A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to sample IWAS At The Bar’s recently launched menu and specials and sit down with owner and vibe connoisseur, Mirabelle West. ‘WAP’ cocktail in hand, sushi sticks in the other, we chatted about how IWAS At The Bar has quickly become the go to nightspot in Anguilla, what inspired her to open the lounge/nightclub and what’s next for IWAS At The Bar.
As the Country Manager of International Wine & Spirits Ltd., a locally based beverage, wine and spirits distributor since 2016 and the Owner of Island Wine & Spirits Ltd., a procurement, retail and wholesale operation since 2019, it is fair to assume that this played a role in Mirabelle’s decision to open IWAS At The Bar. However, the idea to open her own lounge/nightclub was borne in Mirabelle’s mind long before IWAS became a reality in 2016. In fact, from her college days, having worked in events and promotions and various jobs in clubs in the UK, Mirabelle knew she wanted to own and operate a lounge/nightclub in Anguilla. It was the vibe for her! While Anguilla has a plethora of amazing beach bars, she felt that what was missing from the island’s nightlife was a club scene with an international energy, and in July 2020, she created just that, launching IWAS At The Bar.
An Eco Friendly Décor Meets An Urban Aesthetic
Inspired by Mirabelle’s love for the Wynwood Art District in Miami, known for its eclectic mix of art, culture, food and innovation, IWAS At The Bar offers a similar vibe with a Caribbean finesse.
Bold and colourful graffiti and street art murals serve as the backdrop for a very instagrammable experience. The graffiti banners were recycled from the Summer Jumpstart Fete held in 2019 which featured iconic Caribbean artists such as Tanya Stephens, Kes the Band, Onyan & 3 Cylinder and our very own, XHD.
Like the murals, the décor for the main lounge area features several reused and recycled items including a bar made from pallet boards and oil drums and cable wheels which serve as cocktail tables. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal was to use as much recyclable materials as possible as it is not only cost effective but also sustainable.
A Travelling Menu Meets Provocative Cocktails
For those of us missing the culinary delights that come along with travelling, IWAS At The Bar provides a satisfying savoury escape courtesy their partner restaurant, Ethnik Club Cuisine. Owned and operated by Kelston Connor aka Chef Sweets and his business partner Tracy Swaby, Ethnik Club Cuisine offers a tasty selection of asian/caribbean inspired tapas including sliders, crispy wings, fritters and spring rolls. Weekly specials are also available and vary from month to month.
My favourite dish I sampled was the Sushi Saturday Dragon Roll. It was so good, I had to get it twice! Chef Sweets himself, recommends his signature dish, the Taiwanese bao bun sliders as a must try! Typically, steamed bao buns are stark white, however Chef Sweets adds carrots to his buns to give them colour and more flavour because as he puts it, ‘Locals don’t like white bread!’ The buns are created from scratch with lots of love and sprinkled with black sesame seeds on the top for a unique aesthetic.
One of the newest additions to the menu is the Sweet Tooth Samper featuring three tasty desserts – IWAS 50 Shades of Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream, Thai Coconut Cassava Pudding and Caribbean Passion Fruit Macaron.
The kitchen is open from 6pm until late.
Of course, I could not visit the Bar and not have a cocktail…or two. From the ‘WAP’ to the ‘Perky Nipple’, one thing is for sure, there’s nothing shy about the cocktails at IWAS At The Bar!
Street Style Meets Bad & Bougie
With every new night spot comes the age-old question, ‘What Do I Wear?!” The good news is there is no particular dress code for IWAS At The Bar. The club aesthetic is one that allows you to fit in well, no matter whether you’re wearing jeans and a nice top or a party dress and heels. Ultimately, you should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident and will help you to have a good night out!
Still not sure? Here’s some ‘What I Would Wear’ style inspiration from myself, Mirabelle and my sushi date and very stylish friend, Ojeda.
Ojeda’s ‘Style Take
‘Finally, somewhere I can dress up and enjoy my clothes! At this trendy new club, I love to mix it up, from jeans, a cute top and heels for ‘Sugarcoated’ Sundays; a sexy dress and heels for Ladies night; or shorts, a long sleeve top and heels for ‘Flex with Me’ Fridays. Everyone can show their individual style! Heels may be my preference, but at IWAS At The Bar you can wear sandals or sneakers or whatever you are comfortable in to have a good time. I love to take outfit photos against the funky backdrops around the club. Since the club has opened, everyone has been dressing up, showing up, and having a good time!’
Mirabelle’s Style Take
‘I must say, owning a club has made me dig deep and there are no episodes of Power which can inspire me enough. On a regular, I’m a jeans, flats and a nice top type of person. However, I have been known to go all out with the glam from time to time. It’s a chill spot and I want people to be comfortable but still inspired to dress up. The earlier crowd is very relaxed whereas the late night crowd is all about that snapchat/instagram life. Birthdays or special celebrations are occasions where persons go all out and dress to impress!‘
Sherise’s Style Take
‘I have been loving wearing black for my nights out at IWAS At The Bar. While my closet is filled with black pieces, it’s not actually a colour I wear very often as most of my liming usually takes place in the daytime or near a beach. I tend to prefer to wear bright, fun colours and prints for those occasions because no one is trying to die from this heat in black. While I love a good beach bar, sometimes a girl wants more of a modern, cool, city vibe and IWAS At The Bar offers just that! Black makes me feel sexy, confident and chic and for a club night out, that’s the exact vibe I’m going for!’
Currently, IWAS at the Bar opens weekly from Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm for cocktails, tapas and chill/lounge vibes, with a different DJ headlining every night from 10pm. VIP rooms with bottle service and private staff are also available. Although it has only been 3 months since its inception, IWAS at the Bar epitomises a meeting of creative minds with inventive collaborations such as YHNG The Digital Experience and Daryl’s Body Art Wuk up and Stroke.
Upcoming events include Jazz Nights featuring Kyiv and Kamal starting on Thursday October 29th from 7pm – 8:30pm. Brunch is also coming soon and I cannot be more excited! What to expect from IWAS At The Bar in the upcoming months? More collaborations, more creativity and more trendsetting! Meet you at the Bar!
To stay up to date with all the happenings at IWAS At The BAR, be sure to follow their Facebook page @IWASATTHEBAR .