We’ve had a chance to frequent a seaside bar or two during our brief visit to Grand Bahama Island, and we’ve enjoyed each visit. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed every visit I’ve ever made to a seaside bar, regardless of whether the particular hole-in-the-wall is in Key West, Cozumel, or a remote Caribbean island.
There are several reasons for this. First, a cold beer never tastes so good as when it is quaffed in the warm sunshine, while you are wearing a bathing suit, sitting barefoot, and watching through the darkened lens of your shades as anchored boats bob in the sun-dappled water nearby. The warmth of the sun and the beer-infused warmth spreading through your system seem to combine in a magical elixir of relaxation.
Second, seaside bars tend to serve mostly fried foods — that is, salty, heavy, crunchy foods that are guilty pleasures for almost everyone. I’m talking about foods like conch fritters and chicken wings, grouper fingers and fried lobster. These are dishes that you eat with your fingers and dip into a sauce and that taste especially good with a cold beer.
Consider this plate of cracked conch and french fries that I got yesterday when we visited Doris’ place outside High Rock on Grand Bahama Island. The plate is a study in shades of tan — the color that most of us secretly associate with tastiness. There’s no effort to make it “healthy” by adding a few unwanted sprigs of green or the latest cutting edge vegetable combination. In truth, no one wants to eat vegetables in a seaside place.
And finally, seaside bars are unpretentious. They’re not decorated with fancy stuff. They feature battered picnic tables and plastic utensils rather than fine cutlery. There are cracks in the wood flooring. They’re not the kind of place where people feel they need to whisper. No, they’re places where everyone tracks sand in the door, and their idea of decorations doesn’t go much farther than a funny sign or two. In short, they’re the kind of place where you can heave a sigh of relief, lean back with your frothy adult beverage, and enjoy a hearty laugh with your friends.
And that is the beauty of a seaside bar.