Some Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville locations may be a bit cookie-cutter, but this one was far more unique, in my mind, perhaps owing to the dark, moody atmosphere of the place. By day, it's a restaurant, well lit, open and airy, but night closes in and churns it into a throbbing mecca for all-things Jamaican, up to and including some pretty racy, shall we say, dirty dancing, embraced by natives and tourists alike. The MoBay Margaritaville was opened in 1995 by Jamaican owners Brian Jardim and Ian Dear and hasn't stopped offering fun by the glass since, including some 52 tropical-flavored margaritas and the signature 22-ounce bongs of beer. No kidding. During the day, there is a 120-foot waterslide that winds down from the rooftop terrace and flings tourists into the warm water below, but by night it is wisely off limits.
We came on a Friday night and the place was wall-to-wall people, dancing, drinking and having the most marvelous time on the dance floor before the requisite giant shark head. Over the years, Margaritaville has entertained superstars such as rappers Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Jermaine Dupree, P.Diddy and Run DMC, and has seen big-name celebrities including the late Dennis Hopper, Cindy Crawford, Lance Armstrong (sans bike, we presume), Tiger Woods (don't go there), and Uma Thurman.
You never know who'll be gyrating to the left, to the right, with our without fins.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.; no set closing
Cost: Cover charges vary by night and event, check site for updated information.