Floyde Forbes’ Pelican Bar: A genius anomaly

Floyde Forbes’ Pelican Bar

My sunny mid-week reminiscences cast me back to holidays in Jamaica, my native home.

Jamaica is a tiny island jam-packed with interesting things to do and see, an all-round amazing holiday destination.

A recent article (14th March 2021) in The Sunday Times entitled “A Life in the Day” about Floyde Forbes’ Pelican Bar caught my eye. Having enjoyed extremely happy memories of visiting the Pelican Bar I was compelled to read the article.

What struck me most about this story was the total contentment and fulfilment Mr Forbes, owner of the Pelican Bar, felt about his life and the genius anomaly he created in the ocean off the south coast of Jamaica.

Now 54 Mr. Forbes worked from the age of 13 as a fisherman. However, in 2001 using only driftwood and palm tree foliage he embarked on the audacious project of building the Pelican Bar. Incredibly, it stands on stilts, on a sandbar, in the sea, and is only accessible by boat.

Mr Forbes says that the idea to build came to him in a dream, but it was only supposed to be a ‘hang out’ spot for himself. He lived there for some time and people thought he was crazy.

Another fisherman suggested to him that he turn the dwelling into a bar.

By 2004 the Bar had become a favourite haunt of locals and visitors alike. But devastatingly that was the year hurricane Ivan swept in and totally destroyed the Bar.

Due to popular demand and local support he managed to rebuild the Bar. The provincial beer company even put in solar panels  so the Bar could stay open longer in the evenings, and of course sell more beer!

The local community have great respect for Pelican Bar at it provides income for them, so it is never locked.

Like most places trade has been impacted by Covid but better times no doubt lie ahead.

Described as ‘the coolest bar in the world’ Mr Forbes sums up his good fortune, “I’ve never been to foreign[lands]. All the world came to me here. I don’t think I ever want to leave Jamaica to see anywhere else. Right here I’m satisfied.”

P.S. Why not have a browse in our Magi Rose shop. Magi Rose designs bring you the Jamaican sunshine and carefreeness to your life and wardrobe. Check out our collection for fab, easy-to-wear, fun clothing that never goes out of style and never fails to impress.


*https://jamaicans.com/17-superb-pictures-of-floyds-pelican-bar/  by Brianna Murphy

Interview extracts

Interview by Decca Aitkenhead, (14 March 2021) A Life in the Day, Floyde Forbes, The Sunday Times Magazine, pg 58.

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