The Swizzle Inn ~ Bailey's Bay: Home of the Famous Rum Swizzle
The "Swizzle Inn" is famous in many realms for being the creator of the cocktail known as the "Rum Swizzle," a drink made of two types of Gosling's Bermudian Rum, Grenadine and fruit juices. "The Swizzle," as it's known locally claims it's also the oldest pub in Bermuda as it was established in 1932.
The Swizzle Inn was definitely on our list as a place to visit during our time in Bermuda. However, while we expected it to be a refined, tropical British outpost, it was anything but. The exterior of the Bailey's Bay Swizzle Inn is attractive with its two levels of sweeping verandas, and colorful patio dining area shaded with bright green market umbrellas and potted palm trees. However, the inside is shockingly unexpected! Rather than being a traditional dark wood, cozy pub with tables and British Colonial decor, it is an eclectic mix of odds & ends with graffiti-covered walls and business cards or other paper raffia covering nearly everything else. There was an area for live music, but as we were there for lunch only no one was playing!
Favorite Dish: Everyone at the table pronounced the pitcher of Rum Swizzles ($22.75) to be good, and the rum portion was not skimped on.
The large menu from the Swizzle Inn comes in the form of an old-fashioned newspaper with all the choices listed inside. There is something for nearly everyone and that includes kids!
The Swizzle Burger (Original Classic) Seasoned 6oz all beef burger with crisp bacon, real cheddar, lettuce and tomato on a sesame bun with fries and coleslaw was a good choice at $13.75 (2011 price). The burger was large, juicy and really tasty! Yum!! Hubby had the Back O'Town Fish Sandwich -- Breaded fish on a bun with shredded lettuce, tomato, spicy slaw and tartar sauce for $15.75 (2011 price). He said it as very good, but I thought it was a little pricey. All sandwiches (except the Monte Cristo and burgers) are served with choice of regular or seasoned fries, garden salad or Caesar salad.
It's too large to mention everything but the menu also includes a good list of bar appetizers aka starters, soups and salads ($7.25 and up), nachos, wings, plus "finger foods" ($9.25 to $18.50). Pizzas are $10.75 to $18.50 for a seafood pizza. Entrees run from $13.75 for the chilli up to $23.75 for the Seafood platter (2011 prices).
The Swizzle Inn may seem like a splurge, however, considering prices on the rest of the island, I thought my Swizzle Burger was a real good deal!!
Note: the Bermudian Dollar is still on par with the US Dollar (2011).
The Frog and Onion Pub: Dockyard Favorite
While doing research for our trip to Bermuda, King's Wharf and the Royal Naval Dockyard in particular, one place that I often saw mentioned was the "Frog & Onion Pub."
The unique name of the pub comes from the fact that the Pub was established in 1992 by a Bermudian (The Onion) and a Frenchman (The Frog). The cooperage building where the pub is ensconced was completed in 1853. A "cooperage" is a "workshop that built, repaired and dismantled barrels, casks and kegs." The Dockyard filled the very necessary task of provisioning wooden sailing ships at a time when almost all provisions came in barrels or casks so they could be loaded and stored in the cargo holds of the ship. Empty water casks needed to be taken ashore for refilling at the watering place. The cooperage space and adjacent Victualling Yard were converted to five storehouses in the 1940s eventually finding itself home to The Frog and Onion Pub, a craft and souvenir shop, and a movie theater.
After our regular dinner aboard ship, we capped off the balmy evening by strolling over to this pub with one of our ship friends to see what it was all about and what we found was a unique place to have a bite if hungry, a drink and a little live entertainment as well. We found a lively crowd surrounded the bar and lots of tables were filled by patrons enjoying the dining as well. Since we intended only to order drinks and an appetizer, we took a table closer to the entrance and where we could see & listen to the guitarist who was playing that evening but not take up valuable dining space.
The menu features a selection of Traditional English style pub food. The Pub has several dining areas both indoors and out. There are two outdoor dining areas, the Beer Garden Patio and the Victualling Yard Deck --- great for viewing the historic stone buildings or the Bermuda Maritime Museum on either side depending on which side of the establishment you sit. One nice indoor space is called the "Cooper's Room" which features a giant, original stone fireplace, often ablaze, as its centerpiece.
During our latest visit in April, 2013, we took a table on the outside patio and tried some of the Dockyard Brewing Company's craft brews: "The Whale of the Wheat Ale" in an approximately 16 oz. souvenir glass was $12.95, a pint size "Trunk Island Pale Ale" ($8.95), and a diet Coke (?) along with a good size plate of thick cut, battered red onion rings with Bermuda Jam Storm Surge dip ($8.95) was a delicious though pricey combo for a total of almost $40 when the bill came. The "mandatory" 17% gratuity was already included in the total. Another popular appetizer that I saw on many table was the "Frog Nachos" ($13.95) a tower of layered tortilla chips, seasoned ground beef, salsa, cheese and sour cream. This dish looked like it easily fed 4 people. The most unique appetizer on the menu, to me, was the deep fried, battered pickles ($10.95)!! I didn't see anyone that ordered that so I cannot vouch for how large of a dish of pickles it was.
The bar area is where you can watch your favorite team on one of the large television screens while enjoying ales brewed on site Dockyard Brewing Company beer.
The menu comes with a wide range of appetizers, soup & salad, curries, pasta, and a small but nice selection of main entrees--prices run $15.95 to $28.75; a little pricey but they look great. Particularly unique are the "pub pies" ($19.95 each) -- Cottage (Shepherd's pie), chicken & vegetable, and Bermuda-style mussel pie.
Of course, every unique bar has its gift shop and this pub's is named the Ballast Gift Shop where you will find gifts and memorabilia of your trip to The Frog and Onion Pub. For my husband no trip to a unique pub would be complete without bringing home a pint glass with the beer or establishment's name on it.
Within easy walking distance from King's & Heritage Wharfs or anywhere in the Royal Naval Dockyard. Feeling refreshed and ready to venture on, from the pub we made the short walk over to the nearby Snorkel Park Beach.
Favorite Dish: We really enjoyed our onion ring appetizer and trying the new brews on our April, 2013 visit. While visiting in October, 2011, my husband & I sampled one of pub's own micro-brews, "Somers Amber Ale" which the pub was out of on this most recent visit.
Gee, I'd recommend the Somers Amber Ale and The Whale of the Wheat Ale for sure and while you're at it, some pub grub.
CV Cafe ~ Conscious Vibes: Fair Trade Coffee & Wi-Fi Internet in St. George's
Update: Even though St. George's still appears to be plaqued by the current worldwide economic situation, I was pleased to see on our recent trip in April, 2013, that it was still in business!
Not far from the ferry landing in St. George's we happened upon the rather new "CV Cafe" in a renovated space on Water Street. Open only since July, 2011, the CV Cafe was originally established by London transplant, Michelle Wales, who apparently had a passion concerning the ethos of "fair trade," a term which seems to be difficult to pin down by the owners as well as the rest of us. (More on this later.)
Not to be confused with the "Fair Trade Store," the cafe offers "fair trade" teas, coffees; specialty drinks, and smoothies, wine & beer have been added and Bailey's Ice-cream are also on tap although may not be made from "fair trade" products. A big draw may be the Wi-Fi internet access (complimentary?) which we saw at least one person taking advantage of. Between the four of us visiting that day, we had 3 cups of tea and 1 coffee which were expensive in a country where things are already expensive, LOL!!
The "Sweet Saak Bakery" offering a smattering of baked goods and sandwiches, also operates from the same location which literally is at the other end of the counter. One member of our party had a muffin, which while she declared it as being "good", but also rather small.
Although the CV Cafe seems to have great potential as a unique and interesting spot to enjoy a hot or cold drink and something sweet, it missed the spot for me on more than one count. Hopefully another visit at another time will reveal whether it has improved or not. One bright spot is that it has a very clean bathroom!
The Cafe is open from 8:30am to 5:30pm every day except Friday. SATURDAYS 10:00-5:30/6:00. Open the first Sunday of each month 11:00 - 3:00 hosting the Art on the Town event
Favorite Dish: While the CV Cafe has lofty intentions, I really didn't see or taste anything that set it apart from other coffee shops. If I'm going to spend more to eat and drink, I at least want to see and taste the difference since, as stated below, 'fair trade' products are not supposed to be about guilt!
DEFINITION OF FAIR TRADE: "Fair Trade is a system of exchange where purchasers agree to pay a slightly higher cost to make sure providers are able to maintain a decent standard of living .... Fair Trade is more than just a scheme to make buyers feel better about themselves; it is potentially the cornerstone of an entirely new economy where sustainability and justice, not low cost, are the key values." ~ quote from: worldwidefairtrade.com
In an interview with the Bermuda Sun News, Ms. Wales also stated that fair trade also means " 'They' don't allow child slavery and they don't allow chemicals." Not sure if this is true or false.
The Spot Restaurant: great prices, service, and home-style cooking
This restaurant is located right in the centre of Hamilton. It's one of the few places in town where you can go in for a fast meal for a low price (by Bermudian standards). Service is fast and friendly, and the home-style food is just excellent. It is truly a local restaurant where you can get some traditional Bermudian meals, run by locals.
Menus are online on the listed web site and they also have phone order take-away.
Favorite Dish: any of the following:
- Bermuda fish chowder
- hot turkey sandwich, gravy on the fries
- bacon, eggs, home fries, beans, coffee, toast, and orange juice
- toasted western sandwichRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Swizzler Inn: The best fun restaurant
This place is a true landmark in Bermuda. It is famous for the Swizzler Rum drink sold everywhere on the island. They serve them in pitchers ...nice and cold and also frozen ( my favorite.
It's a fun atmosphere...people leave their calling cards . They're all over the walls.
The place is always busy. It's across from the Crystal caves and easy to get to by bus , if you don't have a scooter.
The food is great pub food. Huge platters!! Happy Hour : Mon - Fri- 5pm-7pm beer and reg drinks $3.75 FRIDAYS FREE Bar Snacks.
Favorite Dish: We loved the nachos....so substantial we couldn't eat anything else!!Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
The Lighthouse Tea Room: HIGH afternoon Tea
Lighthouse Tea Room
68 St. Anne's Rd, Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, Bermuda
The Lighthouse Tea Room is a classic English/Bermuda tearoom it has a really beautiful view of Great Sound. The Lighthouse serves a full Englishafternoon tea complete with Devonshire cream and homemade scones. This is a magical British Bermudian atmosphere that is quit literally on top of Bermuda. The owner is Heidi Cowen, she does all the baking and she grew up in the old dwelling. In fact her grandfather was the last lighthouse keeper before electronic lights were introduced 50 years ago.
Favorite Dish: English afternoon teaRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
The White Horse: A St. George Pub
Since we had the American plan which included breakfast and dinner, we usually only ate lunch out. This pub is right on the square in St. George so it is ideally situated for lunch.
It has seating right outside on the canal for good weather. They have the typical Bermuda shutters on the window. We ate there in 1995.
I have found out from information on the internet that this place may now serve pizza, and/or that it was out of business for a time.
Favorite Dish: Most people seem to love this place. Bob ordered a hamburger and I ordered a Ploughman's lunch. I didn't know what that was, but it sounded interesting.
The service was terrible, I thought the prices were high, and I hated the food. I found out later that I don't like the stuff in a Ploughman's lunch.
But Bob didn't like his hamburger much either, and there wasn't much of what food there was. We were still hungry at the end of the meal. We fed the ducks and minnows in the canal with most of it. They didn't seem all that surprised to be fed.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
The Frog and Onion: Don't miss this place!
Great food and nice medevil atmosphere. In the same vicinity as the naval dockyard. Meal and service were both really good.
Favorite Dish: Order the burgers!
They also have great beer which comes in a glass you can keep.
Henry VIII: Henry VIII is Overrated
What I had hoped would be a special evening with my family was not helped by going to this establishment. I had heard that this restaurant had special appeal in its atmosphere, food, service, etc. But I found it to be very disappointing. The atmosphere was nice, but not much different from any restaurant with a English Pub theme. The food was good, not great. The service was just shy of good (the first server was having a problem understanding the language), and the prices were very high. I highly recommend that you go elsewhere for a special treat.
Favorite Dish: None - all of us thought the food was just OK.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Portofino: Authentic, delicioso Italian food
This restaurant is a can't miss. It is run by Italians and the food says it all. We were amazed by the reasonable costs. The staff was friendly and the decor was fun paying homage to the motherland. It can be packed particularly when the cruises come in.
Favorite Dish: It's all great - the pizza, pasta, and gelato!Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Lobster Pot: EXCELLENT Seafood and atmosphere
The Lobster Pot is a can't miss. It has a great atmosphere with friendly staff and cozy seating. Make a reservation - this place is not a secret.
Favorite Dish: We had the fish with bananas/almonds - a Bermudian specialty that is outstanding, and of course, the lobster, which was excellent. Even the desserts were off the charts.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Dockyard Brewing Company: Sample five local microbrews
The Dockyard Brewing Company is actually the in-house microbrewery associated with THE FROG AND ONION PUB. There is a small covered patio area outside of "The Frog" over at Dockyards which is signed as "The Dockyards Pub". Basically, the items available at "The Dockyards Pub" are also on tap for The Frog and Onion Pub.
There are five different beers, each having a different focus and style. (Please see below, both in this and the next sections, for a description of the five brews. The prices are as follows: $5.75 for an English pint, which is 20 tasty ounces. A half-pint is $3.75. And if you want the BEST deal and/or you can't make up your mind, you can sample ALL FIVE brews (six ounces of each) for only $9.00.
Here are the five brews, the Dockyards' own description (from their menu) and my personal commentary...
Whale of a Wheat
A typical German Hefeweizen, this light and refreshing ale is made using a combination of wheat and barley malts from Europe. Brewed using only German hops this summer thirst quencher is served with a traditional slice of lemon. Pete says...this is a darn good brew, one of those nice, crisp German beers that you'll find in a club in Berlin. Clean and refreshing. One of my two favorites.
St David’s Light (Lager)
Brewed in the Pilsner style, this light, straw-coloured beer is delicately hopped with the finest European hops giving it a satisfying crisp flavour with a dry finish. Great brew to accompany the lighter meals. Pete says... has a lot in common with some of the beers I've tasted from the Czech Republic. If Pilsner floats your boat, sail to St. David's.
Favorite Dish: Somer’s Amber Ale
The flagship ale of Dockyard Brewing this cooper-coloured ale is a traditional English Bitter. Created using the finest Noble hops this brew is all round crowd pleaser to be enjoyed with all foods! Pete says... excellent. But for me, I prefer the darker English brews.
Trunk Island Pale Ale
Commonly referred to as IPA this highly hopped brew is packed full of flavour with sharp bitter finish. British soldiers serving in the far flung colony of India would appreciate this ale, which can be enjoyed with a variety of meals. Pete says... pale ales have always been a little edgy for me. This one's good and I'd be fine with a bottle anytime. But if I'm picking among these five special brews, I'd leave the pale ale for the IPA lovers of the world.
Black Anchor Porter
A classic London Porter, this rich dark ale has it’s roots in the early brewing history of England. This full bodied, medium hopped beer is a great partner for the heavy game pies and meats. Pete says... There will always be an England. And it'll always remind me of beers like Black Anchor Porter. A true and hairy-chested darker beer that stands up to any menu item, and also stands alone for a beer-only evening. This is my other favorite.
So, summing up, I like them all. But my favorites are kind of opposite ends of the scale. I love the dark Black Anchor Porter. And, the Whale of a Wheat reminds me so much of my favorite German brews.
The Frog and Onion Pub: Hungry at the Dockyards? Hop to the FROG
The Frog and Onion is one of Bermuda's most recommended pubs. For a lunch or dinner out at dockyards, it's an excellent choice. This place is named for its owners, one French (le FROG) and one Bermudian (the ONION). They have an excellent selection of food and spirits, and it's served in a friendly and typically pub manner. Many of the specialties are named for famous English pubs, which makes for some interesting moments during your order session. (see below)
As is our usual plan, we were eating early and didn't hear the live band or DJ. But, I'm told that the Frog really hops later in the evening, and especially on Dockyard Nights...the weekly celebration that occurs for cruise ship visitors.
Also, if you're into billiards or snooker, The Frog and Onion is one of the few pubs in Bermuda that has pool tables.
On a personal note, please say hello to Respesio, our waiter. What a great guy. Tell him that we finally figured out what that creature on the Bermuda flag really is. :)
Favorite Dish: Outstanding pub grub here.
I had the Frog and Onion burger, a goliath hunk of medium-well (my choice) ground steak, with cheddar cheese, meaty bacon and cheddar cheese. Add the garden goodies and a little catsup, mustard and mayo and it's perfect.
As I mentioned above, many of the pub specialty dishes are named for famous English pubs, for regiments stationed in Bermuda and for Bermuda forts. These would include:
The "Royal Irish" (as in regiment) will get you (beef tenderloin strips, chourizo sausage, & tiger shrimp in a light tomato pepper curry sauce). A call for "The Bishop's Head" will result in savory chicken curry gracing your table. And in case you're traveling with vegetarian, you could order "The Duke of Edinburgh". (a crepe filed with mushrooms, tomato, almonds, peppers, in a light cheese sauce served with seasonal greens) :)
The White Horse Tavern: Saddle up at the White Horse for lunch!
The White Horse is a great place for atmosphere, and some decent pub grub as well. Located right on the harbor at St George, in King's Square, White Horse is a good place for a pint or a bite. There are dining areas both inside and outside (under an awning).
They have a nice collection of salads and sandwiches for the lunch menu, and several meat dishes are added for dinner. Seafood is also a good choice, especially at dinner.
The White Horse also considers itself a "sports bar" and has live entertainment in the evenings.
Favorite Dish: We did a light lunch at White Horse. Beers all the way around, and then one of their "Bermuda Onions", the local version of the ubiquitous "blooming onion" appetizers served at fern bars everywhere. I had another try of the local fish chowder, and White Horse's was quite good. Bonnie and Sara did salads.
Hey, happy hour at White Horse happens seven days a week, from 5-7 pm. You can get $3.50 beers, which is a good deal in Bermuda.
White Horse also features an "all day breakfast special" for $14.95, 2 pancakes, 2 bacon, 2 sausages, 2 eggs (Your choice of fried, scrambled, over easy, hard boiled, or sunny side up), with fried potatoes. In the mornings, White Horse also features the local breakfast treat, codfish and potatoes.
Among the better pub offerings are the bangers and mash...one of MY favorite pub dishes. :) The seafood platter is a pretty good Bermuda deal for $17.95. It includes fried coconut shrimp, scallops, wahoo, calamari & conch fritter served with french fries or salad, with your choice of tarter, cocktail, or keylime mustard sauce.
The Swizzle Inn: Swizzle Inn/Sw(ST)agger Out
The Swizzle Inn is one of Bermuda's most well-known and beloved pubs. They claim to be the source of the rum swizzle drink that's lapped up all over "the rock". And while others have swizzles, The Swizzle Inn feels theirs are, by far, THE most potent. Their unabashed motto is "Swizzle Inn, Swagger out". I personally think that STAGGER out might be a better choice. And for you worry warts out there, they make it very clear that they're more than happy to hail a cab....and the bus stops right across the street. So, getting tanked at the Swizzle shouldn't cause you much more than a morning headache, if you over do it.
The Swizzle Inn itself was established in 1932 in a 17th century roadhouse. My understanding is that the same family has run it since the 50s. There are now TWO Swizzle Inns in Bermuda... the original on Blue Hole Road in Hamilton Parish, and a new one over on the south shore at 87 South Road, Warwick Parish.
The original Swizzle Inn can be reached via buses 1, 3, 10 and 11. There is a bus stop right across the street. AND, if you visit Crystal Caves, the Swizzle Inn is actually just around the corner from Crystal Caves drive. So, you might want to set up a Cave and rum swizzle combo.
Favorite Dish: Well, they serve serious pub grub here, and it's all good. The bawdy Brit pub atmosphere adds to the fun, with all of the years and years of graffiti on the walls and tables. On some evenings, they add live music, but being typically "us", we were eating a bit earlier.
I decided that the Swizzle Inn was where ::I:: was going to have fish and chips, and it was a very good choice. The Inn is mondo traditional on their fish and chips, using cod and a nice beer batter. Bonnie and Sara decided to put their "southern style chicken" to the "we're southerners" test... and it passed. Mighty tasty bird they served.
As for drink accompaniment....as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So while in the Swizzle, we did as the swizzlers did. We ordered ourselves a big fat pitcher of rum swizzles and set to finishing them off. Yep, I had a nice buzz when we left. But seeing as how we did manage to catch the bus back into Hamilton AND we successfully walked the short distance from the Hamilton bus stop back to the Kingston House B&B without being killed, I suppose we showed some modicrum of adult responsibility. :) Didn't even have a headache the next morning, either.
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