It's bar/beach hut accomodation. Really great food, particularly the seafood - the best marinated shark ever. Very relaxed and friendly staff will often let you put on your own music and the owner Cyril isn't unknown to host the occasional quiz. Oh, and I met my girlfriend there!
We arrived on New Year's Eve and found all the accommodation full! Contemplating sleeping on the beach we came across Chris who worked at the diving school. A quick phone call to Poland and five minutes later we had a room with a four-poster bed in an amazing house right on the beach. Amazing sunsets watched from Cholo's, fresh fish from the makeshift market and a sublime atmosphere. Enjoy!
Take a private taxi from Stone Town.
Homey, funky bar (29 people max!), formerly a Portuguese lunch counter. Drinks, talk, great music from the owners' sound system and the best juke box in TO, crokinole (more Canadian than hockey), scrabble. Get there before 9 when the hipsters take over. And catch the Saturday live music (5 to 7) - Django Reinhardt reincarnated wih a big surprise.
1149 Dundas St. W - Dundas and Ossington - look for Nazarre Lunch sign. Open 4 to 2.
Cafe/bar/restaurant - a well known Copenhagen hangout off the main drag for brunch and at any time - not posh, reasonably priced, with decent food, good beers, great bohemian crowd and atmosphere (always great looking crowd!! - but you are in Scandinavia!) so, students, old folk, artists, trendy types - usually all locals etc.
1359 Copenhagen K
Nearest station: Noerreport
Ocho Rios is a bit of a mixed bag. What spoils it somewhat are the hundreds of cruise ship tourists who flood into the resort on an almost daily basis. Whilst the residents of Ocho Rios naturally thrive from the custom that this brings to their shores, the smoke-belching cruise ships docked in the harbour do somewhat mar the view from what is otherwise a pleasant beach.
That said, Ocho Rios provides a great location for visiting some of the Island’s most impressive attractions, as well as some nice bars and restaurants. ‘Coconuts’ is a very pleasant restaurant just off of the beach front serving nice food and just about any drink you can imagine. Alternatively try ‘Trade Winds’ for some more authentic Jamaican fare and a great host – just don’t get him started on the subject of George Bush! ‘Mama Marley’s’ owned by the mother of the Island’s most famous former resident, is a bit of a tourist magnet (and not recommended if you’ve spent the afternoon swimming with the dolphins at Ochie’s ‘Dolphin Cove’, as dolphin steaks feature on the menu) but serves great jerk chicken. Dining is not cheap in Jamaica – so take some extra cash or be prepared to ‘go local’ and search out some of the delicious Jamaican patties from one of the bakeries in the resort.
Music is, and has always been, a powerful social tool for the people of Jamaica. For a glimpse into Jamaica’s potent musical past check out ‘Reggae Explosion’ - an interactive museum located in the Island Village shopping complex. The museum chronicles Reggae music’s evolution from mento, ska through to rocksteady, roots, dancehall and beyond - and includes a recreation of Lee Perry’s infamous Black Ark studio (which was allegedly burnt down by the musical maestro himself). Judging by the amount of times you are likely to hear Bob Marley’s music playing in the streets and bars during your stay in Jamaica, this is a refreshing introduction to the Island’s rich and socially significant musical history!
Take a break from reggae and dancehall for one night and have dinner in this Louisiana-flavoured jazz bar in what used to be a private house, within an old walled garden. It’s a little Bohemian oasis in downtown Kingston, with live music and poetry readings at night, and an antique vinyl collection all over the walls.
21 Braemar Avenue, Kingston
Tel: 1 876 978 6091
The most picturesque bar in the Caribbean, built from driftwood on stilts half a mile out into the ocean. Get a fisherman in Black River to take you out in his boat, and let the owner, Floyde, cook you escovitch snapper with rice and peas. If you go during the daytime, you’ll probably see his tame sting rays idling in the water beneath your feet, hoping for your leftovers.
Any boat from the wharf in Black River, St Elizabeth.
If you are under 30 or wear the now British uniform of shell suit and trainers, head for north Goa. The south (as yet) is a bit more refined, a bit more expensive but, hey it's your hols!
For great food try "Sams Shack" on the beach outside the Holiday Inn, Mobor, or Edwins "Goan Village" in Cavelossim, somewhere new is the Riverview literally on the river behind the Old Anchor. The beach sellers are less hassle here, one of our favourites, Camilla has as she calls it, Paul Mcarries (Macca) autograph.
The best massage on the beach is from Abdul, about £7/£8 for a full hour of relaxation. We are back there in December, but don't come near us if you are in your shellsuit&trainers.
Lovely coastal village in beautiful Portland Parish. Take the coast road out of Kingston and drive the long way round. Just a couple of beach bars and B&Bs (ask at the Chill Out bar for recommendations) and absolutely no all inclusive resorts. Just locals and the odd incomer (hippies who drifted in 30 years ago and never left...) Nearby is the great small town of Port Antonio with a thriving market. From there you can book river cruises and boat trips etc.
Smoking was recently banned in all bars, restaurants and enclosed public spaces (bars over 100m2 are allowed a separate smoking area). The law appears to be being upheld and respected, although i'm not sure how as Argentines smoke more than a stereotypical Albanian and are not known for their law abiding-ness.
It has made going out much more bearable, even for someone like me who likes a fag now and again. Before, bars and restaurants were under a pall of smoke and it was common to leave with stinging eyes and stinking clothes. It's the second progressive law to come out of the blue in the last couple of years (gay civil unions being the other). This country never ceases to amaze me, lurching from one extreme to the other. Fantastic.
Maybe I'm biased because it was where I asked my wife to marry me, but the beach in Negril is one of my favourite places in the whole world. Obviously it's a long and sandy paradise, facing west with great sunsets. But it also has great bars populated by locals. And it's a good place to buy something to smoke. I never made it as far as Hedonism II though - which may be to some people's taste.
In the UK we turn our old churches into bars and clubs, in Bordeaux the church St Simeon has become Utopia, an arty cinema.
I wouldn't normally go to the cinema when I'm abroad, but Utopia would have to be an exception. It has a good cafe and five screens showing good films from all over - France, the UK, the US, Bosnia, Algeria, Hungary, Italy, Egypt, Iran, Tunisia, Japan, Finland, Mongolia, Spain, Romania, and China were all represented by films within a couple of months when I last checked. The architecture of many of the salles just adds to the atmosphere and convinces you that you are somewhere special. Films are normally subtitled.
5 place Camille Jullian
This cafe is rough and raucous, with the most varied clientele ranging from footpads to intellectuals, musicians, businessmen, down-at-heels actors, students and dons from the nearby AUC (American University in Cairo). This is one of the few places left in Cairo that savours the city's past and colourful diversity, but it's a past that is firmly in the present. It's a great place to have a beer and thrash out the issues of the day, practise some Arabic or simply to make contact with a real cross-section of Cairo life. Moving among its French decor - faded mirrors, marble tables and creaking ceiling fans - is Saad, the wonderfully eccentric barman and a real character who will welcome you warmly with wonderful Egyptian humour. This place is a must for the adventurous but not for the fainthearted. I loved it throughout my twenty years in Cairo and know I still have a place there whenever I return.
The Hurreya Cafe, Midan Bab al-Khalq, behind the AUC. It's on the corner, across the square from the market.
The old Islamic quarter, known as Darb al-Ahmar, is great for a stroll through markets and stalls that feel like they haven't changed in five hundred years. Restoration work has been carried out on a series of mosques in this area which are architecturally stunning. I was lucky enough to be given an impromptu tour at night around one of them and the open roof revealed the stars. The Nile Hilton, not far from the Egyptian Museum (which is a must) has a rooftop bar which is definitely worth a visit for a drink overlooking the Nile at sunset. You don't have to be a hotel guest - just get in the lift and head to the top. One drink might be enough for some as it is not cheap but definitely worth the view.
Nile Hilton, 1113 Corniche El Nil, Cairo 12344.
Tel : 00 20 2 578 0444/ or 578 0666.
Situated in a boring and slightly scruffy building, this place is a real find. The three-star Longchamps Hotel is on one of the upper floors and, with two large terraces, is one of the most relaxing places in Cairo. Its decor could be described as a mix of elegant, Bohemian and ethnic. But what most people find surprising is the food. Menus are simple but dishes are invariably delicious to the point of being memorable. If you are looking for somewhere inexpensive, quiet, clean and pleasant to stay in Cairo, this is it.
Hotel Longchamps, 21 Ismail Mohamed Street, Zamalek. 3409644
Tel : 00 20 2 735 2311/12.
This is the place to eat out in style. Rossini is a sophisticated Italian seafood restaurant in Heliopolis with a piano bar upstairs and a garden at the back. It has great food, excellent cocktails (which are difficult to find in Cairo outside five-star hotels) and top service.
Rossini, 66 Omar Ibn el-Khattab Street.
Tel : +20 2 291 8282
Sangria is a cool restaurant and bar built around an old tree on the banks of the Nile. Enjoy a view of Zamalek from the open terrace, which during winter months is well heated. The cuisine is mostly South-East Asian and the crowd tends to be mainly young and wealthy, judging by the posh cars in the restaurant carpark. It's a great place for a beer.
Sangria, Corniche El Nile.
Tel : +20 2 579 6512
On the opposite side of the road from the Conrad Hilton towards the Arkadia Shopping Centre.
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