Late last year the residents of St. Thomas's east end were in despair that they had forever lost a landmark. Latitude 18, the legendary bar at Vessup Point, closed in August 2011 amid much fanfare and sadness, after the owners failed to keep it afloat in the sluggish economy. The bar had survived 22 years through various owners and hurricanes, but it looked like this time it would become just a distant memory.
Latitude 18 — Photo courtesy of Karen ElowittHowever just a couple of months later, much to the delight of its loyal customers, Latitude 18 got a new lease on life, literally. Two regular patrons of the bar felt that the place was worth saving, so they pooled their resources and took over the lease. It took several weeks of planning, hiring and renovation, but the bar finally came back to life in December 2011.
Though Latitude 18 still retains the rough-around-the-edges, laid back atmosphere it became famous for, it has been spruced up with new paint, new furniture, a new menu, new staff, and some new amenities. Flat screen TVs lend a slightly more high-tech look to the bar area, while a volleyball court and a horseshoe pit now adorn the adjacent field.
Latitude 18 — Photo courtesy of Karen ElowittThe revised and expanded menu includes some old favorites like ribeye steak and seared ahi tuna, but also offers a wide variety of salads, wraps, burgers, and fish dishes. Live entertainment includes such perennial favorites as The Fiddler, who is booked weekly throughout the winter, plus cover bands and other musical acts. There is also one special “event” night every month.
Despite the changes, you can still find an array of colorful characters planted at the bar, from crusty old seamen, to local West Indian workers, to twenty-something beach bums. And the dockside location on Vessup Beach (opposite American Yacht Harbor) is still as breezy, relaxing and picturesque as ever. Some things never change.
Hours are 11am to midnight, with food service until 10pm.