above: Sugar Ultra Lounge
In Barbados, the term “nightlife” can get pretty grey. After all, one of the hotbeds of nightlife can be found at in what is a local fish market by day. Be it a restaurant, a bar or rum shop – as long as good music is there, you can always find a party in BIM—but if you are looking for a true nightclub experience, two names lead the pack: Priva and Sugar.
Sugar Ultra Lounge
St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church
Tel: 1 246-420-7662
Located towards the end of the nightlife “strip” of St. Lawrence Gap, you’ll know when you’re at Sugar Ultra Lounge by the lines at the door, separated by gender. Don’t let them put you off, it’s pretty swift. Once inside, you realize that you’re more in an expansive outdoor lounge than a nightclub, with banquets for seating and bottle service on the perimeter. But unless you’re looking to have a Miami-type bottle service night, which is available, just head to the bar and they will set you up with a bottle of club favorites such as Hennessy, Moet, Johnnie Walker Black or Ciroc right there—a practice that is pretty normal on the island and much cheaper for a group of friends than in the ‘States or the UK.
Expect to hear a combination of current hip-hop club bangers, mixed in with Caribbean and local Bajan favorites. Because the crowd is eighteen years and older, you may see more young faces—but it adds to the atmosphere as everyone we saw seemed to have the same goal in mind—partying. Overall, Sugar does a pretty good job and blending nightlife luxe with an island casualness that can be quite refreshing for us Marquee, M2, SoHo House and LIV vets from abroad. The staff is pretty friendly and helpful, and cover charges can range from free to $20 Bajan depending on the night.
Holetown, St. James
Tel: 1 246-827-4683
A few miles north and west in Holetown, you will find Priva. Known as one of the more luxury nightlife outposts on the island, it’s West Coast location makes it more popular with stylish locals, and tourists seeking a more international flavor. Additionally, it’s proximity to the fine dining restaurants on First and Second streets makes for the perfect “after dinner” spot to dance off everything.
Inside, prepare to get close to your fellow club-goer as the not-quite-mega-club-big space tends to pack up on popular Thursday to Saturday nights. While billed as a nightclub, Priva is a true lounge concerning space, but with both upstairs and outside locations to choose from, grab your table (better, reserve one) and one of their lovely hostesses will do the rest. Or grab drinks from the bar and then post-up and people watch as everyone tends to come to Priva in their finest. Again, the music will be a mix of everything and depending on the night, you may think you are in a busy lounge in South Beach, but who said that was a bad thing?
While island locals may have their favorites between Priva and Sugar, who said you can’t remix a weekend to include both into your nightlife plans? Catch me on the balcony at Priva on Friday, and I’ll see you by the bar at Sugar late Saturday night. Enjoy!