Mojito Bar – Cabarete

As it’s name suggests, Mojito bar is the place to go in Cabarete for Mojito’s! It was a popular spot for the students from my school in Sosua to go to for 2 for 1 happy hour once or twice a week. Unfortunately I don’t like Mojito’s, but they were popular and sure looked pretty! The bar had a list of 4 or 5 options for their 2 for 1 deal. I opted for 2 for 1 Pina Colada’s. Sadly they were the worst Pina Colada’s that I had ever had. They seemed to solely be pineapple juice and liquor. There was no coconut flavor at all. They were thin, weak and lacked any resemblance to what I expected for a pina colada. Even at 2 for 1 they were sub-par.

Service here was friendly and good, although regularly a bit slow because the bar is tiny and the customers are plenty.

If you are stopping by for a bite to eat the sandwiches are yummy, but make sure you order early before the kitchen closes! The fresh squeezed juice that accompanies the sandwich menu is hit or miss. It depends on the combination of fruits, but twice I was served juice that was too sour to drink. Fresh should still mean ripe!

Overall, not my favorite location for drinks, but the sandwiches were good and I hear the Mojito’s were worth it!

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Mojito Bar Cabarete

Ojo Bar Review

I went to Ojo’s on three separate Thursday nights during August 2012 for Latin Dance. The first night, arriving at 9pm was a mistake as there was no one on the dance floor … or even at the bar at all. By 10:30 a few people will start to make their way to the dance floor and by 11:30, the dance floor was usually packed with a good mixture of locals and tourists. Generally speaking, mostly young local men (19 – 35) and mostly tourist women (19 – 50) … however, certainly some couples (local and tourist) were showing off their moves too.

The drinks here were strong (Cuba libre or Santa Libre) and reasonably priced. The bar staff were always pleasant and if you are a fan of Bachata and Merengue music, this is the best place to be for a Thursday night.

It was a great atmosphere for dancing and I was comfortable dancing with my girl friends or with friendly locals. Solo women travelers should be wary of the intentions of the locals at this bar (or any bar) as often they are looking for their ‘sugar momma’s’. Return week after week and you’ll see the same guys courting various different women, sometimes within the same evening. However, if you are just looking to dance the night away, you’ll have no shortage of offers to hit the dance floor from local men … most of whom are good dancers and will make you feel like a star even if your dance skills are beginner. Be cautious of their requests for ‘Just one kiss’, your phone number or them offering to make sure you get home safely.

Need to take a break? Head upstairs to the open-air rooftop, Salsa section of the bar. You can have a seat on some comfy couches in the fresh ocean air and grab a drink from one of the two bars. And then, once you’ve rested, you can show off your Salsa moves on the huge rooftop dance floor. The best part about it is that most nights there is a refreshing breeze, which is greatly welcomed in the middle of summer in the Dominican when you are out dancing.

Overall, Ojo’s was my favorite bar in Cabarete, specifically for Thursday nights. I made a special effort to go out every week for Latin Dance to meet and dance with locals rather than always heading to the other bars with the North American / European style dance beats.

Enjoy! Be cautious!

My favourite Sosua Restaurant

PJ’s was one of my regularly frequented restaurants in my three-week stay in Sosua during August 2012. Located on the main strip of Pedro Clisante it was easy to find and hard to avoid as it was close to the main beach, close to the main road from Puerto Plata to Cabarete and amongst a variety of touristy restaurants on the main street of the town.

About a week after my return to Canada (Sept 2012), I’ve learned that PJ’s is now under the name of Sinatra’s, but boasts the same great service and food!

Initially I went with a group of students from my Spanish school. Although the restaurant was busy, our group of seven or eight was quickly accommodated. Staff moved tables together and made us feel welcome. The atmosphere, the food and the service were all very good by my Canadian standards, which really made them exceptional for Dominican standards. Often, Dominican restaurants are not known for their good service, but this spot proves differently.

On a second visit, I ate alone on a less busy night at the restaurant and was joined by Steve, the owner to talk about all things Dominican and the economy in the area. He was very friendly and I stayed late just enjoying the variety of topics that we conversed about. Many nights I saw him talking with new customers or re-welcoming the regulars. Always with a friendly smile on his face and always making time to converse.

Let’s talk about the food here! It truly is delicious and the price can’t be beat. I am sure that I ate at this restaurant at least 10 times and was only once slightly disappointed (I wasn’t a fan of the meat nachos here).

The English style fish & chips were my favorite. A large portion of fish, perfectly battered and served with a tangy tartar sauce. On top of it being delicious, it was on the PJ’s specials for just $250 RD. A bargain at that price!

My second favorite was the Chicken Parmasean. A large portion of lightly battered chicken covered in tasty tomato sauce. Served with fries or mashed potatoes.

Thirdly, if you are particularly hungry, go for the ½ chicken. It was huge, served hot, with a small salad and fries. The barbeque sauce was tangy and mouth watering too. I could only eat about half of my meal and felt bad that I wasn’t able to finish.

The staff here are friendly, fun and if you frequent the restaurant, you’ll start to know them by name, as friends, and they’ll be happy to welcome you back. I had great conversations with many of them and they even put up with me while I practiced my new-found Spanish skills.

When the restaurant is busy you’ll see the staff moving quickly about to take care of all of the customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. When the restaurant is slow, you can find staff waiting near the front entrance ready to welcome you and make you feel at home. Many of the restaurants have staff at the front begging and bribing you to sit down for a meal. At PJ’s, they were simply there as friendly faces, ready to answer your questions and help you, but not in a pushy or annoying way.

Wednesday and Friday nights were 2-for-1 meal nights (with some exceptions) until 8pm and then karaoke from 8pm – 12am (ish). On top of the already outstanding prices, a 2-for-1 deal was a steal and made for a great cheap night out even once you paid regular prices for your drinks.

The karaoke equipment is excellent and provides for great entertainment without the shotty crackly speakers of many of the other local establishments. There are regulars who try their talents at karaoke every week who are pretty good. There are always a few who do it just for fun and have no talent and then every once in awhile there’s a real star among the singers who will just blow you away! They have a huge variety of karaoke songs, so if you like to sing, I am positive you can find something just right for you.

If you are a fan of Pina Colada’s give one a try here. Well blended, cold and an excellent mixture of rum, pineapple juice and coconut flavors. It didn’t disappoint.

Jolly Roger Bar

Jolly Roger in Sosua is a great casual place to hang out with friends and meet come from away-ers. Owned and operated by a Canadian, living in the area, it is a local get together spot for many Canadian’s and German’s, but everyone is made to feel welcome!

Situated amongst various bars and restaurants on the main street, but yet far enough away from the party bars to not be overwhelmed by the music or the string of moto conchos that can be an annoyance.

The pirate themed bar has a unique décor, is large enough to comfortably hold several small groups of people and hosts a variety of games nights such as fuzball and dart tournaments. Bingo nights are also popular, with a portion of the winnings being donated to a local children’s charity. Great to see an effort being made to give back!

They play a wide variety of mainly English music from the 80’s and 90’s, mixed in with some newer hits. I found myself singing along to almost every song and remembering moments in my past when the music was top of the charts. It is a nice change for those of you who may not be in to dance music or the local bachata and merengue scene.

The owner is always around and happy to have a friendly conversation. The local waitresses are fun, tentative and offer good service.

Don’t forget to check out the interesting drink menu, including the Blue Mother Fucker. I personally wasn’t a fan because I am a whimpy drinker, but several of my friends loved them! I stuck to the Pina Colada’s. Not the best in town, but sufficient. And, there’s always cold Presidente beer!