Bring a good book or two. When it comes to nightlife, St. John is no St. Thomas, and everybody here seems to want to keep it that way. Although you can hear live music most any night of the week at venues around the island, many people are content to have a leisurely dinner and call it a day. But check out the “Live Music Scene” section on the See St. John website (www.seestjohn.com) for an updated schedule of live music offerings around the island.
The newest hot spot in town is the Taproom, the sunny brewpub of new microbrewery St. John Brewers (tel 340/715-7775; www.stjohnbrewers.com), the brainchild of a couple of University of Vermont grads. Located in Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay, the Taproom already feels rooted, and when you visit you’ll sit elbow to elbow with locals and visitors sampling from the Caribbean-pub menu and swigging the brewpub’s craft beers and homemade sodas. We very much like their Virgin Islands Summer Ale. It’s open Monday to Saturday 11am to midnight and Sunday noon to midnight.
The Motu Bar (tel 407/758-6924; www.motubar.com) is an upscale departure from the corrugated beach shack bar model. It’s still pretty casual—St. John is no Miami—but with dark wicker loungers plumped with blue cushions and a roster of designer cocktails, it’s definitely got an uptown vibe. It’s on the deck of the Low Key Watersports building across from Cruz Bay beach.
Just 150 from the ferry dock in Cruz Bay, Woody’s Seafood Saloon (tel 340/779-4625) has a happening happy hour scene from 3pm to 6pm when drinks are dirt-cheap ($1 beers) and the crowd spills out onto the street.
St. John’s one and only Irish pub, the Quiet Mon, is adjacent to Woody’s and located in a West Indian cottage with walls crammed with photos, memorabilia, and shamrock-themed tchotchkes. Four large-screen TVs are on hand for your sporting-event viewing pleasure.
Skinny Legs, Emmaus, Coral Bay, beyond the fire station (tel 340/779-4982; http://skinnylegs.com) is little more than a laidback island shack made of tin and wood. It’s also the place to bring the kids for the island’s best burgers. Skinny Legs has live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during high season when it stays open until 10pm or later.
Another laidback spot in Coral Bay, Shipwreck Landing (tel 340/693-5640; www.shipwrecklandingstjohn.com, which has live music on Wednesday evenings and weekend nights, with no cover.