With its funky atmosphere and local vibe, the Pumphouse in Anguilla is known for its potent rum punch and rockin’ nightlife. This Anguillan bar has a funky ramshackled, just swept-together look and sits just across the street from one of Anguilla’s most popular beaches at Sandy Ground. The Pumphouse provides ample evidence that despite all the bustle and glam of big resorts, there’s still a place for a down-to-earth island beach bar watering holes.
You could say that time and big tourism sailed right by Anguilla. Now that the laid-back British West Indies enclave has become famous for stylish villas and celebrity sightings at posh resorts, it’s easy to forget that it didn’t even get electricity until the 1970’s. Places like The Pumphouse and the near by Elvis’ Beach Bar will remind you of that fact.
The Pumphouse came by its name because it sits beside the Road Bay salt pond, and relics of the once-booming salt industry (including a diesel pump engine) still occupy one end of the beach bar. Vintage metal signs fill the walls (Guinness, Carib, Valvoline); a fiberglass pirate hangs from the rafters.
The pub menu holds a few surprises (Korean tacos; Caesar salad with Asian-glazed, pan-seared tuna), but the main attraction is the reggae music. During the tourist season, there is nightly entertainment five nights a week. On Tuesday nights the house DJ offers ‘Pumphouse rock’ which includes alternative music and rock ballads from the most famous rock bands.
Wednesday nights are for the reggae lovers. Hotshot and his band Hod Nox plays their reggae favorites much to the delight and enjoyment of the patrons. For all those who enjoy Spanish music, Thursday nights are the ‘Meringue Magic’ nights. One can dance the night away to the melodious music of Keith and Raphael. Friday nights again there is the Pumphouse rock by the house DJ and it all ends on Saturday night with the ‘Reggae Groovers’ belting out reggae hits which usually has the crowd on its feet begging for more.
The Pumphouse serves Stella and Hoegaarden on tap, but you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t try the rum punch , it’s not the Hawaiian Punch most joints push, but a limey, potent version of the classic 1-2-3-4 formula. Like the Caribbean beach bar that serves it, it’s the real thing.
Need a break from dancing? Grab your rum punch and take a step outside, across the street is the one and only Sandy Ground. The contrast between being inside this action packed Anguilla bar to being a few staggering steps from a quiet pristine beach is, what’s the word…perfect. Sandy Ground beach will quiet your ears in the short time it takes to through back a couple sips of that rum punch. It’s a peaceful Anguillian paradise once the sun goes down and the stars come out.
And when that peace and quiet goes on for a little too long? Just head back inside to The Pumphouse to party the night away with your new best friends you just met that day.
To most of us The Pumphouse is known as one of the best Anguilla bars and spots for Anguilla nightlife. But before playing reggae music and serving a mean rum punch, The Pumphouse was key to Anguilla’s salt industry. Road Salt Pond (behind Road Bay/Sandy Ground Beach) was used for salt mining, all the way back to the Amerindian days.
The Pumphouse was used as a mill to refine salt that was sold within Anguilla and also exported. The salt business eventually collapsed and saw its last days in 1986. The Pumphouse opened as a bar roughly ten years later in 1995.
The Pumphouse is owned and operated by Laurie and Gabi Gumbs. It opened its doors to the public on 4th August, 1995. The site is rich in history in that it was home to the Anguilla Road Salt Company Factory which in its time was the main export of Anguilla.
Laurie Gumbs, the owner has managed to restore some of the equipment which was used in the salt production process and has them displayed at his bar, his intention being to create a ‘Mini Salt Industry Museum’. During the tourist season, the archaeological society arranges tours of the site.
The Pumphouse has 7 staff members, his wife and himself included. The entire staff is kept very busy catering to their patrons’ needs. The Pumphouse boasts an extremely impressive well-stocked bar. You can get the drink of your choice all at very reasonable prices.
The menu may be informally chalked on the wall, the food is absolutely delicious.
If you’ve been to The Pumphouse on Anguilla let us know what you thought. We would love to hear your story.
Cheers to another Caribbean Beach Bar to explore Castaways!
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