Rick’s Cafe has been a fixture in Negril’s West End since 1974. That’s when Richard Hershman, after whom the bar is named, decided to put a bar on a slice of land with a beautiful cove. It was the first establishment of its type in the West End and soon became the place where mostly visitors meet, drink and watch the spectacular Negril sunset for which Rick’s Cafe is famous. To be fair, on a clear day, the sunsets any where on Negril’s west side, are spectacular but the vibe at Rick’s – the combination of the live band, the exotic drinks, the excitement of watching young men dive off high nearby cliffs, the happy, boozy people on land and in boats anchored a few years away, make watching it there, special.
When we arrived at Rick’s Cafe just after 1:00 p.m., only a few tables were occupied. By the time we finished our lunch and had a couple drinks, the place was crawling with people. Most came to watch the divers — local guys who began taking headers off the cliffs and performing acrobatics at Rick’s as a way to make some money. I was surprised to see that visitors are now cliff jumping as it can be very dangerous for the inexperienced, and especially for anyone who’s been drinking. I wasn’t close to the jump area or watching those who did to see if they had been drinking prior to jumping. To their credit, lifeguards/divers warned people loudly not to try a hand-walking stunt as it could be dangerous.
If some come to watch the divers, the overwhelming majority visit Rick’s Cafe to watch the sunset. And it’s breathtaking. It’s always amazing to watch the sun color the skies and water various shades of orange, browns, burnt orange as it seems to just drop behind the horizon. I’ve promised myself that the next time I’m at Rick’s, I’ll just sit and watch the sun set instead of catching glimpses of it between shots.
Once the sun sets, the house reggae band takes over the stage and those who want to, can dance or just vibe to the music. Rick’s Cafe is available for weddings, reunions and corporate retreats for up to 300 people.
Seeing Rick’s now, it’s hard to remember what it looked like back in the early days. Harder still to imagine that this bar has been destroyed by hurricane twice (Gilbert, 1988 and Ivan, 2004) and rebuilt, bigger each time.
Getting to Rick’s Cafe
Rick’s Cafe is located in the West End of Negril, about an hour’s drive from Montego Bay. Open daily it serves typical seaside and bar fare. In addition to beer, it also serves drinks with suggestive names like Sex with Rick, which is recommended for women and Front End Lifter (for men) 876-957-0380. No entry fee.