A great way to get some local knowledge or a feel for a place – head to a local bar or pub, and if you nail the right one, you may get more than just cold beer!
Here’s cheers to the little bars that make our travels memorable, if not a little more interesting!
On Vieques, we have a few favourite little bars and restaurants, but there is one bar in particular that is entirely unremarkable to look at, but has so much going for it. Sometimes it surprises, but more than that, it gives you a feel for the place like no other bar on the island.
This is why this little watering hole has become our favourite spot to stop in for the coldest beer you will find on the island and you never know, you might find your self amongst a Carnival!
On the southern side of the island is the tourist town of Esperanza. Along The Malecón (the waterfront promenade) you will find a strip of restaurants and bars overlooking the water.
What you will notice though is that only one of these bars is truly on the water, and it may just be the one you walk by!
While the rest of these establishments mostly cater to the tourist trade, the one across the road, on the water front, is one of the most friendly, lively and beautiful spots to stop for a drink. It is La Nasa Bar. This is where the locals go.
A very simple, but brightly painted building with an assortment of undercover areas tacked onto the side, with decking (or dance floor) out over the beach. A basic plywood and pine construction that serves one main purpose, it’s a meeting place.
When the afternoon rolls around and the window of the bar opens, more often than not you will hear salsa music blaring from a huge set of speakers on the beachside deck, while locals gather and drop by, to sit on the street front to catch up and chat. People constantly pop in and out as if they are completely at home.
Some afternoons you will find a game of dominoes happening in one of the adjacent sheds or you can pop in for a flutter on some wind up gee gee’s.
And on other days when you pop in for a drink and the girl behind the bar asks if you are staying for the festivities, we suggest you do. Viequense know how to celebrate!
When La Nasa has a birthday, we were told it was its 40th birthday by the policeman closing off the street, the whole town gathers to throw a celebration. Well, actually it was more like a Carnival! 40 years is a long time for a bar that looks like it would not withstand a big night of salsa, let alone a hurricane, but obviously it has and we imagine it has seen both!
So this basic little timber structure that sits over the beach is more than just a bar, don’t expect fancy drinks or even food, what you will find is a bar that has been around on the island for so long, it is obviously an important part of the Viequense community.
You can meet there for a cold drink, a chat and watch the world go by or salsa until the wee small hours.
La Nasa is one of those little bars that you find every so often that gives you a feel for the community.
Puerto Ricans have a saying; “Vestida de Novia” It refers to a beer so cold that the bottle is frosted, like a white wedding dress. La Nasa always serves their beer like this and with a smile.
So if you’re ever down the Malecón, pop in and raise your icy cold drink to the little bars around the world that make us remember places fondly.
Vieques, is an island municipality of Puerto Rico in the northeastern Caribbean. Vieques is approx. 1 hr by ferry from Fajardo in Puerto Rico or flights are available from both San Juan and Fajardo.