Four years ago, Gwen Webster took a risk. She quit her job at Anguilla's best-known beach bar (Uncle Ernie's) on its most popular beach (Shoal Bay East) to go around the sandy corner and open her own bar and grill on Upper Shoal Bay. The friendly place named after her favorite music quickly became an island institution, and the big gal with the bigger smile has no regrets.
TRY THIS AT
Gwen's Reggae Colada
1 oz. rum
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. pineapple juice
Pinch of nutmeg
Serve on the rocks or blend with ice.
Cast of Characters: Following Gwen's lead, the more adventurous folks who start on Shoal Bay wander down the beach and wind up at the Reggae Grill. Those who drive find her sandy parking lot filled with cars of dedicated beach-hoppers and, on several days a week, the van that brings St. Martin day-trippers. On Sundays, a good number of locals and live-music fans enliven the mix.
Diversions: Dig your toes into the island's whitest sand, snorkel the patch reef a few feet offshore, paddle a kayak along the beach and then grab a cold drink and settle in for some serious swinging in one of the hammocks strung amid Gwen's shady palm grove hands down and feet up the best place on Anguilla for an afternoon nap.
Sustenance: You can't go wrong with the fish sandwich ($9) when the catch is mahi or snapper. Shrimp salad ($15) is another favorite. Sandwiches, seafood, burgers, and barbecue are served with fries or a much better bet Gwen's excellent curry pasta salad and special home slaw.
Local Knowledge: Gwen's Reggae Grill (264-497-2120) is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, when there's live reggae. November is the height of the sea-turtle nesting season, and gigantic leatherbacks often lay their eggs on the long, thin beach near the bar. You can see the nests protected with fencing until the long-flippered babies are ready to flap out to sea in January.
Posted online 07/15/05.