James Bond Beach
Get shakin' and stirred at this
James Bond Beach
James Bond Beach sits on a small peninsula at Oracabessa Bay about 20 minutes from Ocho Rios on Jamaica 's north coast.
James Bond Beach has a bar and restaurant that has a sizable sports bar. More than just a strip of sand, James Bond Beach also features beach volleyball courts, soccer field, basketball hoops, watersports toys and fine sandy beaches. Its connection with the legendary secret agent is legit.
Not only were scenes from Dr. No filmed at Oracabessa's old banana port (visible from the bar), owner Chris Blackwell also possesses the title to Golden Eye, the nearby seaside property where Ian Fleming wrote all of the Bond books during his annual vacations.
The huge 2-story Moonraker bar, open on all sides, can hold up to 200, but the only time it's that packed is during occasional jazz, blues and soca concerts. It's a genuine beach bar where sandy feet and wet swimsuits are the norm. Even a nature girl like Honey Rider would feel at home.
The Bond-related décor is subdued, obvious only in the names of movies painted on small bamboo pieces that hang over the first-floor bar. Thankfully, there's not a Bond souvenir stand anywhere.
Both locals and tourists come to drink, dine, sun and swim. Traditionally, Wednesday is cruise ship day. Celebrity friends of owner Chris Blackwell, who is also a movie producer and founder of Island Records, sometimes stop by. A weekend regular is Carl Bradshaw, who appeared in such well-known Jamaica-based movies as The Harder They Come and The Mighty Quinn.
Mixed drinks rely heavily on the Bond theme, such as the Gold Finger (rum and a blend of juices) and the Dr. No (vodka and juices). Although it's not advertised, feel free to order a vodka martini (shaken or stirred) and anything else from the well stocked bar, including Guinness or Dragon Stout.
Come with an appetite, too, because the kitchen located beside the bar serves excellent lobster, shrimp, BBQ and jerk chicken.
Admission fee. Open daily except Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours extend considerably during special, heavily advertised concerts that attract as many as 10,000. For information, call 876/975-3665.
Sunday is the best day for both the bar and restaurant. Bar specials run all day, and beginning at 9:30 a.m. the kitchen starts serving fish Bond style (snapper escovitch) with bammy and festival. This is a wonderful dish. Worth the wait if there's a line.
Considering the name of the bar, it's not surprising the signature drink here is the Moonraker. The drink is better than the book and the movie (which bear no similarity. In the book, James Bond never went into space. Or had such good John Barry background music).
Make Your Own Moonraker Drink
Use 1 oz each of coconut rum and Myers rum, a dash of strawberry syrup and a teaspoon of lime juice. Stir and pour over half cup of crushed ice.