About a decade ago, Tom Westerhof was sitting at Buho’s Beach Bar on Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres, a small island just off the coast of Cancun, when he said to himself, “I could sit here all day and be perfectly content”.
It actually took a second trip back to St. Kitts three years ago for him to finally do something about it. He kept researching destinations and basing his decisions on the number of beach bars and their proximity to the resort. He knew he couldn’t be the only person out there who loved beach bars and that’s when it all began in earnest. In 2012, the company Beach Bar Bums was born.
Smokey’s at the Cove, Anguilla
photo: Beach Bar Bums
Do you love beach bars as much as we do? Then you really should be following Tom’s company, Beach Bar Bums. Not only does Tom give us the scoop on beach bars everywhere, he also now also focuses on ancillary businesses that support beach bars and the destinations that call them home. He’s written about resorts, restaurants, spirits (the liquid kind), cocktails, music, events, travel, people involved in the business and so forth. It’s kind of morphed into a travel/lifestyle blog for people who love the beach .. and a rum cocktail or two. Um, no wonder we’re fans!
Tom, his wife and daughter with Bankie Banx at Dune Preserve
photo: Beach Bar Bums
Have you ever thought about owning your own beach bar? Well, Beach Bar Bums is about to launch a new feature on their website called a “listings page” where individuals will be able to list basic info on businesses they have for sale at no cost to them. This is a development that Tom is very excited about. He’s partnering with a company out of Europe and in the role as “finders,” he will be trying to find sellers of beach bars the right buyers and vice versa. A lot of business owners don’t want to advertise that they’re for sale out of fear that it might impact their business – they’d rather put “feelers” out and see if there’s someone out there interested. That’s where Beach Bar Bums come in – they offer bar owners a chance to “feel out” the market confidentially, only offering as much information as they choose to share. Tom’s already building up a database of potential buyers. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there looking to buy a beach bar!
Another new venture for Beach Bar Bums is a partnership that they recently entered into with Clear Vision Media to offer photography services not just of beach bars but of any travel, tourism and hospitality-related business, with a concentration on beach destinations. They offer the full portfolio of photography and video services including aerial (drone) photography and video along with HDR 360 degree virtual tours. The virtual tour they produced for Caddy’s on the Beach in Treasure Island, Florida is amazing – it’s almost like you’re there! They’re a full service media production company so being able to partner with them was something Tom couldn’t pass up.
We asked Tom if he had a favorite Caribbean beach bar and he replied, “That’s a hard question but I would probably have to say it’s the Sunshine Shack in Anguilla. For me, it’s the quintessential Caribbean beach bar. It’s basically a shack on the beach where the sand is the floor and there are no navigable roads leading to it. Rendezvous Bay, where it’s located, is gorgeous and Garvey, the owner, is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Every visit to the Sunshine Shack will leave you with a smile, either from the rum, hanging out with Garvey or a combination of the two”.
We asked Tom if he had a Bucket List of beach bars and if so, if he would share a few on that list. He told us The Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort in Bali, Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke and pretty much anywhere in Maldives are some of the locations at the top of his list.
Sunset at the Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten
photo: Beach Bar Bums
Tom’s eventual goal and dream is to someday own his own beach bar. Not a shock. We asked if he had a location in mind and what some of the features of his beach bar would be. He said, “If I had to pick one destination under threat of never being able to drink vodka tonics again, I would have to pick St. Maarten. Some of the cool aspects of our bar would be the drink and food menu. The bar would feature original craft cocktails and tapas style small plates to pair with them, offering customers a unique dining experience in a laid back beach atmosphere. I would want people to feel like they were walking into their neighborhood bar and there would be a free round of shots for everyone with an open tab at sunset. Granted, it might be the cheap stuff but it’ll be free”.
Are you already following Beach Bar Bums? If not, you should! Find them here: