There is nothing better in Havana than sitting in the Cathedral Square. There's a fabulous cafe with white umbrellas. Drink the mojitos and enjoy watching the world go by. It's one of the best views in the city.
In front of the old cathedral in central Havana
Singapore has a tremendous range of food and drink but the ColBar is a unique restaurant that is redolent of the colonial repast enjoyed by British ex-pats since it opened in 1948. It is run by Mrs Lim and is located in Portsdown, a quiet suburb with a pleasantly “arty” ambience.
The restaurant is a wooden-walled shed with school canteen tables, aluminium ashtrays and a concrete floor. Ceiling fans circulate the air affectionately and football team photos adorn the wall. It’s basic, and is all the better for that. The food is good Malay and Chinese but you can get the full British breakfast if required.
This is a much loved place that has already had one close call with the wrecking ball of progress. It was relocated lock, stock and wok a few years ago when an expressway was planned. The locals fought a rearguard action and the ColBar was saved. It doesn’t open on Mondays but is a fantastic place to relax away from the commercial bustle of Orchard Road and the Central Business District.
9A Whitchurch Road, off Portsdown Road
Great bar on Obispo, one of the main thoroughfares in Habana Vieja (old town), great all-girl band in mid-late afternoons with a relaxing atmosphere, in the same street as the Hotel Ambos Mundos which contains Hemingway's room (no. 52). Also, there is an excellent bar in Calle O'Reilly, nearby - don't worry, it's not an Irish bar!
Calle Obispo 316, esquina de Calle Aguiar, Habana Vieja;
Beautiful frescos and ambience. Step back in time. Opened in 1720. If it was good enough for Casanova, Lord Byron, Proust and Rousseau, its good enough for me!
Piazza San Marco, facing the Basilica, it is on the right hand side about half way along;
tel: (041) 520 5641;
Music. Atmosphere. Forget tourist traps like the Floridita, even though it's a good place to start. Proceed a short walk south to the Bar Monserrate on the eponymous street, or east on Obispo to Lluvia de Oro, Cafe de Paris or two small bars on the south side of the street, the first Escabeche, the name of the second one escapes me, for cheaper drinks, better atmosphere and great music. Obispo is fun in the daytime too.
Bar Monserrate is on Avenida de Belgica, near Calle Obrapia
Inside it looks as though the proprietors paid a visit to the Lord Chancellor's residence and liked the wallpaper. Decor aside, Goldbrick House has had a great deal of time, effort and thought put into it and is a nice place to eat and drink. Noteworthy is the balcony on the top floor looking out onto leafy Brandon Hill to one side and down into the city on the other.
69 Park Street, BS1 5PB;
tel: (0117) 945 1950;
I went to the John M Keating bar, whilst over in Dublin, on my hen weekend, what a lovely enviornment, with lovely surroundings, service, staff, and atmosphere. We had a really enjoyable experience there and I would thoroughly recommend a visit. On Sunday afternoon, a string quartet was playing inside, completely different to the evening before!
Mary Street Dublin 1
087 636 3738
Many an up and coming band, including Coldplay, The White Stripes and The Libertines, have played a live gig at The Louisiana. Downstairs is a pub and upstairs is the small function room and stage. Cosy.
Bathurst Terrace BS1 6UA
Cinema housed in former industrial premises with 3 screens showing the best in independent and foreign film. The programme is persistently strong and it plays host to a number of film festivals throughout the year, including the widely praised Brief Encounters short film festival. If film isn't your thing then the Watershed has a superb Cafe/Bar and free wireless connection for laptop boffins.
Right in the heart of the city St Werburghs is a unique neighbourhood which down the years has attracted hippies, travellers and artists to live there. Entry to the farm is free. There is a range of livestock, a community garden, an adventure playground, a farm shop and a cafe which Gaudi appears to have been let loose on. Adjacent to the cafe is The Farm pub where on Sunday nights Dj Derek plays from his consummate reggae selection and chats away to the crowd in his Jamaican patois.
St Werburghs BS2 9JY
0117 942 8241
Dockside contemporary art centre built into a 19th century warehouse. Attached to the galleries is a cinema and an impressively stocked specialist bookshop. The provocative cafe bar, designed by artist Bruce McLean, has seating outdoors perfect for summertime. Next to the outdoor seating is a sculpture of Italian explorer John Cabot looking longingly to the harbour's exit and out to the sea beyond.
16 Narrow Quay BS1 4QA
Renowned Bristol jazz joint named after Duke Ellington. The live music every night ranges from traditional New Orleans to more modern interpretations. The walls and ceiling are plastered with old and new jazz posters evoking memories of gigs and artists. Each year over the August Bank Holiday weekend The Old Duke holds its own jazz festival which takes over the lower end of King Street.
45 King Street BS1 4ER
By day it's full of straight-laced solicitors and accountants but by night it becomes a sweaty, smoky cavern pulsating to reggae and funk beats. The underground location adds to the atmosphere. Particularly good on weekends.
34 Portland Square, St. Pauls, BS2 8RG;
tel: 0117 942 4110
This stretch of cobble stone street between St Laurent and Square Saint Louis is forbidden to cars. There are lots of outdoor restaurants, bars, cafes, and it's packed with people at night, especially in the summer. Square Saint Louis is a gem too.
Just find the intersection of Boulevard St Laurent and Rue Prince Arthur;
Metro: St Laurent
Bar with an open-air terrace upstairs. They brew their own decent beer and it's one of the more reasonably priced places on the Plateau.
9 Avenue Duluth East (by Rue St Laurent, with the entrance on Duluth East);
tel: (514) 849 7779;
American hotel is an extremely good place to stay, though a bit pricy. Fantastic location close to museums & night life. Very friendly staff, a real treat, and the hotel's cafe is a fantastic place to have a meal or just a cup of coffee, very beautiful with a distinctly old-times flavour. Excellent value for money. Strongly recommend both places.
Possibly the coolest and smartest bar I have been to. This is at the top of the UFO tower and offers spectacular views. Even better are the cocktails ... not cheap but made in front of you by very friendly staff. Sadly we didnt check this out on Saturday night, when it becomes a club/bar (some more forward planning needed there). The toilets are amazing!
100 krona gets you to the top of the tower
At the UFO tower - Novy Most, Bratislava; tel: (2) 6252 0300;
This is one of many bars in the city centre with outside seating. The location is very pleasant and you can watch the world go by.
Best of all is the pizza ... you pay about £4 for a huge pizza, stone-baked and very nice. Good selection as well, and when you have finished that, the ice cream place next door is well worth a trip. If you are going to 17's at night, be aware that it is very popular with the stag parties, but it's OK for one or two of the cocktails, which are very well made.
Hviezdoslavovo nám. 17, 811 02 Bratislava;
Downstairs there is a bar and cafe with a decent menu to choose from and bean bags to recline in. Upstairs there is exhibition space for artists and a theatre. On the third Sunday of every month there is an ever popular market selling local and organic produce. Architect George Ferguson's salvage and renovation of this building has done a great deal to revive this part of south Bristol. A great place to visit for those with an interest in urban regeneration or who may just fancy a bevvy.
Raleigh Road, Southville BS3 1TF;
tel: 0117 963 0960
Legendary late night pub in boho Montpelier. The DJs spin reggae, there's a good selection of rum behind the bar and Jamaican patties for the peckish. If you're lucky you'll find landlord Dutty Ken in a cooking mood and be treated to some of his finest curried goat. Live music every Sunday that ranges from Gypsy Jazz to Latin, Funk and Dub.
33 Brook Road, Montpelier
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