My love for Bermuda is well documented. Bermuda is rare, the island has a charm and sophistication that is hard to find. There is an old saying, “the people make the place” and the Bermudian people have taken paradise and made it warm and inviting. In Bermuda, style and sophistication come with a smile and a light-hearted joke. For me, this is what makes Bermuda truly magical.
It comes as no surprise then that happy hour is a long-standing tradition in Bermuda. The Bermudian happy hour is far removed from any preconception you might have. For me, what I’m used to in other parts of the world is a happy hour that creates images of bored looking office workers enduring drinks with coworkers. But this is Bermuda where everything is done with aforementioned style, sophistication, and an infectious smile.
With that being said. Let’s explore some of the best happy hour options in Bermuda.
Fairmont Hamilton Princess
If you have read my previous articles on Bermuda or the court papers from my recent divorce, you will know that drinking in bars is my natural habitat. Today, I am happy and in my element; even more than usual. I am at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, one of the finest resorts Bermuda has to offer. The Fairmont boasts one of the most beautiful terrace bars on the island. I think this is the best place for me to explain what happy hour in Bermuda means.
In Bermuda, happy hour is a big thing. It is a daily event where people come together to socialize and enjoy. Happy hour says everything about an island where happiness is part of the daily routine. People take a few hours each day to celebrate and toast to that relaxed happiness. During happy hour, the drinks and conversation flow, which creates the perfect opportunity to make new friends and set the scene for the night ahead.
The Fairmont has some of the finest and delicate cocktails on the island. The list on offer reads like a who’s who of cocktails, with many of the traditional classics being given a unique twist. The Princess offers much more than a fine cocktail list and fine dining, though. They have views that are both stunning and inspirational. When you visit, prepare to be amazed. At The Hamilton, your dreams will come to life.
When walking along Front Street, it is easy to glide between the excellent bars and fine dining establishments. One of my favorites is RED. The first rule of the Happy hour is good food. As with everything in life, preparation is everything and this is Bermuda, where every activity involves food. With this in mind, RED is the perfect destination for Matinees and tapas.
Red is stylish, warm and inviting. This restaurant and bar is home to the largest outside patio on Front Street. It is the perfect place to relax and meet new people. RED is one of my favorite places on Front street. It manages to combine an intimate and stylish fine dining restaurant with a casual and laid back bar. Tonight I am here to relax and enjoy the excellent tapas and cocktails on offer.
The cocktail list at RED is creative. Here, you can be adventurous and go beyond the traditional cocktail. As you open your imagination, you will enjoy delicately balanced flavors that create a sense of understanding for life in Bermuda. My personal favorites include The “Porn Star Martini” and the “Japanese Blossom”. The tapas menu is outstanding with delicious shrimp and tuna tartar that will leave you wanting more.
The Frog and Onion
Being a proud Irish man, I love beer. Unfortunately, my years as a fine dining critic mean a Heineken will not satisfy my spoilt and pampered taste buds. The Frog and Onion at The Royal Navy Dockyard is home to Bermudas only microbrewery. This is a concept that has got me very excited. The Frog and Onion is home to five locally produced beers and ales. I am the one chosen to come here to try them all. After all, it's my job and any job worth doing...
The Frog and Onion have managed to select five beers that cover everything good about beer. There is the dark, full-bodied rum porter, a delicate pale ale sitting alongside a fine and crisp amber ale, there is a classic European style lager and a full-bodied German wheat beer. I have to say, I am impressed and if you would like a recommendation from a well-practiced beer drinker, I would suggest working your way through the menu from back to front. Start with the porter and end with the wheat beer. If you don't believe me, take a look at my beer belly. It's a belly you can trust.
Bermuda Bistro at the Beach
It's Friday, it's happy hour I was at the beach and now I am in the Beach at 103 Front Street. Bermuda Bistro at the Beach to be exact. The locals just call it The Beach. It is a bistro that likes to take our friend, the happy hour to the next level. Every Friday night, The Beach has a happy hour between 4 pm and 8 pm. Meaning, I have four hours of drinking, eating and meeting new people. I do love this job.
The Beach hosts one of the finest bar selections on Front Street. The well-stocked bar includes a fine selection of cocktails and frozen drinks. This is accompanied by a global selection of beers and one of the finest premium liqueur selections Bermuda has to offer.
I am planning on spending my entire evening at The Beach. It's Friday and I am in the mood for a party. From my last visit, I can remember the excellent DJ that plays here every weekend. Being the stickler for rules that I am, I am observing the first rule of happy hour and studying the excellent bistro menu. You will find many of the bistro classics on offer. Have a taste of my personal favorite, steamed mussels served with a toasted baguette.
The Beach is one of those places that is perfect for a Friday night. You can eat, drink, dance and be happy. This truly is an inviting bistro that comes to life during happy hour. The cocktails are flowing and my new friends are serving up premium tequila. I have decided to put my years of experience to use and quietly step away from the action to relax and enjoy a true specialty.
The bistro fish sandwich, in my opinion, is the finest snack to enjoy during a Bermudian happy hour. The bistro fish sandwich is made of Bermuda style battered fish on toasted raisin bread. Once I am refueled, it is back to the premium drinks and excellent DJ. I can honestly say, you have not experienced a Friday night happy hour until you have experienced it Bermudian style.
Being the proud Irish man I am, my editor knows I love a good Irish pub and Flanagan’s does not disappoint. As soon as I walk through the door, I feel at home. Flanagan’s is hailed as Bermuda’s only truly authentic Irish pub. And this Irish man full endorses this Flanagan’s as being authentic and fantastic.
I have decided to start my evening on the excellent balcony that offers a breathtaking view over the harbor. Thanks to a combination of clean air, the stunning view and an excellent pint of Guinness, my previous night's hangover has departed and I am ready to enjoy this excellent Bermudan happy hour. A happy hour that comes with an Irish twist. Personally, I can't think of a better combination.
Flanagan’s offers a truly expansive bar menu. I know it's my job to tell you what's on offer, but in all honesty, I don't know where to start. The beer selection is extensive with a global selection of bottled beers. The draught selection has some real treats including; Kilkenny, Sam Adams and an excellent Guinness. The cocktail list and wine list are equally impressive.
The Flanagan’s happy hour has a complimentary carvery every Friday night. It is delicious and impressive. The range of choice for food is as impressive as the drinks menu. You will find traditional pub classics with a Bermudian twist. Flanagan’s brings you the best of both Ireland and Bermuda in a warm and welcoming environment.
The Pickled Onion
The Pickled Onion has one of the shortest and sweetest cocktail lists in Bermuda. I love this cocktail list. I can work my way through it and still have the appetite to enjoy the fine food menu and a huge range of premium liquors.
The highlights of Pickled Onion’s cocktail menu include The Pickled Pleaser, made from Drambuie whiskey liqueur, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and espresso. This is a fine cocktail with the espresso giving it that special punch. The equally impressive Pink Panties, made from Bacardi, Dragonberry, pina colada puree, grenadine and pineapple juice. It is perfectly refreshing and mixed to perfection.
I am already charmed but there is much more on offer at The Pickled Onion than the impressive cocktails. The dining menu is equally as impressive with a fine selection of fish dishes that include yellowfin tuna and one of the finest pan fried Wahoo dishes I have enjoyed in Bermuda.
Happy hour at The Pickled Onion is a delight. It is stylish and inviting with excellent entertainment. I love the way this establishment mixes fine dining with casual drinking. And as your evening transitions from happy hour, you will find excellent entertainment to keep the party going into the night.
This is one of the things I love most about Bermudian happy hours. The happy hour itself is an introduction to the evening ahead. Happy hour is a social time, a time to eat and drink as you prepare for the evening ahead. The Pickled Onion is a prime example of this. It is one of those places that you don't want to leave. All of the ingredients for a fantastic night are there. You have fine food, a well-stocked bar and excellent entertainment under one roof. The Pickled Onion sets the tone for the pleasure and enjoyment that a Bermudian night has to offer.
For those new to the island, my advice is simple. Leave your worries and inhibitions at home. Bermuda is one of the friendliest places on earth and happy hour is, in my opinion, one of the best Bermudian traditions to experience this.