latest. It’s the after-party headquarters for those who want to keep the party going. Maybe you want one last Carib. Maybe a nice nightcap of rum. If it’s late-night in Anguilla, Elvis’ is the place to go.
There’s one other unique drink that you can get here, though, that makes Elvis’ extra special to me: Norma’s homemade MamaWanna bush rum from my home island of St. Croix!
If you know the Jungle Bar (real name: Mt. Pellier Domino Club and home to the famous beer-drinking pigs) located in the heart of the rainforest on St. Croix’s west end, then you know this MamaWanna is some strong stuff! Norma’s been pouring it at the Jungle Bar ever since I can remember. When Elvis got set to open his bar in Sandy Ground, his business partner remembered Norma’s potent concoction too.
Elvis told me his partner, who once lived in St. Croix, initially brought bottles of MamaWanna to Anguilla for the bar. It’s been such a hit, though, that they’ve had problems keeping up with demand. The partners have been experimenting in an attempt to develop their own home-grown version, which I hope to try on my next visit to Anguilla. ‘Til then, you can enjoy a truly special taste of St. Croix at one of the coolest bars on any beach.
Drinks, of course, are generally poured much later than that…