Live jazz, cheap drinks, and a laid-back vibe keep the regulars returning to back o’ town Hubie’s Bar (10 Angle St., tel. 441/293-9287, live jazz 7–10 p.m. Fri.), where Friday nights see a packed crowd. Go early to snag one of the room’s few banquettes and then people-watch all night amid the relaxed, friendly atmosphere. There are free table nibbles, but no food is officially served, so eat before you arrive or plan on a late dinner elsewhere.
Lunch spot by day, Lemon Tree Cafe (7 Queen St., tel. 441/292-0235) is the place to be on Friday nights, when its hugely popular year-round happy hour (5 p.m.–midnight Fri.) takes flight. A DJ spins a cool vibe as a mixed-age crowd packs the back parkside patio for sangria, free gourmet nibbles, or mulled wine when the weather turns.
Little Venice Wine Bar (32 Bermudiana Rd., tel. 441/295-3503, noon–1 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 6:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Sat.) is an offshoot of the popular adjoining restaurant, attracting a more mature crowd than other venues’ twentysomethings; fans of Little Venice come for fine wines, cosmopolitans, and other cocktails, plus tapas ranging from mini-burgers to dumplings, meat and veggie skewers, and a sampling of cheeses. Patrons can sit at tables indoors or out on the patio.
Just down the block on Bermuda’s “Restaurant Row,” in the heart of Hamilton’s business district, is another popular café–lounge Opus (4 Bermudiana Rd., tel. 441/292-3500, info [at] opus [dot] bm, www.opus.bm, 7:30 a.m.–1 a.m. Mon.–Sat.). Theoretically, you could hang here all day: teas, European coffees, and pastries are served all morning; salads, sushi, panini sandwiches, and wraps are on offer for lunch; and focaccia, tapanades, hot and cold canapés, and various wines and cocktails are served until the wee hours. Bring along your laptop for the free WiFi.
With its liquid tiles, South Beach vibe, and more than 100 rums on offer, Rumbar (29 Victoria Street, tel. 441/296-5050, latin [at] irg [dot] bm, www.latin-rumbar.com, noon–1 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 5 p.m.–1 a.m. Sat. and Sun.) has been a welcome addition to the local nightlife scene. Opened in late 2008, it’s located downstairs from the equally hip Latin restaurant in this revamped part of town. Couches, an outdoor patio, and a raw bar serving ceviche (and no sushi for a change) helped it quickly become the new it spot.
Like its moniker, Ten (10 Dundonald St., 441/295-0857, www.ten.bm, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.) is Euro-cool, with floor-to-ceiling artwork, couch and cube seating, and an alfresco patio that has made it Hamilton’s ultra-favorite café–bar. Tucked away on a block few tourists usually make it to, the venue sits on the street level of a condominium building that blazed a residential trail into the city’s northwest. A well-stocked wine cellar, elegant tapas, and award-winning cocktails attract a full house at happy hour.
Friday night happy hour brings regulars to Coconut Rock (Williams House, 20 Reid St., tel. 441/292-1043, 11:30 a.m.–3 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 6–10:30 p.m. Sun.), where music videos play loudly on large screens, and clientele can partake of bleu cheese burgers and other main menu items, or visit the Yashi Bat, a separate sushi room in the back.
Café Cairo (93 Front St., tel. 441/295-5155, cafecairo [at] northrock [dot] bm, 5 p.m.–3 a.m. Mon.–Sat.) is a popular place for after-hours schmoozing. While the eatery has won raves for its menu, it is the bar’s cool vibe that attracts devoted night owls. A full menu of Middle Eastern dishes is offered until 3 a.m. and a live DJ spins tunes.
The Docksider Pub & Restaurant (121 Front St., tel. 441/296-3333, www.dockies.com, 11:30 a.m.–3 a.m. daily) is one of the hot spots among Bermuda’s youth, who are attracted by reasonable drink prices and pub grub. The popular sports bar opens for special games shown live on its big-screen TVs, so it’s not unusual for bleary-eyed expats to head in here at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning to catch a British soccer showdown.
Front Street’s Flanagan’s Irish Pub (Emporium Building, 69 Front St., tel. 441/295-8299) and Pickled Onion (53 Front St., tel. 441/295-2263, www.thepickledonion.com) are both popular among both locals and visitors for nighttime carousing, and both have panoramic terraces overlooking the harbor. Flanagan’s is an especially good venue for viewing the finish line of January’s Front Street Mile.
Tucked down under Burnaby Hill, Hog Penny (5 Burnaby Hill, tel. 441/292-2534, www.hogpennypub.com, 11:30 a.m.–1 a.m. daily) is the kind of place you want to seek out when you’re craving a bit of British pub life and a plate of bangers and mash. During the summer, live music is usually on the agenda, too.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition