The original restaurant built on this site was named Billy Bones. It was opened in 1996 by Valerie and David Sims and named in honour of the character in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island.
In early April 1999, Dr. Henry Jarecki and his wife Gloria bought the island, and in 2002, renamed the restaurant "Pirates Bight". In late 2012, the restaurant underwent an extensive renovation and was reopened on December 9, 2012.
Sadly, in the early morning hours of October 1, 2013, less than a year after the renovations, the restaurant burned to the ground just as the tourist season was about to get underway. Apparently rats ate through the wiring, triggering the fire.
Undeterred by this major setback, Dr. Jarecki quickly had a temporary wooden building erected and had the restaurant back up and running by November 11th, less than 6 weeks after the fire. As it turns out, that temporary building was too nice to tear down. In January 2016, it was dubbed "The Club" and opened as a companion restaurant serving marvelous Mediterranean tapas.
By April 11, 2014, the all new and much improved Pirates Bight was completed and reopened just in time for the BVI Spring Regatta.
During construction and while digging the foundation to pour the cement slab for the new restaurant, operations manager, Tom Warner, hit something unexpectedly hard. It was a massive cannon (British I believe) with concretions covering about 1/2 of the circumference of the cannon starting at the breech and almost up to the trunnion. It was buried about 6' down in the sand. There's a great story there somewhere and I'd love to know where the cannon came from.
As you enter the restaurant from the dock, there's a lovely lounge area where, on busy nights, one can relax with a cold libation while waiting for your table.
Although the restaurant seats upwards of 150 people and has a long, double-sided bar, it can get very busy in high season, so dinner reservations are recommended.
Your view of The Bight from almost anywhere in the restaurant is wonderful ... but the front row seats bordering the beach are pretty special. The decor is simple, yet upscale with lovely teak tables, faux wicker chairs, travertine tile floor on the lower deck and faux hardwood ceramic tiles in the main restaurant.
Drop ceiling fans and a cleverly designed stepped A-frame roof appears to employ a venturi effect by utilizing the trade winds to draw out hot air through the roof vents. This all helps to keep the restaurant cool, even on blisteringly hot days. I found it very comfortable inside the restaurant, even at high noon. Of course, I live on Tortola, so perhaps I am accustomed to the heat. Even so, I haven't heard anyone complain about the temperature inside the restaurant.
The kitchen is huge and the main cooking area is equipped with all the state-of-the-art stainless steel countertops and appliances, separate food prep area, a very large walk-in freezer and matching walk-in fridge. No expense was spared when this place was built! The food is fresh well prepared, tasty and although a little pricey, I think the servings are quite generous. The meals I've had were thoroughly enjoyable. Chef Patrick Williams is to be congratulated. Oh, one more thing, if you are a nacho fan (I never used to be) ... you have got to try Patrick's nachos. They are outstanding!
View their menus here
I was more than a little surprised to see the flat screen TV on the back wall behind the bar. I guess sports fans just can't miss a game regardless of the fact that they are on an uninhabited island while sailing around the Caribbean Sea. Go figure!
Rupert Starkey, your friendly restaurant manager seems to always be smiling. Rupert was born in Tortola, is hard working and knows how to show someone a good time. He clearly enjoys seeing his customers have fun and it's not hard to tell he enjoys his job.
While the beach may not be quite as white or the sand as deep as you'll find at other locations throughout the BVI, I actually quite like it here because it is so much easier to walk on. It's well maintained, the egress into the water is shallow and perfect for small children or older folks with mobility problems. There's lots of fish around, so grab your mask and snorkel and stick your head in the water!
If you venture around to the back of the restaurant, you'll find a full-size beach volleyball court. I know, right? Who would've thunk it? Yet there it is in all its glory and you are welcome to use it should the mood and energy level strike. There are several shade trees around and I guarantee you'll be glad they are there if you plan to play. There's lots of bottled water available at the bar. You'll need it!
They may not have the obligatory ring and hook game that so many other BVI beach bars seem to have ... but kids and adults alike appear to love the giant Jenga game. I watched as two little girls played for ages. They were surprisingly good at it too!
Just left of the lounge area in the restaurant is the gift shop offering their own name brand and other beach wear. They need a little more inventory, such as light weight shorts for men and ladies, but I'm sure that will come at some point.
I always enjoy visiting Norman Island and I quite like Pirates Bight. Give me a Coors Light, some nachos, a good book, and a nice lounge chair in the shade ... and you won't hear a peep out of me for the rest of the day. In fact, there are very few places on Earth I would rather be!
My family and I really, really enjoy Norman Island! Thank you, Doctor and Mrs. Jarecki for keeping this magical place accessible to one and all. I've never met either of you, but your very kind generosity is greatly appreciated! I dread the day that the average Joe won't be permitted access to enjoy a nice meal, relax, soak up the atmosphere and have a little fun on this amazing island! I hope that day never comes.