Skeeterz Rum Bar Grill, St.Lucia

Over a year ago, I got an email from a random stranger, named Steve. He proceeded to tell me about his decision to open a bar, called Skeeterz with his St.Lucian wife, from Piaye. To be honest, I did not even know where Piaye was located. I've since learnt, Piaye is in Laborie, St.Lucia. 

Recently, I added a St.Lucian to my Facebook friend list after he commented on a mutual friend's page. You see, I met him at another friend's beach lime in St.Lucia, last carnival.  I thought it only fair he get tagged in the silly pictures.  LOL! A few weeks ago, Storme's newsfeed revealed tagged photos in a Skeeterz Beach Bar & Grill facebook album. Instantly, I remembered the Skeeterz story, feeling connected because I knew of the idea to start the bar, long before it came to be. ... And now it was.  I became a fan of Skeeterz Rum Bar & Grill, St.Lucia facebook page.

My new friend at the beach bash and doing shots at Skeeterz!

I am fond of bars. No secret, I love to knock back my liquor. I enjoy sitting at a bar. I enjoy the atmosphere of meeting other 'happy drunks.' ... And socializing and chatting. 'Though I can do without those who can't handle their elixirs ... the types who either spill their drinks, spit when they talk or lose their minds and get overly aggressive. So I welcome ... the chance to drink any, and every where! I find it amusing to take pictures of every bar, I visit ... from the decor, to the lined up bottles on the shelf, to just having my glass topped up, to the crazies I encounter! I've got a collection.    

... And since becoming a fan of Skeeterz, thanks to their continuous photo uploads, I know it's one place with just the bar atmosphere that I so love, FUN and relaxed. I had to share. Even when I wanted to clarify with Steve, whether I remembered correctly if his wife was St.Lucian, he responded, "Heck yes my wife is a St.Lucian ... is there anything better? :) My wife was born in Piaye, St. Lucia!"... And even  Steve's statement, had me feeling like my husband would respond with the same excitement and pride, if asked about me.  LOL!

THIS IS THE STORY OF SKEETERZ RUM BAR GRILL ....  from owners Steve and Margaret Wilson

I started a business with my brothers that shipped (by airplane) ground provisions from Dominica to 4 islands that had high ratios of Dominican/St. Lucia people, our headquarters was on St. Croix, USVI. I lived on the East End of the island and would pass by a little place that had an old condo sales office with picnic tables scattered around and a $100 gas grill, and it was called Cheeseburgers in Paradise. I think they had some legal issues with the name and changed it to American Chesseburgers (or something similar) after a while. Anyway, it was obviously named after the song made famous by Jimmy Buffett, and was operated by a local woman who started it up with a few dollars and a prayer. Nothing fancy either. No lush tropical trees, no ocean view either, but it was the place to get the best burgers on the island.

Her idea was to sell burgers only (and alcohol). She offered the burgers with or without cheese, a side of Lay’s potato chips and that was it. Of course, you had to have a beer or cocktail, or three. The concept was simple – keep the overhead low, minimal training for cooks, keep the operational headaches to a minimum and focus on providing the best damn burgers possible – with all the alcohol you can possibly drink. She didn’t try to be everything to everybody and believed in the idea of doing one thing well, and doing it right. Her attitude was, “if you wanted a great burger, this was it, if you wanted something else, go somewhere else, and when you are ready for a great burger, you knew where to go”. It worked flawlessly.

The atmosphere was relaxing, but nothing fancy…but there was nice tropical music and a live band on the weekends. My wife and I missed this the most of anything in the Caribbean.

Speaking of my wife, I met her on St. Croix and we have been together ever since - she's MY wife and BEST friend and we BOTH have had the same dream ever since and we both pushed very hard to make it a reality.

So, after a few years later, and traveling throughout many of the Caribbean islands, we never could find anything like it - and I tried as I am a Cheeseburger fanatic. We always seemed to be searching for that nice lil' place on other islands, but NOT the over-commercialized restaurants. We sought out places that filled our expectations of a lush, tropical escape on a breezy tropical island. If you are familiar with Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney, who all sing about these places, you would understand easier as their songs have created visions of what we “thought” would be scattered throughout the entire Caribbean. But they are not, at least in the down islands!

We have found quite a few local rum shops or rum shacks throughout the Caribbean…and although we enjoy most of them, they don’t offer a real Cheeseburger, or even the lush tropical atmosphere -they are ALL based on their “local” creole type food. And if they do have a burger, or what they may refer to as a burger, its some ole frozen thing that’s been there for quite some time…and after its cooked, on a griddle, it can really be a little scary. Also, most local places can look rough (in appearance) and they tend to be operated at a very local level. The prices are usually fair and the food is good (if you want creole food), but the local’s mindset is definitely very different. They look at everything from their point of view, and just don’t have the outsider point-of-view, experience or the vision of how a lot of people “think” an island style bar and grill should/could be. My wife and I noticed that their are basically 2 types of places and NOTHING in the middle:

First, there are hundreds of small local places, called rum shops or rum shacks, selling local foods and basic drinks – they are mom and pop style businesses that lack the resources and experience to satisfy the local professionals and/or traveler’s pre-conceived visions. No real marketing, there just there and sometimes can look a little rough. These places are consumer friendly, but are not visually exciting and lack certain necessities.

Second, and to the other extreme, are the resorts with upscale bars, fancy umbrella drinks, exotic foods, pre-planned fun, beach games and scheduled tours. These facilities surround the visitors with other visitors and are enclosed within their own communities with minimal local exposure, if any. Most have a certain commonality and commercial ambience and are completely void of the true Caribbean culture and the island charm that many seek. As well, they are not local friendly for the every day person.

It simply seemed that there is no real middle ground that appeals to both the local professionals and tourists. Many visitors say they would like to socialize with the local islanders and seek out the proverbial tropical bar that’s reminiscent of the Caribbean culture. A place with a lush tropical environment, hand crafted bamboo, palm fronds, hammocks, and all the things one might expect if they could magically walk into a Jimmy Buffett song. Basically, a real “local style” down island rum shop that is kicked up a notch and is just a little more comfortable, fun and accommodating to all.

THAT’S OUR CONCEPT AND WE CALLED IT SKEETERZ RUM BAR…yup that’s it. A place where EVERYONE is welcome – the people from the all-inclusive resorts who want to take off and visit something local, and a place where the locals can be comfortable and enjoy themselves…that’s exactly what was needed, and now, ONLY 1 month into it, our concept has proven itself.

Introducing Skeeterz Rum Bar Grill, and unlike the larger resorts our answer is not an overly expensive menu, a wild variety of foods, over commercialization or catering to only to the tourists...it is quite the opposite. Skeeterz is a local rum shop kicked up a notch and designed to fill the void between the larger resorts and the smaller local rum shacks and fulfilling the perceived tropical fantasy to the visitor while remaining a great place for the local professionals to socialize - but the backend is operated with professional “experienced” management who will offer a tropical experience that is 100% St. Lucia!

PS - Reason for our name Skeeterz. When I first started visiting St. Lucia, the mosquitoes seemed to prefer me over anyone else. My wife always teased me that I was St. Lucian mosquito bait. In the southern part of the US the refer to mosquitoes as skeeters, so we decided that the name was appropriate - although most local st. Lucians are not familiar with this terminology down here, they get a big kick out of learning about the name.

VISIT SKEETERZ RUM BAR GRILL:

2 comments

  1. If I could afford it, I would fly down for lunch once a week. Great burgers!

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  2. GREAT Article...we have decided to investigate the reopening of Skeeterz - but it must be better and more tropical than before. Stay Tuned....thanks!
    Steve
    http://skeeterz.com

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