Good Morning! I hope everyone out there is wrapping up a productive work week and gearing up for a great weekend. I have a few island updates from St. John to share with you today…
First things first, it remains INCREDIBLY busy here! I went to meet Teddy for happy hour at The Beach Bar yesterday and, as I was walking from my car, this is what the ferry dock looked like at 4:45 PM:
WOW, right? The ferry literally looked like it was going to sink as it was pulling away it was SO full of people!
I have spoken to A LOT of folks with villas over the past few weeks and they are booked solid through the summer – which is great! However, it doesn’t look like this busy-ness is going to die down any time soon. So here are a few quick pointers to avoid headaches similar to this one!
Buy your ferry tickets in advance!
Most of this line was comprised of people waiting to purchase tickets. The ticket booth is only open for about 20 minutes before each departure, which leads to a back up like this. When you arrive on island, or while you are enjoying some happy hour drinks or breakfast nearby, go buy your departure tickets in advance when the line doesn’t look like this. The tickets are good for at least a week and don’t have a specific time and day they need to be used for. Or, buy your tickets online. It is super easy to do and will save you at least half of this hassle. Either way, don’t forget to also purchase tickets for your luggage!
Take the Crown Bay Ferry
Interisland Boat Services has two departure times daily from Cruz Bay and three on Saturdays and Sundays. Not only will it save you from the generally more crowded Cruz Bay to Red Hook ferry. But, it also gives you a leisurely 40 minute boat ride with a quick taxi ride to the airport on the other side. You can view their up to date schedule and purchase tickets in advance here.
As I said, business doesn’t seem to be dying down much and things are booked through our typical “off season” months. My prediction is that we will be bustling with traffic through the summer and into the fall. So, if you’re visiting, get your rental cars, dining reservations, boat trips and lodging all booked in advance!
While we are near Wharfside, let me catch you up on a few things….
I’m going to slowly begin the process (based on your requests!) of updating you on reservation and wait list info on the restaurants of St. John. The bars and restaurants on island have been bustling with happy visitors and residents alike, but its a bit difficult to get a seat sometimes. Here’s a few tips about seating, hours and take out drinks for the beachfront establishments:
High Tide is currently open 7 days a week starting at 8AM for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. My recommendation for getting a seat for some grub is to head over to the take out window on the beach side of the restaurant, put your name on the wait list (unless you luck out and there’s a table ready!), grab yourself a cocktail and hit the beach. They will text you when your table is ready and let you relax in the sand in the meantime.
Kati Lago- Island Cork
If you need a little reprieve from the sun, salt and sand, head over to Kati Lago, known by residents lovingly and simply as “The Wine Shop.” Located on the street side of the Wharfside complex, this spot has the best wine selection on island with amazing charcuterie snacks. Greek owner, Paul Tskares will greet you at the door, likely with charming antics, and let you know when and where you can grab a seat in the air conditioning inside or on the patio which is great for people watching! Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9AM-9PM.
Joe’s Rum Hut
Joe’s Rum Hut posts that they are open seven days a week, but we have definitely happened upon them being randomly closed on, say a Monday. Always check the social media page for your establishment of choice to see if they are calling what we refer to as a “Snow Day.” The island’s service staff are super overworked right now and many places have been sporadically calling a day of rest. If you want to grab a table “inside” at Rum Hut, head to the host stand inside and put your name in. The seating on the beach is first come, first serve.
The Beach Bar is open 7 days a week at 11am with happy hour daily and a rotating selection of live music. There are three ways to enter: The walkway between Rum Hut and Beach Bar, the stairs from the beach and the street side entrance. The stairs from the beach won’t get you anywhere but filtered into a different line. From either of the other entrances, you can put your name in for a table within the bar area ,or be seated immediately based upon availability. From the street side entrance near the Terrace, you can also grab a take out drink and/or food. The tables on the beach are not serviced by the staff and are first come, first serve. So, if you can find a spot down there, grab some take out and some drinks and enjoy them on the beach. If you are waiting for a table, grab a drink and hit the beach..But stay close by. They will announce your name via megaphone when your table is ready!
Bdeck is open six days a week from 11-9 and closed on Wednesdays. Absolutely, no matter your party size, make a reservation for dinner in advance. They also serve lunch daily and Sunday brunch from 11am-2pm.
The Terrace is open Monday-Saturday from 3PM-9PM. Advance eservations are STRONGLY recommended if not required.
Drink St. John
Open seven days a week from 4-11 for cocktails, beer, wine and seltzers, Drink is a great place to perch during happy hour or while killing some time before or after dinner. They have plenty of outdoor seating at tables and the patio railing and all of the seats are first come first serve.
Lovango Rum Bar
Located above drink St. John, Lovango Rum Bar is open Monday-Saturday from 4-11 with happy hour and live music daily. They do not take reservations but we have found if you get there early for happy hour at 4, you can easily grab a table to enjoy live music on the patio that starts at 4:30 and discounted drinks and food until 6PM! Lovango Rum Bar also has a two hour table time limit so that they can turn tables to accommodate as many hungry folks as possible each night.
All of the restaurants on island are still operating at 75% capacity. They are all table service or take out window only and bar service is still unavailable. And, you need to have a mask on unless you are seated at a table. That includes walking through Beach Bar or Rum Hut on a stroll through the Wharfside plaza.
I have one more little update for you today that has me super excited! This week, a picture of a nearly renovated Parrot Club went up on the establishment’s Facebook page.
The Parrot Club was an icy cold air conditioned video gaming spot tucked into the Wharfside Plaza that closed immediately after Irma. As Wharfside slowly re-opened popular businesses over the years, many of us still wondered what the future of the popular bar and gaming establishment would be.
In January 2020, they posted “This is our come back year!” on their social media with pictures of renovations to follow later in the summer.
I can only assume that COVID held up that plan, but this week a photo was shared of some real forward progress on the space! I’m waiting to hear back on potential opening date for this beloved local establishment but as soon as I know, you will too!
I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of you for all of your positive feedback (And to those of you who catch me hiccups!). We have had a lot of readers join us on the boat over the past few weeks and it has been lovely to hear their feedback and chat about this lovely little island that we all love! I love the feedback and content suggestions are always super helpful so, shoot me a message if you have something to share.
Thank you to all of you for following along. Have a beautiful weekend!
17 thoughts on “Island Update- From the Cruz Bay Waterfront”
Wow!! I have been to St John three times , last time in Dec. I have never seen the ferry line that long. This is great news for the businesses in Cruz Bay and everywhere across the island.
I hope the tourists visiting are being safe and don’t cause another shut down. Wear your mask, use your manners and tip your servers. Hoping to make it back later this year. Stay safe Love City friends.
This is a great update. Thanks you!
I will be arriving in STT airport on May 2nd. Is there any extra process due to COVID to go through once we arrive at the Airport, or is it business as usual. I am aware of the COVID test 5 days before and the travel portal. Hoping to get luggage and get out of airport quickly.
They’re going to check your portal QR code, your ID, and shoot your forehead temp. Lots of people processing, so it was hardly any delay
This is super-useful information. Thanks!
Don’t forget the rum bar at Baja El Sol Gallery in Mongoose Junction!
Very informative information. We hired a private boat service for our party of 6 to go back n forth instead of the ferry. But we usually take the ferry and happy with it.
We have a Villa and 2 Jeep’s and are looking forward bringing our family in late June! It will be our 20th visit, but our grandson’s first!
Just a friendly reminder, STJ is an island and people who live here live on “island time”. You are on vacation, slow down a bit and relax! As always, be sure to greet residents with a “good morning “ , “good evening “ , or a “how are you today?” I found years ago that by using a few simple phrases, you will most likely be waited on much faster.
Very useful update. Thanks for that. Would leave to see something similar for the Coral Bay side of things.
Great for business, but, at what cost otherwise? The sleepy St. John I came upon 40 years ago was akin to discovering a treasure chest. That long line of people at the ferry, unless I’m missing something, points to a very different experience on the island.
Buying in advance does not allow you to enter the waiting area! You must still stand in line – sorry buts that’s inefficient. And the staff could not be more rude letting you know this tidbit!
On a more typical year is it usually this crowded on Saint John this time of year? We have been to the island about ten times, always in the summer, and never crowded.
Love News of St John. Where would I find long term rentals ie: 1 year leases on St John?
As a frequent visitor I am glad to see the island businesses doing well
However visitors please respect the environment and keep your boom boxes down on the beach
It’s sad what’s happening to STJ. I’m happy that the local businesses are doing better but the island has lost its laid back, off-the-beaten-path charm. I’ve been traveling to STJ since 1992, with annual trips from 2001-2019. My daughter was married at Caneel in 2007. (My last 2 trips have been canceled due to COVID-19.) Seeing these ferry lines, reading about the airport hassles, hearing about crowded restaurants and beaches with large groups is disappointing. When I first traveled to Coral Bay in 1992, I felt like I found the most amazing, unspoiled paradise. STJ has a special place in my heart but if the current situation reflects the future, I’ll be heartbroken that paradise has been lost.
Great update, thank you!