Feature Story XpBonaire IslandLife
Karel’s Beach Bar and Cappuccino Bar is located at one of the most unique and spectacular downtown locations on Bonaire. With its pier leading right into the Caribbean Sea, you can watch the cruise ships come and go while enjoying the cool breeze and the fish that surround the pier and swim in crystal clear waters. At night, you can wave goodbye to the cruise ships and let the calming sound of the waves relax you.
Karel’s Beach Bar & Cappuccino Bar is part of the Zeezicht restaurant project and has been owned by a local family, the Vissers, for four generations. Zeezicht, which means sea view in Dutch, was established in 1929 as a bar. And now it has become a restaurant, bar, and night time entertainment venue that is open 7 days a week.
The Manager of Karel’s Beach Bar is Chantal Visser (35), a fourth generation proud co-owner. Chantal feels responsible to continue the family’s legacy in the best way possible, respecting its history and adding her own personal touch.
Chantal was born on Bonaire as one of three kids. She left the island along with her twin sister to attend high school in Orlando, Florida, USA. After finishing high school, she returned to the island to work in the family business and then returned to the USA to attend community college in Miami for her Associate’s in Business degree. Even though she felt passionate about interior design and fashion, she knew that she would return to the island to be part of the family business and so chose to study business.
For several years, she worked mostly at night and loved the parties they organized. Now a mother of two, she works mostly day shifts, 6 days a week, but tries to make more time for her children and her life partner.
The hospitality industry is a 24/7 business and comes with many challenges. Chantal learned from her father that it is important to focus on the business and family and not get distracted by alcohol, drugs and other temptations. Chantal succeeded, but lived through many challenges in her life that made her stronger in the end. Chantal also lives with diabetes. This is hard at times, since she always puts her guests first and sometimes forgets to eat, something absolutely necessary when living with diabetes. She needed some serious warnings from her doctors to put her health first.
Zeezicht is the oldest establishment at this location. It was busy every day, but Chantal’s father, Johan, dreamed of expanding the restaurant with a baron to the crystal blue waters so people could enjoy a cocktail on a pier. His dream came true and a little more than 30 years ago, Karel’s Beach bar became a reality and later the Cappuccino bar was added to the location.
Karel’s Beach Bar & Cappuccino Bar
The pier with Karel’s Bar and Cappuccino Bar is open seven days a week from 8 am – 12 midnight and the kitchen is open from 8 am to 1 pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner nonstop.
On the menu, you will find some items that are a reminder of the family’s long history and have been part of the menu since Chantal’s grandmother’s days. You will find Chantal’s favorite dish, “Chantal’s Seafood Kabob”, named after her, as well the favorite dishes of her siblings.
Karel’s is well known for its seafood, ranging from a local fish ceviche and the famous conch chowders served in a bread bowl to a whole fried red snapper, its good T-bone steaks and its snacks that perfectly accompany your cold drink at happy hour.
Happy Hour is every day from 5 – 7 pm, with reduced prices. It is the perfect spot to see the cruise ships leaving the island.
If you want a special location for your breakfast, the Cappuccino Bar is ready to serve you as early as 8 am. Of course, the bartenders are professionals when preparing your favorite cocktail, perhaps a Mojito with Bonairean rum, a Strawberry Short Cake or a Cosmopolitan?And of course they also serve a great glass of wine , a cold beer or a fabulous Frozen Cappuccino.
If you have a special occasion that you want to celebrate with them, make your reservation and they will turn your table into something special, with nice white linen and a beautiful table setting.
Karel’s Beach Bar & Cappuccino Bar
Open 7 days a week
Hours 8 am – 12 midnight
Kaya J.N.E. Craane (the oceanfront boulevard)
Phone: +599 717 84 34