O’Reagen’s pub is worth a visit. Dark, dingy and a toilet that is only to be used in desperation. But they do a great pint of Guinness. Slowly pulled, watched carefully, topped up - it’s a work of art. This is a tiny bar to be comfortable in. Other customers come in and greet you. “Hwarya?” or “Hwzitgoin?” Like old friends and by the end of the night they are.
If you’re feeling hungry, get some fresh hake or John Dory from the boats in the harbour, stuffed with lemons, limes and local butter. Wrapped in the Irish Times, soaked in spring water and twenty minutes on the barbecue, they’re served with soda bread from the village and spuds freshly dug from over the road. A veritable feast.
The Sheep's Head peninsula lies about 6 miles west of Bantry.
After a long, hot day exploring Panjim with my parents, the Panjim Inn was like a mirage. We had a cold beer on the heritage hotel’s balcony, rested our legs and ended up staying for dinner. Next time, I’ll give the crass beaches a miss and stay at this laid-back, sophisticated hotel instead.
They have an extensive selection of Hungarian, French, Italian, Far-Eastern dishes and wide range of Hungarian and international wines, drinks and cocktails.
Budapest, Nyári Pál u. 9.
+36 1 266 3277
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.
If you feel hassled and in need of a drink, be careful of this part of town. We had been desperately searching for 'churros' to satisfy the youngster, and felt our prayers had been answered when we saw a sign. We of course sat down without checking prices, and were amazed to see huge glasses arrive - they must have held a litre. On noticing that others also had them I checked a price list - 24 euros! On asking the waiter why we had not been asked if we wanted large or small drinks, we were told that our drinks were actually small, and that 'small' is always offered. This is utter rubbish because inside their bar everybody had normal small glasses. The scam here is to give people these big glasses and demand the money for the large drink they have jst started drinking. They bank on most people not questioning out of fear, and just wanting to leave. Many people needed a credit card to pay off their bill. We felt like fools, but our questioning meant that we only (!) paid 10 euros per drink. It took the edge off what has been a fantastic stay. Watch those drinks!
We stayed at the Cosy Nook on Palolem Beach which was fantastic - stilted
huts right on the beach. Admittedly, ours was by a rubbish heap which seemed to attract cows day and night time...
But the beach was clean and there were loads of good bars and restaurants with fantastic seafood. If a bar wasn't playing Bob Marley, you were treated to either a chilled Ibiza or Café del Mar compilation as you settled down for the evening. The soundtrack should give you an idea of the place!
Palolem Beach is about 2 km west of Chaudi, Canacona District. Cosy Nook is at the northern end of the beach.
Tel: 0832 264 3550
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.
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.
Islamic Cairo is amazing, there is so much to see that we spent three days there looking around.
It's also great in the evening to spend some time in a cafe drinking mint tea or some Turkish coffee and playing backgammon.
The Greek Club and Andreas are two nice restaurants and watering holes in Cairo. The Greek Club, in Midan Talat Harb, is a laid-back place where you drink Stella beer and eat steak and chips with locals.
Andreas is a bit classier at the northern tip of Zamalek, where you sit under tent-like canopies next to the Nile eating mainly Lebanese fare, smoke sheesha, etc.
Greek Club is above the Groppis sweet shop on Midan Talat Harb and Andreas is at the northern tip of Zamalek island.
Minas is famous for its excellent cachaças (if you haven't tasted cachaça yet, think of it as a Brazilian rum, distilled from sugar cane). The Bar do Beco Cachaçaria is a snug spot just downhill from Praça Tiradentes, and offers an excellent selection of delicious mixed drinks with cachaça.
Go down the main street, lined with restaurants, leading off Praça Tiradentes, and the Beco (alley) is on your left, with the Cachaçaria a few steps up on your left.
If the list of 'stylish yet chic wine bars' listed by my fellow sandal wearing media types on GU scare you as much as it does me, go to Lemke. It's a brew pub. It has beer. It has food. It has everything except DJs, cocktails and anything that could be described as 'charming or eclectic'.
The food is German in quantity and style but really the beer is what marks it out. The dark is very nice, the porter is excellent but the wheat is even better. It's friendly, it's always busy and it's easy to get to, even if the road it's on doesn't look very promising. There is even a beer garden.
There are two or three nightclubs in Siem Reap - this one tends to serve the locals more, and is less touristy. When you walk in (you may be frisked for knives) you'll be hit by the loud music (somewhat Western these days: Usher, Black Eyed Peas) and by the pictures of beer from the bar girls. Go for Angkor Beer. It is good, inexpensive. Now settle in and enjoy. Better still go with locals - these guys know how to party.
Just over the bridge from the old market area. A stroll. If in doubt catch a tuk tuk. Goes from 8:00pm to around 1:30am. (Remember, you'll be up at dawn to see Angkor, right?)
This cafe-restaurant also offers wine tastings and sells wine and the terrace overlooks the vineyards and karri forests beyond. It's a good place to stop for a glass of wine if you need to steady your nerves after climbing the Gloucester tree.
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