Journeying to Charlie’s, the Oldest Bar in Aruba

The oldest bar in Aruba still draws a big crowd almost any time it’s open, even if these days tourists tend to outnumber oil workers elbowing their way into Charlie’s Bar for a cold beer or rum drink.

Arriving on a weekday afternoon at the bar in downtown San Nicholas — traditionally an industrial town but lately attracting more visitors thanks to its vibrant arts scene — we’re momentarily stymied by a doorman blocking our entry. Too many people inside, he says, friendly but firm: seems that the local fire marshal has been laying down the law on the bar’s capacity, particularly since the pandemic.

We take the opportunity to soak up the sun and shoot some photos of the bar’s colorful exterior and the even more vibrant murals decorating many of San Nicholas’ buildings; after just a few minutes, some guests depart and we’re seated at a small table near the bar.

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