Is Rick’s Cafe Negril worth your visit? Enjoy our review and guide of the world-famous cliffside bar.
Negril gained its title of “Capital of Casual” in the early 1970s, as a result of its laidback, friendly and carefree vibe. Fast-forward approximately 40 years later, the friendly, carefree vibe still lingers.
Once you discover Negril, you will become familiar with its white sandy beaches as well as the spectacular sunset view from the cliffs.
Rick’s Cafe is the most popular bar and restaurant on the west side of town. Opened in 1974 by proprietor Richard “Rick” Hershman, the bar is perch on a cliff approximately 35-40 feet tall.
The height of the cliff gives the perfect vantage point to bask in the best sunset view in Jamaica.
Even though Rick’s Cafe is a world-famous bar, unquestionably it’s more known for its spectacular sunset and heart-throbbing cliff jumping. If you already experienced Floyd’s Pelican Bar, you might want to add cliff jumping to your bucket list.
At the end of the day, whether you think its a tourist trap or rate it five stars for an overwhelming experience. Here is a step-by-step Rick’s Cafe Negril guide on all you need to know BEFORE you go.
HISTORY OF RICK’S CAFE NEGRIL
Rick’s was the very first public bar and restaurant opened on the West End cliffs. Founded in 1974 by Richard Hershman, while Negril was a small, quiet fishing village.
Hershman built the bar and restaurant after purchasing the property from a local doctor, who was also the son of Jamaica’s current Governor-General.
However, only locals and very few visitors were head-over-heels for the seven-mile beach town back then.
During this period there were only a handful of establishments in the town. Furthermore, only a few had running water, telephone, and electricity. Regardless of modern amenities, word spread worldwide of Negril’s beautiful white sandy beaches.
The town eventually became a tropical getaway for flower children of the 1980s. During the growth of Negril, the bar also blossomed into a hotspot of the west.
HURRICANE DESTROYED RICK’S CAFE
In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert hit Jamaica and destroyed Rick’s Cafe. The hurricane produced 25-feet tall waves that reached the top of the cliff, thus destroying the building.
Reconstruction began shortly afterward, however, that wasn’t the end. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan did a demolition job on the building with 80 feet high waves. Thereafter, Rick’s Cafe was rebuilt bigger and even better.
HOW TO GET TO RICK’S CAFE NEGRIL?
Rick’s Cafe Lat/Long: 18.254296, -78.363504
Firstly, Rick’s Cafe is located on West End Road, Negril. You may also hear locals refer to West End Road as One Love Drive, it’s the same place don’t be confused.
Taxis and Tours are readily available to and from Rick’s Cafe daily. Many resorts and hotels offer a daily shuttle, or simply reserve a private tour operator to take you there and back.
A private JUTA or JCAL licensed taxi normally charges approximately $10 – $20USD per person (9-18 EUR) to the bar from within Negril. Better yet, ask your hotel front desk to reserve a ride for you there. We recommend calling George of Shorty Private Tours at 1(876) 372-3360.
- Rick’s Cafe Opening Hours: Sun to Saturday – 12 pm to 1 pm.
- Bar’s Number: 1876-957-0380
HOW FAR IS RICK’S CAFE FROM:
It’s only a 5 to 10 minutes walk if you stay at a nearby resort. On the other hand, it takes 10-20 minutes to drive from Norman Manley Blvd in Negril. Montego Bay, Hanover, and Ocho Rios may differ.
- Negril (Orange Bay): 15 to 20 minutes (10.9km)
- Montego Bay: 1hr & 32 minutes (82.5km)
- Lucea, Hanover: 45 minutes (44.2km)
- Falmouth Cruise Port: 2 hr & 16 minutes (114km)
- South Coast, Sandals South Coast: 1hr & 4 minutes (56.8km)
- Ocho Rios: 3hr & 13 minutes (180km)
CLIFF JUMPING AT RICK’S CAFE
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll notice that patrons of the restaurant and bar come in all ages, genders, and sizes. If you arrive early enough, you’ll also get the chance to watch Rick’s Cafe cliff divers putting on a show.
If you are an adrenaline junkie, you are definitely going to want to experience the cliff jumping. It may look fun, Please Note, it is dangerous and you are doing so at your own risk.
There’s a make-shift diving platform made in a tree, above the cliff, about 80-feet tall. This is where the professionals’ jump, just watching the video of the divers doing so, is a nail biter.
We would recommend trying the lowest diving/jumping platforms, which is about 8 feet and work your way up. No one from our group never went above the 20 feet diving platform.
All of us local writers definitely recommend jumping from the platform you are most comfortable with. We have been visiting Rick’s for over 20 years and have witnessed terrible nerve rocking injuries happened to jumpers. Be careful while jumping.
THE SUNSET AT RICK’S CAFE
“Worth and evening“, “total tourist trap but worth your time“, these are some of the reviews of recent visitors. Regardless of the mixed reviews online, the beautiful sunset and sightseeing at Rick’s Cafe always get top-rated reviews.
In order to experience the full Rick’s Cafe sunset view, you’ll need to get there early. We recommend getting there around 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Arriving during this time will allow time for parking (if driving), grabbing a few beers/drinks before the magnificent sunset.
There will be plenty of available stools by the bar and tables on the patio. Occupy a nice section for you and your crew. The massive tour buses start arriving at about 4 pm, so secure your spot and drinks early before the rush.
THE FOOD AND SERVICE AT RICK’S REVIEW
“The coolest bar in Negril“, hands down. Nevertheless, the food menu choices at Rick’s Cafe are “disappointing” and extremely “overpriced“.
The kitchen doesn’t serve any of the Jamaican favorites; such as Curry Chicken, Brown Stew, Ackee and Saltfish, Rice and Peas, or Curry Goat. Instead, you can get an overpriced Burger, Jerk Chicken Kabobs, Rasta Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp, and Filet Mignon.
We might be overstepping when we say “overpriced”, as these are average American prices. However, when compared to local restaurants, the prices are way over-the-top. For instance, three cocktail beef patty at rick’s cost $10USD while at a local restaurant it’s only $5USD.
In terms of Service, waiters and staff are pretty friendly, however, getting your food or drinks might take some time.
A gratuity is mandatory on your bill, hence, the reason staff might not be so prompt since they aren’t getting cash tips. On any given afternoon, the establishment accommodates a few hundred customers, so we’ll give the staff a pass.
Rick’s Cafe Menu and Prices:
Prices last-updated: February 15, 2020
Rick’s Cafe – Starters
- Chicken Wings – $12USD
- Shrimp – $12USD
- Peppered Shrimp – $12USD
- Jerk Chicken Kabobs – $12USD
- Jamaican Cocktail Beef Patties – $10USD
- Stamp ‘N’ Go – $10USD
Rick’s Cafe – Entrees
(All entrees are served with fresh garden vegetables and your choice of one side. Sides: Mashed Potatoes, Rice ‘N’ Peas or Seasoned Fries.)
- Surf ‘N’ Turf – $MKT*
- Rick’s Broiled Caribbean Lobster – $MKT*
- Blackened Mahi Mahi Fillet – $25USD
- Escovitch Red Snapper – $22USD
- Island Jerk Chicken – $20USD
- Steamed Snapper and Shrimp – $27
- Filet Mignon – $29
- Grilled Vegetable Medley – $18
Rick’s Cafe – Salads
- Tropical Fruit Salad – $15USD
- Caesar Salad – $16USD
Rick’s Cafe – Pasta Dishes
- Caribbean Lobster Linguine – $MKT*
- Chicken Penne Alfredo – $20
- Rick’s Own Rasta Pasta – $18
Rick’s Cafe – Jamaican Desserts
- Traditional Jamaican Rum Cake – $8USD
- Banana Bread – $8USD
- Sweet Potato Pudding – $8USD
Rick’s Cafe Specialty Mix Drinks (Alcohol)
- For Her: Sex with Rick: $8USD ($800 Jamaican)
- For Him: Front End Lifter a.k.a Jamaican Viagra – $8USD ($800 Jamaican)
- World Famous Rum Punch: $6USD ($600 Jamaican)
- Cliffside Cooler: $7USD ($700 Jamaican)
- Jamaican Me Crazy: $8USD ($800 Jamaican)
- Shark Bite: $8USD ($800 Jamaican)
- Frozen Rum Runner: $8USD ($800 Jamaican)
LIVE REGGAE BAND AT SUNSET
In addition to fun, food, and sunset, Rick’s Cafe also has a live reggae band. Live performances begin as soon as the sunset is most noticeable.
Enjoy Rick’s World Famous Rum Punch, while the band covers timeless reggae hits from Bob Marley, Toots, UB40, etc.
While the cafe’s food is debatable, there’s no doubt that Rick’s Cafe reggae band knows crowd favorites.
WHAT TO BRING ALONG?
Here are a few tips on what to bring along to make your visit the best possible.
- CAMERA OR SMARTPHONE:
- It’s one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll experience. You will definitely need to take pictures.
- You might change your mind about jumping once you’re there, for this reason, take a swimsuit.
- A towel will come in handy if you decide to jump/swim.
- WATER SHOES:
- After exiting the water you’ll be walking on a stone structure. You definitely don’t want to do it bare feet, get one from Amazon.
- Bring plenty of spare change. You might be here for a few hours and the price of drinks adds up fast.
RICK’S SUNSET CATAMARAN CRUISE
There’s a second option, you can enjoy the Negril sunset on a three-hour catamaran cruise. Undoubtedly, enjoying the sunset from the cliff gives an awesome view.
However, enjoying a catamaran cruise along the coast sounds just as awesome. Board the vessel at Margaritaville Negril for an afternoon of party fun on the catamaran, then dock at Rick’s Cafe to enjoy the sunset.
Catamaran Sunset Cruise Key Details:
- Starting Point Options: Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay Beach, Bloody Bay, Montego Bay, Negril
- Duration: 3hr – 30 minutes
- Hotel Pickup: Pickup and dropoff available from Negril
- Snorkeling: Snorkeling gear are provided during the cruise
- Bar: Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase onboard.
POINT OF INTERESTS NEARBY
The West End road area is the more rustic side of Negril. Many visitors on a budget choose to spend their vacation in the West End since it’s also more affordable than the Beach Road.
While accommodations are more inexpensive, there’s not a lot of things to do. Here’s a list of suggested points of interest while vacationing in West End Negril.
- Negril Lighthouse: Located within walking distance of Rick’s Cafe. It was built-in 1894 by the French company Barber & Bernard. It is one of the earliest concrete lighthouses on the Island.
- Negril Craft Village: Flea market (swap meet) setting where local artist and artisans peddle their work. We recommend getting a guide if you decide to suppose to the local economy.
In conclusion, whether you are here for the drinking, the jumping, sunset, or party, Rick’s Cafe is worth the visit while you are in Jamaica.