PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: Curaçao bar is definitely ‘dushi’
Sometimes, a pub, patio, or bar doesn’t constitute a destination until to itself (as much as we might imply otherwise), rather it simply compliments or enhances a place, providing a tiny, perfect piece of an otherwise marvellous mosaic.
Such is the humble “World Best Mojito Bar” in Willemstad, Curaçao, an establishment so sublime it can afford to disregard English grammar entirely in its marquee (if not the accompanying chalkboard).
Then again, the delightful residents of Curaçao may be forgiven, as English doesn’t register as the primary language of the island (though spoken by all). It is also part of the melange that makes up the baffling local lingo, Papiamentu, which includes African creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and, of course, the island’s official language, Dutch.
But never mind, they had us at mojito, the cool Cuban concoction made of rum, lime, mint, and sugar, which, when packed with ice, goes down just as well in the scorching Dutch Caribbean as it does further north.
I tried a traditional mojito. Was it the world’s best? My sample size is not extensive enough – but it was very good, served in a pint-size glass filled with ice and liberally sprinkled with chopped mint, which permeated the entire drink, not just the top.
Touting 100 different kinds of rum sold by the bottle, that choice didn’t seem to be an option to the standard pour, but there were a large variety of flavoured options. My colleagues chose peach and strawberry respectively and pronounced them delicious.
Alcohol not for you? Not to worry, attached to WBMB is a smoothie bar, with a seemingly endless array of fruity creations, but without the booze.
Reportedly, one can purchase a drink and take it to go, but we chose to sit at one of the small tables out front, which inhabited part of pedestrian-protected Colombustraat (steps away from Wilhelminaplein square on the Punda side, where the giant Curaçao letters are). We asked a staff member to crank out the awning further, magically producing welcome shade.
Inside, the narrow bar was dark and seating was limited (and, frankly, not optimum),
So, we sat outside, in the shade, watching Willemstad go by, and come into, the rum the shop, local tunes humming in the background, before venturing out, to explore the world heritage-rated city.
Perhaps best described as mini-Amsterdam meets Miami in the Caribbean, Willemstad is famous for Dutch architecture, emblazoned in vibrant colours, street art, and a massive pedestrian bridge that connects the two sides of the city.
Which is to say, as stated earlier, that the mojito bar is not a destination unto itself, but simply a perfect launching pad to a wonderful travel destination. Or, one suspects, a place to relax at the end of a tour, or perhaps during it.
There’s a frequently used word in Papiamentu – dushi – which, while hard to precisely translate, essentially means positive vibes, or the good things in life.
Willemstad, and World Best Mojito Bar, are, in my books, definitely dushi!
With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:
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First published at Travel Industry Today