They call it the Hip Strip, and for good reason. There are bars, clubs and restaurants in Montego Bay, Jamaica, mostly on Gloucester Avenue, that is elbow-to-elbow people, pounding music, free-flowing drinks and just a rock-solid good time, if you're up for one that involves staying up and dancing into the wee hours, all quite nearby any Montego Bay all inclusive you may be calling temporary home.
Our intrepid group hit three of them one night -- Margaritaville, Blue Beat and Pier One -- and found them radically different in architecture and ambience but with the common thread of loud music, dancing and drinking. They all serve fantastic food, but we didn't come early enough for that sort of nutrition. But do, if you're hungry during the day and early evening, the views from each are fantastic.
This trio of night-life hot spots are in the thick of Montego Bay activity, meaning there's a ton of folks flowing about the traffic-jammed streets. Play it safe, keep on the sidewalk and away from speeding cars and any inebriated drivers that may be
behind the wheels.
Just walking up and down this stretch of Gloucester Avenue is an adventure in people watching, but be careful: This is Jamaica, after all, with a charm all its own that includes very pushy street vendors, extremely aggressive ladies of the evening, and eager ganja dealers. Men, keep your wallet in your front pocket, and women, hold tight to your purses. If you want to try a legal way of getting rid of your cash, hit the flashy Coral Cliff Hotel casino in the heart of the district.
That said, enjoy the dark ambience of one of Jamaica's most fabled nightlife spots. Hey, it's Montego Bay, mon, go with it.