The button on the wall at Bliss, a new cafe in Barbados, surrounded by green plants and a butterfly, says “press for Prosecco.”
The moment you walk through the door, past the floral trellis and the seafoam chairs, when you see the Rancilio espresso machine and the artisanal frosted cookies, you know you’re in a different corner of Barbados.
Bliss, directly adjacent to and owned by the Sugar Bay resort, is part of a dynamic movement that is helping to reshape the island’s South Coast, repositioning it as a new, invigorated travel destination.
The South Coast, long in the shadow of the tony Platinum Coast to the west, is having its moment.
Everywhere you look on the South Coast, from the edge of Bridgetown to Oistins, there is, well, something new: an art-filled coffee shop, a Thai food truck; a private home-turned-live-music venue.
Drive along the Worthing coastal road and you’ll immediately get a sense: there’s the gourmet Clifton Market, the colorful Artsplash Cafe; the 6Mix lounge, or, deeper into Bridgetown, a new speakeasy called The Sipping Room.
“A lot is going on in the South Coast,” says Kerwin, the bartender at the outstanding new beach club called Deia Beach, as he mixes up a Bajan rum punch.
Deia is an upscale new beach club next to the Bougainvillea resort on Maxwell Beach, another injection of energy to the south, where the cocktails flow (make sure you go for the Solstice Punch) the conversations last all afternoon and there’s a lovely pool to cool off.
It’s also drawing new attention to what was already a fantastic section of the island, from the always-bustling St Lawrence Gap to the blinding-white sands and beach bars of Dover Beach to one of the Caribbean’s true seafood Meccas, Oistins.
The epicenter of the moment just might be the new O2 Beach Club, the stunning development by Barbados’ Ocean Hotels, a boutique style all-inclusive that’s redefining the island’s all-inclusive concept: think a sleek, chilled-out, luxury resort that just so happens to be all-inclusive.
Jacqui McDermott, the hotel’s sales and marketing director, tells Caribbean Journal the South Coast is in the mist of a renaissance.
Travelers are starting to see that there’s more to the island than just the West Coast, she says.
Of course, it’s not just the luxury resorts and cafes.
Head toward Bridgetown and you’ll stumble upon the Worthing Square Food Court, perhaps the most exciting new development in the south.
It’s a collection of nearly 20 different food trucks focused on cuisines from around the world: bento boxes and jerk fish, fajitas and bake-and-shark, pasta and bubble tea.
It’s a colorful, all-day experience that has instantly become one of the island’s must-visit destinations, the perfect place to enjoy the new energy of the South Coast, where you can munch on tacos on the roof of a container or taste some of Barbados’ finest rum expressions.
This is Barbados’ new capital of cool, an area that just seems to be pushing all the right buttons lately.
For more, visit Barbados.