I’m a city girl with a love for the country and thankfully in Jamaica, the country is never too far away. A short drive of fifteen minutes can land you in lush peaceful 360° greenery, seemingly far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Every time I visit the country and admire the slow laid-back pace of life, I can’t help but think that this is how we were meant to live. I’m happy to report that I’ve found a new chill spot near the capital city of Kingston, Jamaica for us nature-lovers to unwind and reset. Kingston Reggae Garden is a bar and oasis in Golden Spring, St. Andrew which opened in May 2021.
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Surprisingly easy to find, the entrance to Kingston Reggae Garden is visible from the main road after passing through the Golden Spring town centre. They are located about 20 minutes away from Manor Park, and you’ll find it on the right side of the road driving from this direction. Look out for the bright red gate and sign pictured above. They’re located on Google Maps too which is helpful.
Kingston Reggae Garden is possibly the only Jamaican bar with river access! The bar serves ice-cold beers and soft drinks to offset the sweltering Jamaican heat while the restaurant serves a delicious soup of the day, jerk chicken, jerk pork and sides such as festivals (a fried Jamaican dough), salad and rice and peas. The bar is open Tuesdays to Sundays, while the restaurant is only open on Fridays to Sundays at the moment with plans on expanding the kitchen days soon. Opening hours are from 3pm until the last guests leave, but they open at noon on the days where the kitchen is open. There’s a parking lot which can accommodate about twenty cars. Please note that they are closed on Mondays.
Currently, there is no admission fee to enter the premises but the bar must be supported. After all, that’s how they maintain their lovely property so no outside food & drink is allowed. Also, Kingston Reggae Garden has spacious lawns for hosting events. Just recently they hosted a small art exhibition which I’m sorry I missed! The garden is also perfect for photo shoots, but speak with the management beforehand. Don’t be surprised if you run into local celebrities while here too, such as dancehall recording artiste Chi-Chi-Ching.
What to Expect At Kingston’s Newest Chill Spot
Let’s start off with great customer service. You’ll likely find the owners at the bar and I noticed how they greeted everyone warmly, whether returning guests or newcomers like my partner and I. We started off the sunny afternoon with beers, and I was impressed at the numerous cozy seating options. There were armchairs arranged in a circle around a table– perfect for a small group, as well as a hammock, porch swing and several bar tables and stools. The entertainment? A Jamaican game of dominoes or Ludo, or perhaps just quiet conversation with family and friends.
Soothing reggae classics permeate the air from their tastefully decorated speakers. I love the idea that it’s non-stop reggae all day long! This keeps the garden family-friendly and the atmosphere cool and peaceful. Reggae’s raunchier cousin of dancehall doesn’t quite appeal to all ages and backgrounds.
Jamaican red peas soup with kidney beans, carrots, ground provisions and beef was the soup du jour when I visited. It was delicious, creamy and filling! Their smallest soup cup is one which Jamaicans typically call a medium cup (12oz). The chef joked that they couldn’t keep up with how often people would come back for seconds and thirds after purchasing the tiny 8-oz cup, and after a few sips I could see why. Nonetheless, after the hearty soup we made space for a jerk chicken lunch with festivals and tossed salad. The prices were pretty affordable too– nothing to break the bank. Beers and food for two totaled under JM$3,000.
The grounds are lush, green and lovingly tended. There are bamboo steps on the far end of the property which lead to the river, likely a tributary of the Wag Water River which starts in St. Mary. The river was not much more than a stream during my visit but swells with heavy rainfall. Nonetheless, there was still a tiny cascade and pool in which to cool off but the water was extremely cold. Instead, I opted to just get my feet wet and admire the natural beauty and soothing babble of the river. I’d spend every day next to a river or beach if I could. There’s something about the way in which the river keeps flowing, or the waves of the ocean constantly ebb and flow regardless of what’s happening in the world which is intensely comforting.
Doesn’t Kingston Reggae Garden sound like your type of place? Let me know in the comments. A bar with a river is a very unique concept. I expect they’ll continue to grow popular with the Kingston crowd that is always searching for chill spots close to the city. Buy the food and drinks, then enjoy the river. Please don’t litter!
Lastly, please support my debut book called ‘SIGHTSEE JAMAICA’ which launches on January 23. It is now available in eBook format worldwide for pre-ordering on Amazon so do check that out. I’m still working on making it available in print. I ordered and am waiting on my author copies to arrive in Jamaica. Once they pass my quality check then I’ll make them available for sale online. In the mean time, grab a soft copy and let’s have an adventurous 2022!
‘Til next time.
Other Kingston chill spots:
- Maammee River near Gordon Town
- Penfield Falls in Gordon Town
- Cane River Falls in Nine Miles, Bull Bay
- Falling Edge Falls in Stony Hill
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