Richard Ligon wrote in his A True and Exact History of Barbadoes (first published in 1657)
….which they called Auftins Bay, not in commemoration of any Saint, but of a wild mad drunken fellow, whofe lewd and extravagant carriage made him infamous in the island; and his Plantation standing near this Bay, it was called by his name.
On January 11th 1652 The Charter of Barbados was signed in Oistins at The Mermaid Tavern. This charter peacefully ended the threat of invasion by forces loyal to Cromwell when Barbados was supporting the Royalists.
Leonard Shorey wrote
The Treaty was indeed quite remarkable, for it actually guaranteed that “no taxes, customs, imports or excise shall be laid, nor levy made on any of the inhabitants of this island without their consent in a General Assembly”. This provision thus predated by more than 120 years the same important provision later adopted by the American colonies when they themselves revolted against the English Crown.
I have no doubt that after the peace accord was signed everyone had some drinks. Why else would they have chosen a tavern for the negotiations? Sadly, the exact location of this tavern is not known.
Today Oistins is one of the islands major fishing ports. It has a good jetty and modern fish storage and selling areas. It is also a place for locals and visitors to enjoy good food in a relaxed and cool outdoor setting.
Friday nights are packed with visitors. The tourists arrive in droves and sit together at long tables. If you want to enjoy the Oistins experience I suggest that you visit Oistins twice. Once for lunch any day of the week.
On Friday or Saturday night you can mingle with the crowd. Buy a drink from one of the many bars and walk around. There is usually live entertainment. For those that enjoy ballroom dancing visit Lexies. Some vendors sell locally made arts and crafts. This is one of the few places where you do not have to buy “Made in China” souvenirs.
A popular lunch stop with Bajans is Annies BBQ & Grill – where locals go for lunch, dinner and a drink. The fish is cooked when you order. Some of the local foods are Fish, Chicken, Breadfruit, Yam, Sweet Potatoes, and Cassava etc. Ask for the special of the day.
While you wait you can enjoy a cold Beer or one of the local rums.
Men play cards, draughts and dominoes under the trees. If you wish, you can share your table and have a conversation with retired fishermen. A world famous cricketer may also drop in.
Annie’s caters to locals, but visitors are always welcome. Children will be entertained by the chickens as they strut around the picnic tables under the tree. This is a good place to relax after a hectic day sightseeing.
You can click on the thumbnail images below to see a larger image with captions.