As far as food goes, the smaller places are pretty hit & miss; if they have food at all it will for the most part be fried meat, chicken or fish with fried platanos. Mostly edible, but somewhat dull fare. At night some of these smaller places can come to life, as they are the watering holes for various friends and cronies.
If you are going to spend some time on the beach and all you need is a refresca, I urge you to spend your money at these joints. The owners are usually not well off and could use your patronage to a much greater degree than the more elaborate places.