Ivan’s Stress-Free Beach Bar turns 20

Ivan Chinnery (left) celebrates in his Stress Free Bar with Captain Stanley Church of the Horizon Sail boat.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

It was an enchanting evening in the British Virgin Islands, on Feb. 13, when scores of dinghies pulled up onto the sandy beach of White Bay, on the popular island of Josh Van Dyke.

The lure of fairy lights that littered a small beach shack just beyond the aquamarine waters, led tourists to live music that emanated from Ivan’s Stress-Free bar.

This was a special occasion. It was the 20th anniversary celebration of Ivan Chinnery’s beach bar that has over the years enticed tourists with Pain Killer rum drink, mouthwatering local food and nature preserve camp grounds.

The beauty of this tropical paradise is an intoxicating experience that has kept patrons sailing here over the years to languish in Ivan’s utopia. There is a free-spirited atmosphere of no shoes required, while eating under the stars, or looking out to the vast multi-colored waters from a crochet hammock.

It all began when the legendary laid-back and gregarious Ivan left a cooler with beers alongside a small box, and a note pad. Consequently, an “honor bar” was created – patrons are asked to serve themselves, make a note of what they take, and then pay according to the price on the wall.

The popularity of Ivan’s Stress-Free style bar became an adorable sanctuary, intricately decorated with millions of seashells that line the walls and ceiling. A tree trunk showcases a heart of shells inscribed with the names Wendy and Chris. The American couple was married at Ivan’s 10 years ago, but the lenses of tourist still capture the memento everyday.

Memorabilia of flags, beach wear, Tees, and licenses plates, to name a few – from every part of the world – make this friendly spot the place to be whenever one sails the waters of the British Virgin Islands.

These are some of the warm sentiments that brought Ivan to this night of celebration.

Decked out in his colorful island shirt, the former musician, now in his golden years, seemed overwhelmed by the attention he garnered from tourists who jostled each other to be photographed with him.

It is no secret that Ivan is world renown. His wall of fame tells the story. Ivan is seen among the collage, jamming with Country superstar Kenny Chesney, in whose 2005 to 2007 Atlanta, Georgia tour he played rhythm guitar.

Chesney’s number one Hit Single – No Shirt No Shoes No Problem music video, was filmed on the sandy shores of White Bay.

The celebration brought together Ivan’s former native band mate, who rocked the shack with a variety of genres. The gathering that stretched into the wee hours of the tropical morning was topped off with delicious Caribbean fare, rum drinks, and giveaways.

Ivan’s Stress-Free bar is a reminder of how relaxed one’s life could be, especially in a place like this that rolls out the welcome mat for whoever sail these shores.

Congratulations Ivan. We wish you 20 more successful years.

Ivan’s on White Bay in the British Virgin Islands.
Photos by Tangerine Clarke
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

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