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The bright turquoise waters of Great Bay makes a gorgeous backdrop to dining and drinking in Philipsburgh, Sint Maarten. With competition fierce for the attention of the myriad of cruise ship visitors, who dock a short walk away, reasonable prices are available as well as a wide selection of food styles. A relaxed atmosphere permeates the area and the rules are equally relaxed. Pick up a $1 can of beer from Big Wood Grill and stroll down the Boardwalk. You may even get a chance to take your picture with some pirates, or some super heroes, depending on the outfit of the day for the crew!
If $1 cans of beer aren’t your style, try a bucket of Carib Lager, a light, corona-style beer that is the preferred brew of Trinidad and Tobago. You can choose to rent a pair of beach chairs and an umbrella, for around $10, to give you a place to sip your ~$15 bucket of six beers.
Big Wood Grill Restaurant and Bar
If you stopped in for the $1 cans of beer, stick around for a while and try one of the delicious wraps. The creamy feta and chicken filled Greek wrap will satiate your need for lunch, or try out the BBQ menu. The wraps will only set you back $10-13 each.
Taloula Mango’s and Blue Bitch Bar
Taloula Mango’s is the lower deck of the Blue Bitch Bar, serving up sunny seating with umbrellas and an international menu. The sides aren’t plentiful, but they are very happy to cater to allergies and provide a large variety of choice for a reasonable price point with their menu. Staying competitive, the beers and cold, cheap and keep on coming. Try out the mango chutney mahi mahi sandwich to take in some of the local flavours. Perhaps the best feature of this restaurant is the music stage across the boardwalk, with tunes provided by an energetic local band singing and dancing away to a huge variety of cover songs, all while joking and engaging with the patrons and passersby.
The Get Wet Bar
Tucked into a hole between brick buildings, The Get Wet Bar is a wooden structure with a shady deck covered with plastic lawn chairs and tables. While the atmosphere isn’t quite as fancy as some of the other Philipsburgh restaurants, the prices, service, and the portions will draw you in. At the time of writing, the daily special was $9 and served up a substantial amount of food. If you are a light eater, you can take your leftovers to go and have plenty for a second meal. A sample daily special is two large pieces of fried chicken served with fries and a small side salad or pork chops in mushroom sauce, also served with fries and salad. The burgers are larger than my hand and the on-site smoked ribs go down like a charm. Keep your eye out for the Canadian owner; he’s a chatty one and will keep you entertained.
There are literally dozens of Philipsburgh restaurants, bars and shops on the boardwalk alone. Taking a wander will give you several choices, each with their own unique spin.