Photo compliments Braddies Bar Barbados
What is a Rum Shop?
There are a few hundred Rum shops across Barbados, all are located in a Chattel House (a wooden shack with a corrugated roof), some have been extended and may have separate seating. They are easily identified as they are usually brightly painted and many have been branded by a variety of local companies, such as Mount Gay, Absolute, Banks Beer, Guinness or even a mobile phone provider.
Many rum shops have been family owned for generations and are much more than simply bars; they are often part grocery shop, restaurant or beach cafe, some have music, all are a great meeting place and even act as a community center.
What do they Sell?
Alcohol is usually sold in small bottles
50 ml “mini” bottle = 1.7 oz
200 ml “half pint” bottle = 6.8 oz
375 ml “pint” or “flask” bottle = 12.7 oz
You order Rum, Vodka, Brandy etc. and “Chasers”. You will get small bottles of alcohol, your chasers / mixers e.g. Soft drinks and a bowl of ice and glasses. They also sell beer and there is usually a special when you buy 4 or more.
Some Rum Shops will also sell basic groceries
Most offer some sort of food to help absorb the alcohol, from “Cutters” (Salted Bread Bun with a “filling” – such as cheese or ham), others will have a menu for lunch and dinner and there may be some specials of the day. For example, on Saturdays, Barbadian Pudding and Souse (savoury, steamed sweet potato pudding served with pork steeped in a delicious pickle of cucumbers, onions, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers and lime juice.)
What can you expect?
There is not always seating, some have a few tables, stools or benches.
On Friday nights, Saturdays and even on Sundays, Rum Shops are very popular with locals who gather there to hang out or “Lime” and catch up on gossip, politics, sports and more.
You will hear locals saying they want “To fire one” (Have a drink or snap) or “Slam some Doms” (Play dominoes).
There can be people of all nationalities and social standing from celebrities, Government Ministers and owners of large companies to the unemployed.
They are a lot cheaper than a bar or restaurant. Very casual and friendly
John Moore Bar – Weston, St. James
Located next to the Millie Ifill Fish Market on Highway 1A, with a roadside and waterfront entrance. Very popular with west coast visitors and locals. It is said to be one of the oldest rum shops on the island and its specialties are generally some form of local fish. E.g. flying fish, snapper and kingfish.
- Chris’s Place – Rock Dundo, St. James (inland from Gibbes Beach)
Small Rum shop with a shop and menu that changes daily. Great for lunch either eat in or take away, TV’s featuring sports and some picnic tables on lot next door. Great hot pepper sauce!
- Marshalls Rum shop – Holder’s Hill, St. James
This rum shop offers an enclosed air-conditioned seating area. Is very popular at lunch with construction company owners and staff during the week as well as golfers.
- The Watering Hole – Hastings Main Rd., Christ Church
Located across from entrance to St. Lawrence Gap. Great place to start the night before heading in to the Gap.
- Braddie’s – Bath Village, Dover, Christ Church
Located near to St. Lawrence Gap and the Dover playing field. They have a pool table, some nights they have Karaoke or a live band. Tasty Fish, Pork and Fish cakes.
- Lexies – Oistins, Christ Church
Located in Oistin’s Fish Market, very busy on Fridays and Saturday nights when the market becomes one big party.
- Hercules Bar – Oistins, Christ Church
Located across the street from the Oistins Fish Market. Good location for fresh fish or meeting up before going into the busy Oistins Friday Party.
- Chicken Rita’s – Silver Sands, Christ Church
Located on Ocean View Road & Landsdown, is not that easy to find. They provide great Fried Bajan Chicken and Chips. Can be extremely busy on weekends, may be best to call ahead and order for pick up. Girlie (Rita’s daughter) +1 246-428-6873
The Village Bar at Lemon Arbour – St. John, Barbados
One on the best pudding and souse providers, they also prepare a variety of other dishes. This is an extremely popular Rum Shop. Saturdays is very busy as many enjoy the comfortable, open air deck at the back on the bar overlooking the Barbados countryside. Closed on Mondays, open usually at 10am – 4pm, Friday until 10pm and Saturday-until!
Bay Tavern – Martin’s Bay, St. John, Barbados
Located across from the beach, with picnic tables. Thursday night is usually the most popular night. The house specialty is whole red snapper!
- Pug’s, Frankie’s Bar and Canteen – Across the road from the Airport
Pug’s serves a Bajan buffet most days and Frankie’s Bar and Canteen serves grilled and BBQ’s with Bajan specialties. Very popular with taxi drivers, airport staff and visitors. Great for waiting when flights are delayed!