Opened in 1941 by a crusty but lovable Dutchman and his saintly wife, Charlie's has survived several economic recessions as well as Nazi torpedoes (next to Aruba's oil refinery, it was vulnerable to Axis attacks during World War II). A sailor and oil-worker dive for 35 years, the place metamorphosed into a literary and tourist haunt that's now an Aruban treasure. The decor is Early American attic, and every inch of wall and ceiling is encrusted with some kind of memorabilia. Charlie's is a watering hole, but the clientele is on the discreet side of rowdy, and the staff can be downright gentle. The tasty food's just what you'd expect at a seaside bar -- fresh shrimp, fish, and squid. Typical main courses come smothered in garlic, stewed peppers, and celery. Beef tenderloin, or pasapalo, spiced with tangy brown sauce, comes with hearty steak fries. Don't pass on the Honeymoon Sauce, a three-alarm blend of scotch bonnet peppers, onions, carrots, sweet peppers, coriander, and vinegar.
- © Frommer's 2013