While searching for a legendary Bimini water hole, we stumble upon a Bimini legend. Meet Star…
It was a hot afternoon in Bimini and we walked down the dusty main drag through town looking for the notorious End of the World Bar. We had heard good things about this salty place and wanted to test it out for ourselves.
By the time we found it we were thirsty, hungry and ready to cool off in the shade of a funky island saloon. Unfortunately, End of the World was locked up as tight as a drum. We were still a month away from tourist season and had the island to ourselves, but many local businesses were closed, including several must-visit bars and restaurants. Bummer!
As we pathetically snapped pictures of the exterior at End of the World, a man who had been sweeping the sidewalk next door struck up a conversation with us. He introduced himself as Star and invited us to see his place. It was also closed for “down season” and would reopen by mid-November, but seeing that we were thirsty, the doors opened up and we strolled in like VIPs.
We walked down a long skinny corridor between two buildings and a platform of old boards creaked under our feet. On the other side, a small courtyard opened up complete with a bar, grill, sound system, boat dock and a well-used Bimini ring game. The place was in disarray, but it had all the elements of a spot where we would love to hang out. This was the High Star Bar.
Star quickly dashed inside and came out with three ice cold Kaliks. As we sipped the Bahamian brew we talked and got to know this small island celebrity. Star was born and raised in Bimini and, as a younger man, was a talented athlete. He toured with several Bahamian basketball teams and reminisced about the glory days like a high school kid with hoop dreams.
In the 1970s, during the era of disco, Star and his father opened a nightclub on this property that catered to wealthy Miami party people who raced over to Bimini in yachts and go-fast boats. High Star Bar was a hit and for years was a popular late night dance spot for locals and tourists.
When disco died in the ’80s, Star developed their dockside bar. Beer and rum drinks were served to giant crowds of sport fishermen who would show up on the island for fishing tournaments and wild weekends. Jimmy Buffett tunes replaced Diana Ross and business continued to thrive.
In the ’90s, the bar hosted live bands and Sunday lobster BBQs. The vibe has always been friendly and one of inclusion. ”Everyone is welcome here. Just have fun.” Star says.
High Star Bar has seen some wear and tear, but after several years of neglect it is being cleaned up and is due for a triumphant return this season. As we sat there and enjoyed our beers, tradesmen worked on the dock around us and readied for a day of painting and repairs.
Whether High Star Bar continues as a spiffed up waterside club or ramshackle dive bar, one thing will always be the same. Star himself will be behind the bar serving drinks, telling jokes and making everyone feel like family. Be sure to pay him a visit.
Thanks Star! See you again soon, buddy.
Photos courtesy of Shawn Martin and Ryan VanDenabeele.