A Sri Lankan night can be a magical experience but if you want western style nightlife you really are in the wrong country.
In Colombo there are casinos and clubs, which tend to cater for the more affluent and small towns may have a local bar (catering for the more desperate) but these are probably not the sort of place you will want to frequent.
Your hotel management will do their best to entertain you as you sip your overpriced after dinner drinks with your fellow Europeans but believe me, the novelty will soon wear off and even the most love-struck couples will be eager for a change of scenery by the end of the first week.
Touts or beach boys can be a pain in the arse, but do not let that stop you getting to know the locals and if you get invited to visit a Sri Lankan home jump at the chance. Unless your new found friends are Muslim they will almost certainly agree to share a beer with you of an evening so if you enjoy your daytime visit (i.e. if you are not asked for money) suggest getting together for a drink after dinner one night.
The locals may know a reasonable local bar but for a real treat get yourself invited to their home to share a few beers with their family and friends (their friends will turn up anyway so you might as well include them in the invitation). Arrange a time and place for them to pick you up in a three-wheeler (only tourists call them tuk tuks), grab your bug spray and enjoy your evening. It gets lively and even though you will be buying all the beer, it is a relatively cheap night out.
With 2 branches in L.A. (the original in west L.A. on the old Route 66 and a more recent addition in Santa Monica) this is a fine place for a few beers from an enjoyably broad beer menu featuring brews from all over the world. There's no need to go for the usual U.K. available labels so try a nice Fat Tire or Anchor Steam instead, and add a fabulous calzone or chilli bowl from their equally long food menu. Shoot some pool, play the jukebox or look at the tabletops which are full of showbiz memorabilia and great old celebrity pictures.
3rd St Promenade,Santa Monica,CA
A picturesque fishing port on the border of Spain and Portugal, at the far western end of the Costa de la Luz. Great for seafood, golf, bowling, kitesurfing, sailing ... phew!
Nearby Isla Canela is where the Spaniards go for THEIR holidays, but the rest of Europe seems to have missed it!
A traditional tapas bar in a funny old corner shop.They serve good ham and gulas (funny little eels). It's a cool place to visit because it is on the edge of the red light district and run by a very camp couple. They serve drinks, bitch with customers and chase out drunks and undesirables whilst neatly arranging your ham and goats cheese tapas. We felt welcomed and entertained. Check out the wig shop down the road.
Calle Hortaleza, Chueca
Near to the Paseo del Prado there are narrow streets with lots of bars and tapas bars. This one was fab. It is full of groups of young people. The decor is scruffy-glass beads dangling in the window, green splodges on the walls and menus on pretend paint palettes. It says "pulperia" on the window and octopus is definitely the best thing to choose. We also had razor clams and green chillies. The service was really friendly and the wine was cheap and good. It didn't seem super happening at 1 on a Sunday morning, but a great place to chill out.
Calle Jesus, Centro
Intimate in the way only tapas bars can be intimate, prices here are very reasonable and the atmosphere is suitably Mediterranean. The scratched-on-with-a-knife graffiti decor is not, however, to everyone's taste.
0031 20 422 62 50
The Bahia Cabana is both a hotel (Days Inn) and bar on the south end of Ft. Lauderdale beach. My recommendation is more about the ambiance of the tiki bar than the accommodation, so don't go staying there based on my comments! "Beach Resort" is a stretch if you ask me.
It is truly one of the last remaining, typical Ft. Lauderdale beach bars. Famous for their "rum-runner" drinks (ok, who isn't?) it also is a relaxing and fun atmosphere to wind down your day. Sitting alongside Fort Lauderdale's largest boat marina, you can watch the day come to an end as people bring their boats back in, unload their fish (or suntan lotion) and discuss very easily with the locals.
If you go to their website, it looks like a dump I have to say, but do stop and have one drink if you're in the area. I guarantee you'll stay for two!
A cafe in a largely residential area which offers a wide range of drinks, a hilarious 'landlord' (inside joke, sorry), and you can even get a Guinness and have a game of bingo there on a Sunday evening. And it's not even run by anyone remotely English. Has to be experienced to be understood.
A self-proclaimed 'eating and drinking palace', Trof is a miscellaneously decorated bar and eatery in the heart of Fallowfield. The staff and guests are sometimes a little too cool for school, and sometimes seem to care more about the playlist than the customer, but the hearty food is a winner - including the best vegetarian breakfast in Manchester. A recent enlargement means the upstairs area features live music - DJ sets, live bands and open mic - virtually every night.
2a Landcross Rd, 0161 224 0467
The Spaghetti Factory is a quirky restaurant that is excellent value for money - a loaf of freshly baked sour dough bread, free refill soft drinks, starter, ice cream and tea and coffee, are included with the price of your main course. Fantastic for feeding a whole family!
The restaurant itself is a treasure trove of Tiffany glass panels and lights, mismatched furniture means you may be seated on a grand wooden throne or inside a reclaimed streetcar, and should you glance up check out the many artefacts and trinkets that adds to the family atmosphere.
#54 The Esplanade
Parking available; Meter & pay parking
Chic and sophisticated bar that serves great Italian style snacks and the most delectable cocktails made from the best spirits, liqueurs, fresh fruit, herbs and juices. My favourite is a Basil Grande, a beautiful strawberry Martini with fresh basil and cracked black pepper. Excellent friendly staff, happy to advise on your choice of tipple and even happy to make cocktails off menu.
See www.paradiso.co.uk/index.htm for further information and to check out the sister establishments - Paradiso also comes highly recommended for their fantastic light lunches, made with locally sourced ingredients.
82-84 Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Tel: 0191 232 8923
Nearest Metro Station, Monument. Start from the bottom of Northumberland Street, head past the Tyneside Cinema, and the Fire Station.
Ipanema beach is lined with tents selling food and drink, and renting beach chairs. We like the one run by Jorge, located between Posto 9 & 10, right in front of the Caesar Park hotel. It's called Ordem & Progresso (the motto from the Brazilian flag), and the employees wear shirts in the Brazilian colors of yellow and green. Give your name to Jorge at the tent, and you can run a tab, to be settled when you leave the beach. Until then just wave, and their folks will bring sandwiches, soft drinks, beer, caipirinhas, piña coladas... the latter comes in single (served in a cup) or double (served in a pineapple). Delicious (and huge). The sandwiches are tasty. Best of all, the folks are cheerful, quick, and honest.
Ipanema Beach, in front of the Caesar Park hotel.
The best mexican food in all of London. The restaurant has been here since 1982, so it must have something going for it!
I can recommend the chimichangas, especially washed down with a bottle (or two) of Dos Equis!
5 Langley Street, 2 minutes walk from Covent Garden tube
Bar. Perfect place for pre and post Academy gig drinks. Friendly staff, good drinks and music. Chat to the artists who hang out there before and after gigs.
Oxford Road, just along from Manchester University Student's Union, The Academy.
Film theatre and venue for video art installations. Dramatic modern building among the warehouses of the Ropewalks area. American Independent and Continental films with bar and cafe. Excellent independent cinema and good stop off for coffee or quiet beer.
Once you have explored the varied architecture, trendy shopping and vibrant cafe culture of the city centre and want a more laid back, yet very chic urban experience, take the number 111 or 46 bus from the city centre and get off by the Metropolitan pub on Lapwing Lane or Burton road (about 3.5 miles south of the city centre). This is the heart of West Didbsury. It is full of chic little boutiques, retaurants, bars, curious little shops, art shops, furniture shops, a couple of small supermarkets and so on. Everything you need concentrated into a small area, full of really nice people.
The age range here is much lower than the national average, having said that there are plenty of more "mature" people coming here for the excellent restaurants.
Best place to start is with a laid back coffee or glass of wine (perhaps light lunch) at the Assembly. Sit outside on the veranda if you can. It's great for people watching. If you are there in the evening, perhaps try the Lime Tree next door(also has a veranda) which is one of the most sought after restaurants in the city and then I recommed trying the One Lounge bar on the corner of Lapwing lane and Burton road or M20 cocktail bar not far from there down Burton Road. Also the magnificent Metropolitan Pub/Restaurant (opposite). It's one of the most famous pubs in Manchester.
From West Didsbury you can either walk or drive about a mile to Didsbury village. Or take the 23 bus. Didsbury main high street which is also known as Didsbury village (though villagey it is not!) is the more traditional but still very fashionable part of the area. It's much larger than West Didsbury with even more restaurants and shops than West Didsbury, but perhaps more of a traditional family environment with slightly older crowds than West Didsbury. There is still a younger crowd in the evenings and weekends, especially on sunny days, with pretty much all the bars and restaurants having outside seating. I would recommend eating at Felicini Italian restaurant. It's one of the best known in the city. You probably need to book ahead though (as you do for the Lime Tree in West Didsbury).
look up post code M20 2WS on multimap.
If you want a two-hour-long, food/beer-sozzled route to see a Manchester City game, as well as a chance to feed some geese, this is my dream route to my seat in the East Stand lower tier from Piccadilly Square: from Piccadilly, with your back to 1960s megalith, Piccadilly Plaza, you head up Tib Street to the YADGAR curry house. If you're veggie, you can get rice and three curries for £3.00 - same price as a pint in some of the Northern Quarter bars. £3.90 and you get lamb or chicken toppings too. Best tarka dhal in Manchester.
After that, you could go further up Tib Street and drink in Centro and then have another pint in the Copper Kettle, a pub whose restoration ran out of money - look at the ceiling on one side of the pub, and then the other. One side was restored, the other remains as it was when the building was almost derelict. However, if you choose to hit Great Ancoats Street at this stage, all there is from there is street and no canal. Instead, after Yadgar, I suggest you go back towards Piccadilly and locate the Mother Mac pub, on a side street off Oldham Street. This, I imagine, will remain like something out of Victorian times even long into another era in which Manchester aspires to make its eastern central section resemble a damper, rainier New York.
From Mother Mac's, you could stock up on samosas at Marhaba, one of the other remaining low-price curry houses in the city centre, or maybe buy some bread and head towards the canal - there's an entrance on to the towpath on Ducie Street, which is the road bearing left as you reach the ramp leading towards Piccadilly Station. Once on the canal, the geese are very 'people-friendly' - in other words, mind your fingers.
Continuing up the canal, you'll reach steps at Great Ancoats Street. Following crowds towards the ground, my final stop is the Bank Of England pub. It's not just a no-frills pub - it's a no-stitching-at-all pub. The toilets are signposted by a male and female pointing figure silhouette shapes, but the male silhouette says 'women' on it and the female one 'male' - everyone turns the wrong direction the first time, like one of those psychological tests where they write 'blue' on a red-coloured board. Once you've survived this delightful obstacle course, remember, you've still got a football match to watch, and the return leg into town afterwards to negotiate. As is often said of Manchester City, it's the 90 minutes in the middle that ruins the experience.
Between Manchester Piccadilly and Sportcity.
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