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Updated: May 29


Bar And Restaurant At Maho Beach In Sint Maarten With Tables In The Sand In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Sandbar SXM at Maho Beach


This is one of the greatest beach bars we’ve ever found, with its own small private beach where you can enjoy affordable drinks and local pub food while watching planes coming in for landing at the airport next door!


CONTENTS



Where is Sandbar SXM?

Sandbar is located on the southern side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which is a territory of the Netherlands called Sint Maarten. The northern side of the island is a French territory of the same name, but spelled in the way the island is: Saint Martin. On the southwestern side in Sint Maarten, you’ll find a very popular beach called Maho Beach, which is somewhat internet famous for its close proximity to the Princess Juliana International Airport. The airport’s runway butts up against a narrow, two-lane road that runs adjacent to Maho Beach, so the planes coming in for landing fly over the beach at such a low altitude that you sometimes feel like you should duck!


The physical address for Sandbar SXM is: 2b, 2 Beacon Hill Road, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten. It is just south of Maho Beach.



How to Get to Sandbar at Maho Beach

Sint Maarten technically does have a public transportation system, but it’s not fully set up in a way that makes it dependable. The buses are all actually vans, and they will have ‘bus’ on their license plate so you’ll know not to get into a random van. There are end destinations for each van that will be displayed in the front window (like ‘Maho’ for Maho Beach), but there are no set routes or stops. There are some new fixed stops being installed throughout the island, but details are sketchy. Hopefully in the coming years, this system will be developed more, but for now, if you’re visiting the island on a cruise ship (and therefore under strict time restrictions), I would not risk trying to take public transit and would stick with a taxi instead.


If you’re visiting St. Maarten on a cruise, there will be a line of taxi vans waiting at a roundabout when you disembark in Philipsburg and attendants will sort you into the proper destinations. If your party is small, they may put you in a van with other travelers going to the same destination. Make sure you confirm the price before you get into the taxi, as they are not metered and there aren’t many standard rates set on the island either. For reference, a taxi from the airport to Philipsburg should cost around $10 per person, and since Sandbar at Maho Beach is right next to the airport, that’s a good place to start.



Keep in mind when you are haggling for a taxi that the larger the group you have, the better deal you can get per person. Taxis run on cash only and most only accept US dollars, despite that not being the island’s “official” currency. Our driver was very friendly and took care of us the whole day, first taking us from the cruise port to our ziplining tour with Rainforest Adventures, then he came back to pick us up and bring us to Sandbar at Maho Beach, where he hung out and waited a short while for us to take us back to the cruise port, without charging us for the wait time. The whole day was a really good experience!


Best Bar At Maho Beach Sandbar SXM Review Colorful Tables In The Sand In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Reservations at Sandbar SXM

There are no reservations at Sandbar, but the place was practically empty when we went, despite there being a bunch of tourists at Maho Beach. They’re open from 11am - midnight Tuesday - Sunday with live music every night, but they are closed on Mondays.



Sandbar SXM Menu

Sandbar SXM has fairly standard Caribbean island pub fare, with appetizers like popcorn shrimp, coconut shrimp, and calamari. To shake things up (and we assume also to cater to the American tourists), they also added on baby back ribs, chips and salsa, and chicken wings. Apps will set you back anywhere from $9 - $12.


The “Flying Dutchman” section of the menu contains a few Dutch food options, which we thought was fantastic since this side of the island is a Dutch territory. It includes bitterballen: a breaded and fried stew ball; kroket: a breaded and fried log of mashed potatoes; and frikandel: a fine mince sausage that is, yes, you guessed it, deep-fried. The good news is that if you want to try some of these local foods, they only cost $6 each.


The sandwich menu has a selection of burgers in several proteins, including multiple beef burgers as well as chicken, mahi mahi, tuna, and Impossible meat. They also offer a simple hot dog and three tempura-based sandwiches, made from red snapper, shrimp, or lobster. All sandwiches come with fries and range from $15 - $21.


Beach Bar And Restaurant With Live Lobster Tank At Maho Beach Sint Maarten In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

You can get tacos for $3 - $4 each, with the choices of veggie, shrimp, chicken, fish, or steak, and other mains include a Caesar salad, pasta, fish & chips, tuna tartar, and a number of grilled fish. You even have the option to pick a lobster out of their lobster tank to be grilled, because the tank is right behind the trailer that houses the kitchen; you’ll walk right past it to go sit down. Expect to pay $16 - $22 for most of those mains.


If you want to skip all the fried pub food, Sandbar also has a respectable sushi menu, with most nigiri costs at $6, a basic California roll at $9, and some fancier rolls up to $20.



The drinks are definitely affordable at Sanbar SXM, with beers at $4, wines by the glass at $6, cocktails at $8, and frozen cocktails for $9. And if you’re there for happy hour, which is 4-7pm every day except Mondays, then beers are only $2, mixed drinks are only $3, and frozen cocktails are only $6! I want to go stay in St. Maarten for a week just to come hang out here for happy hour!


Sandbar accepts credit cards, but there is a $20 minimum. With how good the food is here and how affordable the drinks are, you shouldn’t have a problem getting there.


Sandbar SXM Review Maho Beach Bar And Restaurant Local Food Truck In Sint Maarten In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Our Experience

We were very excited to get to Sint Maarten, knowing we were going to take the steepest zipline in the world on what would be Phoebe’s last day in her 20’s (her 30th birthday was the very next day). We were also very excited to go to Maho Beach to see the planes fly extremely low over you to land in the airport on the other side of the road. A couple of our friends spent the majority of the day at Maho Beach instead of ziplining with us and had a really good time! By the time we got there, we were hot and sweaty from the ziplining tour and ready to get out of the sun.


As we drove along Maho Beach, we could see that it was FULL of tourists, but our taxi driver said it wasn’t too bad that day. I wouldn’t want to see what it looks like on a busy day, that’s for sure! From Phoebe’s research before the trip, we knew that the restaurant/bar right on the beach would be super busy, and it seemed too touristy with a super generic menu, so we went a little further down to Sandbar, which is located in the same parking lot. Sandbar is a sort of “food truck” with tables and a bar outside, which is part of a permanent structure that was built around the “truck”, nestled right up against the water. In fact, Sandbar has their own little private beach area with chairs and umbrellas to lounge in and beach games for the kids.


Maho Beach Bar Review Of Sandbar SXM In Sint Maarten Restaurants In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

We took a table in the back, in the shade, where we were still able to see the planes coming in to land and listen to the waves lap against the rocks below us. It would have been awesome to take one of the picnic tables in the sand or sit down on their private beach, but we needed the shade and didn’t have much time to spend there before we had to go back to the cruise ship. There were only a few other people in the huge space, which was crazy to us, because it was so colorful and inviting with an awesome view. It’s a shame that not many people are willing to walk a few extra feet (259 to be exact) over from the crowded beach to get here.


Seeing as how this part of the island is part of the Kingdom of Netherlands, we were excited about the ‘Flying Dutchman’ section of the menu so we could try some local food we usually wouldn’t be able to find otherwise. We’d never heard of bitterballen, so we had to try them, and we ordered a basket of them to share with our friends. They're a thickened stew that’s deep fried, so they end up feeling like hush puppies with a mushy center. They were odd, but very tasty, and we would definitely order them again!


Sandbar SXM Beach Bar At Maho Beach In Sint Maarten Frozen Drinks Mango Castaway Rum Cocktail In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

For drinks, Phoebe ordered a Mango Castaway, a frozen drink with Captain Morgan spiced rum, mango, and coconut cream. It was quite good and exactly what she wanted on such a beautiful tropical island. I wanted to order a Carib, a beer brewed in Trinidad and Tobago, but they ran out right before we could got there, so I ended up with a Presidente beer instead, brewed in the Dominican Republic.


Phoebe ordered fish tacos, which were served with guacamole, pico de gallo, and cheese on them, and they were quite good. I ordered the shrimp tempura sandwich, which came with fries and was very tasty. I almost ordered the lobster tempura but couldn’t after seeing the tank of live lobster behind the truck/kitchen. Some friends of ours ordered the coconut shrimp as an appetizer to share and they were juicy and crispy. They were some of the best coconut shrimp we’ve ever had!


Our server was very friendly and I really wish we could have stayed longer! The experience was great, especially compared to how packed the restaurant right next door was with beach-goers. The food is great, the drinks are delicious, and everything is very affordable.


Bar With Private Beach In Sint Maarten Sandbar SXM Review At Maho Beach In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Our Verdict

Even though it’s kind of a glorified food truck, Sandbar would be our choice again when visiting St. Maarten. Compared to the other options along Maho Beach, Sandbar looks more welcoming, less crowded, and feels more like a local hangout spot than the other super-touristy options in the immediate vicinity. The food is great, with a few unique local options, the drinks are affordable, and you’re still able to see the planes coming in to land at the airport next door while you lounge at the small private beach just for Sandbar guests!


Restaurant And Bar Near Airport At Maho Beach In Sint Maarten Sandbar SXM Review In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Quick Reference Guide

What

Where

How to Get There

Taxis are the best way to get around in St. Maarten, although they are not metered and there aren’t many standard rates. Negotiate the price before you get in and be friendly to your driver! Ours stayed loyal to us all day.

Time Commitment

We spent about an hour to an hour and a half having lunch here, but you could hang out here much longer to enjoy their small section of private beach!

Cost

For snacks, expect to pay around $6 - $10

For sandwiches and other entrees, expect to pay $15 - $22

For sushi, expect to pay $5 for sashimi and $9 - $20 for rolls

Beers are $4

Wines by the glass are

$6 Cocktails are $8 - $9

Payment Type

Credit cards accepted, but there is a $20 minimum

US dollars are the most common currency in St. Maarten

Reservation Info

No reservations taken, but we walked right in and it was practically empty. First-come, first-serve.

Our Verdict

A colorful beach bar with great views of the ocean and planes coming in for landings, plus a small private beach. Food is great with a few unique local options and the drinks are affordable. This is exactly what you want a Caribbean beach bar to be!


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Travel Writer Phoebe Meador For In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog


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