Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

The Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, in the British Virgin Islands, is home to the original Painkiller drink which was perfected in the 1970’s.

Update: Sad to say, but Jost Van Dyke, as well as many islands in the BVI’s and USVI’s were badly damaged during Hurricane Irma. Rebuilding is underway. The Caribbean Journal posted an article in January 2018 that the Soggy Dollar is open for business.

I am not the type that drinks before five nor am I a big drinker for that matter. I am usually dealing with some bullshit at work that seems really important at that moment. It was just past noon and all that was on our minds was testing the original Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke and hanging out on White Bay.

It was three days into this trip and my priorities had finally started to shift. I was out of the routine of checking my phone every five minutes. I did not even know where my phone was. My only problem was the line at the Soggy Dollar was long and it was my turn to get us drinks. The bartender was a magician lining up 20+ cups and pouring them all with a little dash of fresh nutmeg on top.

The Painkillers at Soggy Dollar are legit and there is no wonder why people come from all the surrounding islands for them. The boat ride over to Jost Van Dyke was well worth it to be able to say we drank an original Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar. To this day I can’t tell you how many people we have met in our travels who have been there. We always high five as we relive the memory of drinking Painkillers there.

Pro tip: Order double or triple of what you think you will drink… Saves you waiting in line! These are the real deal and one or even two is not enough. Also, grab some food and pace yourself day drinking :)


Top Photo: The only way to get to Jost Van Dyke is by boat. Middle Photo: White Bay has several little beach bars and you can also have lounges you can rent. One of the places was selling pizzas. Bottom Photo: Yachts, sailboats and charters anchor off White Beach.

Soggy Dollar Bar

The Soggy Dollar Bar is appropriately named because when built there was neither road nor dock. (There is now a road from Belle Vue, but still no dock). To reach the beach where the bar is located, it is a common practice for boaters to anchor off the beach, swim to shore, and pay for their drinks with wet money. Today, White Bay is lined with beach bars and is a very popular stop for yachts and boaters from Tortola, St. Thomas and St. John. Group tours from the USVI and even small cruise ships are also frequent visitors.


The One Love bar was a few doors down from the Soggy Dollar. Give some of the other beach bars business and buy a few drinks to support the island.

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Jost Van Dyke (sometimes referred to as JVD or Jost) is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands, measuring roughly 8 square kilometres (3 square miles). It rests in the northern portion of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Jost Van Dyke lies about 8 km (5 mi) to the northwest of Tortola and 8 km (5 mi) to the north of Saint John. Little Jost Van Dyke lies off its eastern end.

The island is known for its yacht anchorages, like the sheltered bay at Great Harbor. Casual bars and restaurants dot the sandy beaches here and at nearby White Bay. Bubbly Pool, a naturally foaming sea pool, is in the island’s northeast. Learn more about Jost Van Dyke here.

How to get there? The best way to get there is by boat. It all depends on how long you want to stay, where you are coming from and if you want to visit any other surrounding islands. Many charters offer half day or full day trips and there is even a ferry option.

How to book? These are just a few of the many options available…

From Tortola: New Horizon Ferry Service

From St. Thomas: New Horizons & Breakaway Charters or One Love Charters

From St. John: Palm Tree Charters or Rockhoppin Adventures or Calypso Charters

What’s on the menu? Foxy’s Tiki Bar and Restaurant

Ivan’s Stress Free Bar

One Love Bar and Grill

Other Facts: Kenny Chesney, the famous country singer, featured Jost Van Dyke in one of his songs, “Somewhere in the Sun.”


Despite rumors that the island’s name comes from a 17th-century Dutch privateer, Joost van Dyk, who used its harbors as a hideout, there is no factual evidence supporting this claim. Just who Jost Van Dyke’s namesake is remains a mystery.

Reflections

My working self hates vacations. If it were not for my wife, I would never have visited Jost Van Dyke or got to taste the original Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar. There is no doubt I would have been dealing with something important at the same moment in my office. There was a moment on the beach where I completely forgot about work. I was living in the present and having a drink and laughing with some new friends we met. This is where I needed to be.

It’s amazing how we can get so wrapped up in life and work that we will deny ourselves experiences like this. I remember thinking to myself, I don’t want to go back. All good things must come to an end. This is why I take photos and write these stories. Someone needs to remind myself and you to get outside and explore the world.

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If you like this story, check out our St. John, Us Virgin Islands Photo Feature.