For more than 300 years 'rum shacks' (or rum shops) have been the staple of sore heads across Barbados. St Nicholas Abbey, the oldest plantation house in the Caribbean, has been distilling rum for 350years well before the quaint wooden shacks that draw people like moths to a flame began to pop-up.
With more than 1500 sprightly coloured shacks across the island, you are never short of a place to refresh when circumventing this incredible pear-shaped isle.
Albeit tiny wooden boxes, some so small you sit on stools outside a window, many rum shacks are family owned and live to sell conveniences to the local community from rum to groceries, snacks to soft-drinks for those with an eye on their watch. Is it ever too early for Bajan rum???
Rum shacks, more those buried in the plantations across island, are discreet soothing places you go for a quiet drink or board game, and catch up on the state of West Indies Cricket. If you want to embrace Bajan society or learn how to play dominoes, pull up a perch and a Mount Gay on ice.
On our Australian Cricket Tour To The West Indies 2012, when driving to North Point on our way around the island, we stopped at Kiddies Rum Shack (pictured) in the Parish of St Lucy. Walking in the door I heard, "Hello, Luke Gillian!"
Charlene, the reservations manager of the hotel we stayed in 2003, was at the bar with her husband, enjoying a refreshing a Banks Beer. Even coming from Australia one can still run into people they know in a rum shack!
It's no surprise Bajans use delightful rum shacks to step away from the struggles of every day Bajan life!!
So significant are rum shacks to Bajan life, the best acronym in the world was created when the Bajan Association of Rum Shops (BARS) was formed to protect the heritage and influence that rum shops have across the Caribbean.
Cheers to that!