The Latest on Wharfside Village

Cruz Bay

Hello everyone and happy Monday! We get a TON of questions here regarding Wharfside Village, The Beach Bar, Joe’s Rum Hut, etc. So here is everything we currently know…

Back in November, we told you that Wharfside Village – the parcel that stretches from Waterfront Bistro down to The Beach Bar – was planning to reopen completely by March 1st. That hasn’t happened, and you’re probably wondering why. Unfortunately various behind the scenes, red tape-type issues have set back rebuilding efforts considerably. The good news is that work is now happening six days a week. You may not see it from the street or when you walk along the beach (I have read that many times on Facebook and various message boards that no work is happening), but I assure you it is happening. I can also tell you that Joe DeCourcy, Wharfside’s owner, along with the complex’s tenants are working hard at planning for and rebuilding a stronger Wharfside Village.

(Side note: The waterfront complex in Cruz Bay is comprised of three separate parcels – 4A, 4B and 4C. The building that houses St. John Spice, Beach Bum, Freebird and Pig & Rooster is parcel 4C. The area where High Tide, The Dock, Verace, Vibe, Turquoise Turtle and Sotheby’s are is parcel 4B. And the area where Waterfront Bistro, Joe’s Rum Hut, The Beach Bar, The Parrot Club, The Bowery, Into the Blue, Now and Zen, Bamboo, Island Cork and Cruz Bay Clothing Company are is parcel 4A.)

So let’s start with everyone’s favorites: The Beach Bar and Joe’s Rum Hut. As we told you back in November, both sustained a considerable amount of damage. The Beach Bar was essentially “pressure washed” by the storms, according to its owners, causing both physical and electrical damage. Joe’s Rum Hut sustained a ton of water damage due to the storm itself and because the mast of Dreamweaver – the sailboat that slammed up against the bar – damaged the roof at Vista Mare above which subsequently caused a considerable amount of damage to the bar below. In a nutshell, these areas were a mess.

So let’s start with Joe’s Rum Hut. As you probably know by now, most of the area has been completely gutted. Plans call to reconfigure the current bar space to create a better flow. We’ve also heard that there will be an additional bar area added once the renovations are completed … how exciting is that! The kitchen area will be completely upgraded, and they hope to add additional bathrooms in the space as well. And lastly, because Dreamweaver took out a few trees in front of the bar, there is now room to expand seating on the beach. Sounds great, right? Now on to the bad news… All of this will take time, so Rum Hut does not expect to reopen until late fall if all goes well.

As we mentioned above, The Beach Bar was essentially pressure washed by the storms. Because of this, they sustained a fair amount of structural damage. Plans over there call for a new bar and decking, both of which were compromised during the storms, and a brand new, permanent roof. The roof itself will be expanded to cover the high top seating area in front of The Bowery, and it will likely also extend about five to 10 feet over the beach. This is great news as you will now have more shade while sitting on the beach. The entrance area, across from The Terrace, will also receive a makeover and the stage area will be relocated a bit. And just like at The Rum Hut, The Beach Bar’s kitchen will also be improved. All in all, it sounds like great things are happening over at The Beach Bar. And even better is the anticipated reopening date. Work is expected to begin here soon, and the owners are hoping to reopen sometime this summer.

Lots of work is currently happening down the hall at the former Waterfront Bistro location. For those of you who’ve read News of St. John for quite some time (and a big thank you to those of you who have!), you may recall that the Bistro was up for sale prior to the storms. Well the Bistro also received serious roof and water damage. As a result, its owner has decided to renovate the space and offer it up for lease in the near future. Work is happening there everyday. The wall to the left of the entrance has already been removed, opening up the space quite a bit. It honestly looks great. We’re not sure what the future of this restaurant holds at this time, but we will let you all know as soon as we do.

Now on to the other businesses…

Island Cork, the wine shop and bar on the street side, did not receive any damage and has been open for the past several months.

Bamboo’s studio has been open for awhile now where they’ve been diligently making new jewelry. Their retail space sustained water damage and has been since been repaired. They are expecting to reopen it any day now.

Vibe’s Into the Blue and Now and Zen have both been working to reopen their spaces over the past couple of weeks. Both are expected to open their doors to customers very soon.

The Parrot Club also received serious water damage, as the roof above was compromised. The owners plan to reopen, but that will take some time as the space needs to be rebuilt.

The Beauty Lounge decided to vacate its space following the storms.

We do not have an update on The Bowery or Cruz Bay Clothing at this time.

Now on to some other details…

The sidewalk on the street side is open once again, so no more dodging traffic along the roadway. Yahoo!

The parking garage is currently closed to the public other than a few spaces out front which are reserved for Island Cork. The remaining parking spaces are reserved for tenants only.

And now the drum roll please… Wharfside is getting more bathrooms! Thank goodness! So no more waiting in super long lines while enjoying happy hour or visiting one of the complex’s businesses. Plans call to add additional bathrooms, which is always great news.

Lots of work is currently happening on the second floor, but we haven’t been given the green light to share those plans just yet. But there is some exciting stuff in the works up there. 🙂

So all in all, there is lots of stuff happening at Wharfside. And before we finish today, Joe DeCourcy asked me to stress to you all that the rebuild has the residents, tourists, tenants and the island as a whole at the top of his priority list. He is working hard to rebuild a better and stronger building that we can all enjoy for years to come.

Phew! That was a long one today, folks! Enjoy your Monday!

24 thoughts on “The Latest on Wharfside Village”

  1. Jenn,
    Thanks for the update. Proper rebuilding takes time, especially on a small island in the middle of the ocean. What’s the chance of St. John getting slammed again in the near future? Probably pretty low.

  2. Jenn,
    We are all excited about the businesses reopening for our trip there next winter but I am curious about something. I haven’t heard if there were any deaths during the storm and how the people are doing there now? Are the schools back open and are you seeing tourists back on the island? We loved the vendors that sold their wares on the square but also those fabulous shops there, any damage or word on those?

    • We only had one death during Irma. Captain Richard Benson passed away on his beloved Goddess Athena.

      The people of St. John are resilient and are doing well.

      The schools have been back open since October.

      We have lots of tourists on island. The first ones returned in late November.

      The vendors are only permitted to sell in the square at certain times, but they have been back selling since the storms.

      • Hi Jenn, thanks for the update on Wharfside. I don’t know whether the Beach Bar will be open yet for our visit but glad to hear there is momentum.

        Wasn’t the captain of the Athena’s name George Benson. I think Richard Branson fared ok even if his house did not.

        • Oops- correcting myself. My tired eyes read Branson. I could have sworn I’d read somewhere his name was George. What a sad thing. Such a beautiful boat and from everything I have heard a beautiful person as well.

  3. My favorite part of this shouldn’t be, but is the new restroom updates! Craig and I joked in June that we traveled to the most beautiful place on earth to find the worst restrooms on earth. A sweltering rancid room with zero ventilation… not an easy thing to forget. haha!
    Thanks for the update Jenn! Hopefully Warfside and Kekoa are both back in action when we are ready to return!

  4. So very pleased that the sidewalk is open again. It was a travesty that folks were forced to walk in the street on a very narrow road. I support all efforts to make Cruz Bay “walk-able”. More progress.

  5. Just a touch sad that neither Joe’s or the Bistro will be open when we return for 2 weeks on 4/7. Two of our favorite places!! STJ is so very special for us. But we will survive. Banana Deck is great too. And I am sure we will have a great time again!! The people on STJ are the very best in the world!!

  6. Jenn, when able can you continue your outstanding reporting by advising us on the status of the bus service to salt pond? many times we would hike across the island to salt pond or skinny’s and catch that bus back to cruz bay. or use it to get into the park and then hike over to the north shore. we found it easy to visit st john without renting a car using that bus strategically. so any information would be helpful as we plan our next visit memorial day week. thanks and keep up the great work.

  7. Thanks for all the updates. What’s happening with Cinnamon Bay? I came down there for 16 yrs. and St. John was like a second home. Hope all is going well.

  8. Hi Jen, we were down there last month and had such a great time. We are already planning out return… Do you have any info on Noah’s Little Arks? I’ve heard that they aren’t planning on reopening. We are curious if anyone has bought their business (if there is anything to buy) and who owns the beach they rented from? I always assumed The Beach Bar. Do you have any contacts you can put me in touch with to get some more info?
    Thanks so much

  9. Hi – Just curious if you have any information from restaurant owners that ARE open about whether they will be shutting down in August during low season? Trying to book a trip but if the limited places to eat are also going to close then will need to plan a different timeframe…. Thank you in advance!

  10. Hi Jen, congrats on your new bundle of joy! Thank you for the updates. Do you know what will be open after September 2?

    Thanks again for keeping everyone updated.

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