Barbados locally distills several brands of rums and even has its own signature brand Mount Gay Rum, one of the oldest and most prestigious rum brands in the world. Having such a rich history in rum production, it is no wonder that rum is a symbol of Barbadian Heritage and Culture, reflected in the fact that the island has over 1500 rum shops in this tiny 166 square mile island. This article will present some of the more popular shops across the island.
But first, what exactly is a Rum Shop?
Of course, rum shops sell rum, but the essence of what a rum shop is goes deeper than the selling and consumption of rum. Rum shops are places where locals meet up to lime (or hang out) eat and of course drink. It gives them a place to unwind and freely air their views about happenings across the island including current affairs, sports and of course politics, share a laugh, and a few stories at any time during the day. Rum shops are identified as social hubs of Barbados and its roots date back 300 years. Let’s not forget the food served in these shops, including the national dish of Barbados, Cou Cou and flying fish, the popular pudding and souse and finger food such as fish cakes. Also, aside from the engaging and entertaining conversations, you are certain to find persons playing dominoes. In recent times, certain neighborhood rum shops have started selling household goods and food items to cater to persons living nearby.
Popular Rum shops in Barbados
With so many rum shops across the island, there is a wide sample to choose from when deciding on which are the best. However, this list is by no means comprehensive as different persons will have different opinions/perceptions about what they consider to be the best.
- R A. Mapp – St. Michael
This is a massive favorite among local especially due to its popular “Mapps” dish – chips and rotisserie chicken, which can be perfectly washed down with a shot of Mount Gay Eclipse. Simply Sumptuous.
- Moontown and St. Elmo Bar – St. Peter
With an electric atmosphere and its delightful local cuisine, you could not ask for a better rum shop on the north coast of the island. Get fresh-off-the-boat fish from right off the grill onto your plate. Don’t forget your Banks beer!
- Lemon Arbour – St. John
Hugely popular among locals due to the thought that it serves arguably the best Pudding and souse on the island, buljol (salted cod) with pickled shrimp and sea cat (octopus).
- Bush Bar – St. Michael
Situated perfectly near the city of Bridgetown, Bush Bar is ideal if you are looking for an all-round experience: great music, food, drinks and an authentic Bajan experience.
- John Moore Bar – St. James
John Moore Bar is very popular for its fish and breadfruit for both breakfast and lunch. It is one of the oldest rum shops on the island.
- Fisherman’s Pub and Grub – St. Peter
This is probably more sedate than the other shops but it offers a fantastic view of the ocean and the Speightstown boardwalk. Also, be sure to check out some of the local cuisine on your visit to Fisherman’s Pub and Grub.
One thing to be mindful of in rum shops is that some persons may engage in abusive language especially when a “hot topic” is raised. However, a rum shop is one of the best places to experience a piece of raw and authentic Bajan culture. Be sure to visit any of these popular shops, or any you come across in your neighborhood.