Moe Chabuz and partner Doug Sica were a couple of refugees from the northeast United States who spent the 1980s tending bar in Cruz Bay, on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But the town was getting a bit crowded for their taste, so when a ramshackle joint formerly known as Redbeard’s Saloon became available in sleepier Coral Bay, they took it. And while trying to think of a name for their bar, the two became targets of this choice observation from a passerby: “Man, you guys got skinny butts and skinny legs!” Eureka.
“We figured it’s dumb enough that people will come at least once, and if they like it they’ll come back,” says Moe.
While Skinny Legs may look like a beach bum’s version of a sports bar, its magic lies in its playful, generous personality. The rustic bayfront joint has been called a community center, a town hall and, perhaps most aptly, the soul of Coral Bay. It’s where the town’s family of self-styled misfits and dropouts comes to hang out, celebrate or raise money for worthy causes. “It changes character all the time,” says one longtime habitué. “Sometimes we even do funerals here.”
Live music three nights a week, costume parties, darts, volleyball — there’s always plenty of entertainment. And as often as not, there’s an ulterior motive at play. Moe is known as a mensch who does well by doing good — his pet causes include the Kids and the Sea program, which teaches local youngsters to sail, and fundraising for wounded servicemen.
“All we ever wanted was to open a friendly bar where we would like to hang out and where people could bring their parents or kids,” says Moe. “Our only rules are no violence, no drugs, don’t annoy people, and leave well-known people alone.”