Here in Bermuda we’re currently in the midst of a four phased reopening of the economy, with Phase 4 culminating with the opening of L.F. Wade International Airport. I’m happy to report that today is the official start of Phase 2, which to the delight of many includes the ability for restaurants and bars with outdoor seating to finally serve dine in guests. This being Bermuda, we’ve got dozens of such breezy places, so I’ve compiled a list of establishments that should be open as of today. I say should because of course, it’s still very unclear what restaurants have the capacity to reopen, but here’s my list of al fresco spots that potentially could open up beginning today. Foodies, you can thank me later.
Assuming hotels and resorts will remain closed for the foreseeable future, I would assume that also means hotel restaurants too, will remain shuttered—so don’t expect to score an outdoor table at Marcus’ (Hamilton Princess & Beach Club), Breezes (Cambridge Beaches), Coconuts (The Reefs), Beach Club (Rosewood Bermuda), and The Ocean Club (Fairmont Southampton) anytime soon. The two major exceptions in this category? Mickey’s Beach Bistro at the Elbow Beach Hotel, which will begin accepting dinner reservations beginning Saturday, May 23; and The Pink Beach Club at The Loren, which will start hosting dine in guests starting Friday, May 22.
Cue slow clap.
Now let us turn our attention to the City of Hamilton, where restaurants have been clamoring to serve in house guests ever since the lockdown began. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Little Venice Wine Bar will be serving lunch and dinner on its sidewalk patio. And I can also confirm that Harry’s is accepting reservations on its waterfront patio as of today. But the rest of the dine in picture seems murky at best.
No doubt Rick Olson will make a push to serve food and drinks at Bermuda Bistro at the Beach, which has sidewalk seating. And The Terrace seems like another good candidate for nibbles and drinks, since its spacious balcony allows for social distancing. The outdoor deck of The Lobster Pot has potential. As does the open-air dining room at Bulli Social, where ‘dawgs’ and fully loaded burgers were served with aplomb next to Par-la-Ville Park. I’m guessing Devil’s Isle will ramp up farm-to-table service on its sidewalk patio. And even Docksiders could begin pouring tap beer again, served on its Front Street picnic benches while Flannagan’s just down street could no doubt host revelers on its second-floor terrace where Guinness and pub grub go hand in hand. Sadly, Huckleberry at the Rosedon Hotel has no plans to open its breezy porch for lunch or dinner anytime soon, but you can still order its Southern-inspired food for curbside pickup or via the Sargasso app.
Remember, we’re making baby steps here but not all restaurants have cause to celebrate.
The beloved Swizzle Inn in Warwick has already shut its doors for good. And Island Restaurant Group (IRG) properties are in dire shape, according to IRG owner Phillip Barnett. That means Hog Penny, Barracuda, Brew and even Pickled Onion with its cramped outdoor area won’t open for dine in guests anytime soon. And I’m guessing the Yellowfin Group’s restaurants including Port O Call, Ruby Murray’s, Bistro J, Yours Truly, Pearl and Astwood Arms will be similarly affected, despite some of them having small patios or balconies. And those aforementioned hotel restaurants? Without a true tourist season, those restaurants, including island stalwarts such as the Waterlot Inn and new favorites, like Sul Verde don’t have a good outlook at the moment.
That’s why I’m headed out to lunch today—to support an industry that will otherwise die without our much-needed dollars. I’ll be sitting at an outdoor table at Harry’s, once known for its power lunches and post work happy hours. Who knows when those days will return. But what I do know is that I’m excited to get back to some sense of normalcy while sharing a socially distant meal with friends.
I hope you do the same, soon.