Hanging out on Seven Mile Beach is one of life’s little luxuries and now residents and visitors have another  reason to do so.

‘Pop-up’ venue Coral Beach officially opened on 23 Aug. with happy hour drink prices, snacks and music from
Los Tropicanos band. Judging by the crowd that attended that night, this new bar is a certified hit.

Place: Coral Beach
Location: Next to Royal Palms
Serves: Food and drink

When we went to check out Coral Beach, our first concern was where to park. Would we have to park in Royal Palms and hike the rest of it on foot over the sand? Would we have to rappel down the side of the West Bay Road tunnel then make our way through the brush until we reached civilisation?

Neither of the above, as it turned out.

The parking lot for Royal Palms reveals an entrance to the spacious Coral Beach lot which can easily  accommodate many cars or air-conditioned coaches ferrying cruise ship passengers to its ‘doors’.

It is immediately apparent that this site was specifically designed to cater to the latter in the daytime. There is a dedicated admissions window, lots of picnic tables, other fancier seating options, cabanas, and a few rows of
loungers on the sand. A line of shiny outdoor showers near the entrance/exit lead to the bathrooms and the entire property is shaded by magnificent sea grape trees.

Cayman residents do not have to pay admission, but probably the best time to try out Coral Beach is when there are no cruise ships in port or in the evening, once the vessels have departed.

The menu prices are decent, with no dish over $16. You’ll find the burgers, hot dogs and other fare you’d expect to see at a casual beach joint, but there is also a strong nod to Caribbean cuisine, including conch and saltfish fritters, jerk chicken wraps, reggae pasta, rundown and shrimp escovitch.

The signature cocktails are all under $10 and run the gamut from the Coral Colada to the Hugo Spritzer. The only exception is The Great American or Canadian. For $34, prepare to sip (and chow down on) a heady mixture of Cayman vodka, spiced tomato or clamato juice, bacon cheeseburger slider, blackened shrimp, olives, celery and a pickle, all served in a 20 ounce souvenir glass – no doubt to remind you of the day you ingested a record amount of TUMS.

When not in the mood for a cocktail, order from a choice of bubbles, wines, beers and cider. Of course, you can also err on the side of caution and stick with soft drinks.

Like any other new business, Coral Beach is doing things in phases, with plans in the coming months to introduce a dinner menu, industry night, barbecue events, live music, Caribbean breakfast on the weekends and – a Cayman tradition – brunch on Sundays.

Thanks to Mother Nature, it is already quite pleasant to hang out there with the breezes coming in off the sea and the trees providing shade, which means it’s going to be downright delightful when the temperatures start cooling in November. We can’t wait.