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B52 Cocktail Bar is a large bar located on the corner of Royal Road and La Salette Road, close to the Sunset Boulevard shopping area in the heart of the popular resort of Grand Baie.
It offers dozens of tables (covered by a roof, but open to the outside on all sides), a pool table, background music and an extensive drinks menu featuring beers, spirits and plenty of cocktails.
With its prime location and laid back nature, it looks like the kind of place that would be packed to the rafters in the evenings, and in many holiday resorts in the world it perhaps would be. However, nightlife in Mauritius (even in Grand Baie, supposedly the “liveliest” place on the island) seemed to be fairly low key during my visit in February 2008. Thus, B52 always looked empty when I passed during the day and was generally less than half full by night.
I dropped by early one evening for a cold Phoenix beer, and paid 150 Rupees (approx. 2.80 GBP) for a large, 500ml glass. Considering that a beer in a restaurant or café generally cost between 50 and 65 Rupees, it was perhaps the high prices that were keeping the crowds away at the time of my visit!
A large bar, with expensive beers, lots of cocktails and a pool table!
Written Mar 30, 2008
Address: Royal Road, Grand Baie
I never thought of the small Indian Ocean island of Mauritius as having much of a brewing tradition, so I was surprised to find that the island produces a number of very good beers.
A bottle of beer (or less common, a draught beer) in a café or restaurant generally costs (as at February 2008) between 50 and 65 Rupees (approx. 1 GBP). However, in a waterfront bar at the Caudan Waterfront complex in Port Louis I paid 115 Rupees for a draught Phoenix beer and, rather inexplicably, 150 Rupees for a beer at the B52 Cocktail Bar in Grand Baie.
330ml bottles cost just 20 Rupees (approx. 0.40 GBP) from the Super U hypermarket in Grand Baie.
The main local beers that I tried during my visit to Mauritius were:
Phoenix - http://www.phoenixbeveragesgroup.com
Carrying the slogan “The Famous Beer of Mauritius Since 1963”, Phoenix boasts of being the most popular beer on the island. From my experience, it would be difficult to dispute that claim, as almost all restaurants and bars offer Phoenix beer.
It is a crisp 5% lager, very refreshing when served ice cold on a hot Mauritian afternoon.
Phoenix has won several awards over the years, most recently scooping the “Grand Gold Medal” in the “Monde Selection” at the international beer awards in Brussels in 2007, adding to 3 Gold Medals that it had claimed in previous years. It is apparently held in very high esteem on the international beer stage!
Its logo features a black phoenix on a red and white background, and you will frequently notice this logo on pub umbrellas and signs outside restaurants and cafes.
Phoenix Special Brew - http://www.phoenixbeveragesgroup.com
Also brewed by Phoenix Beverages Limited, the “Special Brew” is a recent addition, having been brewed only since 2005.
At 6.5% it is stronger than the original Phoenix and is less commonly available in restaurants and bars.
The labels on the Special Brew bottles are a darker red than those on the Phoenix bottles, and feature a black phoenix on a golden yellow background.
Blue Marlin - http://www.phoenixbeveragesgroup.com
Another beer brewed by Phoenix Beverages Limited, Blue Marlin dates back to 1990 and is classified as a strong 6% beer.
Like Phoenix, Blue Marlin has won international accolades in beer competitions, including the “Gold Medal Monde Selection” in 1992.
Not as widespread as Phoenix, but available in many restaurants and bars and you’ll see its logo (the silver and blue head of a marlin fish) on umbrellas outside some cafes.
Brewed by Universal Breweries Limited, at Nouvelle France in the centre of the island, Black Eagle bottles proudly bear the tag “100% Mauritian Beer”.
Black Eagle is the main competitor of the above Phoenix Beverages-brewed beers and, while not as commonplace as Phoenix, I found it in most restaurants and cafes. I would say that it is probably more widely available than Blue Marlin.
I enjoyed a few bottles of Black Eagle during various meals on the island. Those bottles were the standard 5% lager, not too dissimilar to Phoenix in my opinion. I also enjoyed a bottle of the rarer, 7% “Black Eagle Xtra” from the supermarket – needless to say, this was a darker and stronger beer and not nearly as refreshing as the lighter lagers.
Not surprisingly, the beer’s logo features a large black and gold eagle.
As well as the domestic beers, you can enjoy a range of imported bottled beers. However, I would strongly recommend drinking the internationally acclaimed Mauritian beers during your stay!
Updated Mar 30, 2008
Luggage and bags: Cooling Bags, Cooling blocs
Basic essentials, but again not easy to get hold of over there. They are well worth the extra luggage when they keep that midday rum and coke nice and chilled when the temperature is bursting 30c
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Upset Stomach pills because all them cocktails at Banana Beach Club do start to take their toll! Not to mention the legendary Noodle Man who trades opposite the petrol station....that spicy noodle fest is divine (best in the world infact!) but in the morning you can wake up with a few side affects of the hottest chilli this side of Mexico....
Photo Equipment: Batteries...they arent very reliable in Mauritius and also cost the earth because they are imported. Best stocking up at home and bringing a decent supply.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Some smart evening wear is essential, but forget about the suit and long trousers! Long shorts seem to be the key to enjoying the warm nights. Remember, the temperature rarely falls below 20c even after dark.
Miscellaneous: You must try the rotti from the lady who trades on the road leading to Super U. Absoloute bargain at just 5p each, and her fillings are amazing!!!
Written Jun 29, 2005