Parrot Heads unite, Margaritaville coming

Entertainer Jimmy Buffett’s themed entertainment restaurant and merchandise chain, Margaritaville, will open on Grand Cayman next year.

Margaritaville Cayman Islands will be in the soon-to-be remodelled Anchorage Centre in central George Town and will take up more than 15,000 square feet of space.

Buffett will come to Cayman to perform at the new location, which has a target date for opening of 1 May, 2006.

Features of the Margaritaville here include a water slide into an upstairs swimming pool, a swim-up pool bar and spas.

‘Margaritaville is a high-energy bar, restaurant, nightclub, water sports emporium,’ said Brian Jardim, managing director of Margaritaville operations in the Caribbean. ‘It offers a multi-layered entertainment experience.’

Mr. Jardim said patrons tend to spend several hours in Margaritaville and that shopping is often part of the visit.

‘Margaritaville merchandise is very strong and a big component of what we do,’ he said.

A specific logo has been designed for Margaritaville Cayman Islands that features a parrot with a pirate hat, bandana and eye patch.

The logo will not be the only aspect of Cayman culture infused into the Margaritaville here.

‘We try to adopt features of the area where we are to give it the flavour of the local experience,’ Mr. Jardim said.

That local flair includes food, although Margaritaville will also carry the signature dishes it is known for elsewhere.

‘We’ll certainly have Jimmy Buffett’s cheeseburger in paradise on the menu,’ he said. ‘The food is terrific.’

As far as drinks, Margaritaville earns its name by offering 52 different tropical flavours of margaritas.

‘There’s one for every week of the year,’ said Mr. Jardim.

With its harbour front location, Margaritaville will certainly be popular with tourists, but Mr. Jardim said it will also cater to residents.

‘It is absolutely a destination in itself, but we are very serious about the local market,’ he said. ‘Locals are a huge part of what we do, and we want to make sure they feel very welcome.’

Most of the establishment will be on the upper level, but the retail element will also have a presence on the ground floor.

The water slide will make its way down from the tower part of the structure and a clear section of the slide will travel over part of the inside bar area, Mr. Jardim said.

Architect John Doak of Cayman Style said the Anchorage Centre will be entirely transformed.

‘It will be quite unrecognisable from what is there presently,’ he said. ‘People are amazed when they see the drawings because they can’t see where the original building used to be.’

Mr. Doak said the design of Margaritaville draws heavily on Cayman’s nautical maritime traditions.

‘It’s very Caribbean, very Jimmy Buffett, and very relaxed,’ he said.

Balconies and terraces will overlook the harbour and the Anchorage Centre courtyard, which will be heavily landscaped, Mr. Doak said.

‘There will be a whole new atmosphere around the courtyard.’

The facility will accommodated between 400 and 450 people, but the facility’s layout will allow for a lot of flexibility, Mr. Doak said.

‘It’s designed to entertain different sized groups and individuals,’ he said.

Margaritaville will feature an intimate nightclub with a top-of-the-line sound and lighting system, and in another section, one of the largest bars in Cayman.

‘Every corner in the place has a special atmosphere,’ Mr. Doak said.

Mr. Jardim said Margaritaville’s general manager has already been selected from Cayman and is being trained in Jamaica and the United States.

The establishment will require an estimated 125 staff members, Mr. Jardim said.

Other Margaritaville cafes locations include Key West, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando and Myrtle Beach in the United States. There are also four locations in Jamaica and one in Cancun.

Another location in Grand Turk is also scheduled to open within the next year.

Mr. Buffett will make an appearance and perform at Margaritaville Cayman, although perhaps not for the opening.

‘He brings his beach band, which has six to eight members,’ Mr. Jardim said.

In a released statement, Mr. Buffett said he was excited about coming to the Cayman Islands.

‘As the imaginary world of Margaritaville becomes reality across more of the Caribbean it particularly gives me a great deal of pleasure to showcase the culture and work directly with the local people of the islands that have had such a huge effect on my life and career,’ he said.

‘Besides it’s a good excuse to do a little more bone fishing in the Caymans.”

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