Barbados Rum Shops are woven into Barbadian history and culture, going back 300 years or more. Rum was perfected in Barbados; the process of cold pressing and distilling rum from cane juice was a Barbadian innovation. There are more than 1500 rum shops all over the island, at least one in every village. Soon after the island was settled in 1627, the rum trade flourished and it’s said there was one rum shop for every 20 inhabitants of the island.
The rum shop was and still is a traditional gathering place for people of all backgrounds, nationalities and classes to socialise and discuss just about everything. The more rum gets drunk, the more heated the discussions can become! You can bet that there’s many a lively discussion about cricket and politics!
Barbados Rum Shops are small in size and traditionally attached to the owners house, made in the original chattel house style. They are always brightly decorated, advertising products, for example types of beer, liquor or other products.
As well as enough rum to choke a donkey with a strong constitution, you can purchase beers, spirits and soft drinks. Snacks are often available and some have local specialities like fish cakes make from salted cod fish or pudding and souse; a traditional Bajan dish, hot and spicy, using every part of the pig. Food and drink in a traditional rum shop will be much cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere. Usually the rum is bought by the bottle with a large container of ice on the side. Don’t go there expecting quiet reflection though ! Barbados rum shops are usually noisy, the language can be expletive and loud; points being made by definition of the volume not necessarily validity of argument ! However, the topics debated tend to be intelligent and informative. Assuming you can understand the dialect, you can learn a great deal about Barbados by eavesdropping on the conversations. You can expect to find very competitive games of dominoes and cards, serious karaoke, tasty snacks and an inexhaustible supply of rum and gossip !
Seeking adventure in a foreign land? Try a Guided Group “Strictly Bajan” Rum Shop Tours – a very special Morning tour of The Rum Shop Culture & Barbadian Heritage.
Article by Karen Whittaker of Paradise Rentals Barbados – promoting luxurious holiday rentals for that luxury holiday in Paradise.