Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Eating and Drinking in the South Atlantic

So, here we are in the Falkland Islands - 4 months into a 2-year stint.  Enjoying the simple life in Stanley, the capital, with about 3,000 other souls (census results out soon!).  A few friends from the UK have asked what is there in the way of eating and drinking spots?  I don't claim this report to be comprehensive, but in the interests of research, I have crossed the threshold of many of the local establishments....

One thing to know is that all beer on the island is imported in cans or bottles, so most places sell the same brands of drink as the others.  The two supermarkets sell a range of drink which they buy from either Waitrose or Sainsbury's.   However, a local chap has just been granted a licence to sell his own brew (which I tasted at Fitzroy Sheep Show), so that's something many of us are looking forward to.

Otherwise, the beers are usually cans of Guiness, Boddingtons, Tetleys, Spitfire (bottled), Strongbow or Tennents Lager.  The wine tends to be Chilean.  Occasional shortages make for some novel combinations.  In March, all pubs had run out of tonic, so a strange variety of gin-based drinks were invented, until the next shipment arrived from the UK!

Victory Bar.  "Husband Creche"
The Victory.
Central, popular bar, with good kitchen.  I like the Geochron display on the wall, so I can see what time of day it is anywhere in the world.  ("Damn, I was supposed to phone my sister in Perth, but it's just gone midnight there!") .  Has a busy hot food stall in the car park at weekend evenings, when the pub kitchen is closed.

Rose Bar.  Looks can be deceptive.

The Rose Bar
Quieter  (when I've been there), traditional pub, a few streets away from the "main drag", so perhaps not found as easily by visitors..

Deanos, formerly Kelper Stores. Much bigger than it looks.

Deanos Bar.
Popular, central pub with a couple of pool tables.  Entertainment of some kind most evenings.  Several TVs, often showing UK football matches (but with excitable South American Spanish commentaries from ESPN - eg, "Rooo-neeeeeey!!!!  Gooooooooaaaaalll !!!!",   "Tevezzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!  GOOOOAAALLLLL!!!!!!!").

Globe Tavern, as seen in Argentine Olympic adverts.

Globe Tavern.
Iconic watering hole beside the Jetty.  Often the first place cruise passengers head for, and some go no further up the hill.  The place to be photographed outside, whether you are a cruise ship passenger or Argentine athlete getting some early-morning propaganda in.  Lots of memorabilia, and pleasant garden. Entertainment.  (Don't ask me "what entertainment?" - I'm in bed by 9pm).

Narrows Bar.  Quite wide, actually!

Narrows Bar.
Large modern, spacious bar.  Good views to the Narrows, the entrance to the harbour, at the east end of town.  Decent food with Chilean influences.  Plenty of room and equipment outside for children....fresh air is good for them....

Stanley Arms.  Reminds me of my time in Bootle.

Stanley Arms.
At the other end of town from the Narrows, in a residential setting, is the Stanley Arms.  Friendly local with pool table.  Regular bingo, music and quiz nights.  Friday is Curry Night!  (A sizeable minority of the population is from St Helena as wages are better in the Falklands.  They bring a different culture and cuisine to the islands, as do the Chilean workforce).

Like the town, The Stanley is named after the 14th Earl of Derby, who was Prime Minister of the UK three times in the 19th century, and who ordered the setting up of the town and harbour in its current location.


By a strange coincidence, I used to work in a grim government department, housed in a grim, concrete office block, just off Stanley Road in Bootle, Liverpool.  The Stanley/Derby Earls were big landowners in Liverpool, and are commemorated around the city.  But I can honestly say I am glad I'm not in Bootle now!
I have a few Canadian readers, so they may be interested to know that a relative of the Earl headed to Canada - hence the Stanley Cup!

Malvina House Hotel
Malvina House Hotel.
Prime accommodation in Stanley, with comfortable bar, and, unique in Stanley, has NO pool tables or dart boards!  Good views and good restaurant using local produce imaginatively (the lamb, squid and toothfish are delicious), whenever possible.  Whatever you do, do NOT call it the "Malvinas", as did the BBC people!  You have been warned!  It is named after a former owner.
 Behind the hotel is the Tax Office, where my wife works.

Waterfront Hotel
The Waterfront has a residents' lounge which is open to non-residents eating in the cosy restaurant.  The kitchen is run by the owner, who specialises in Falklands dishes, but with Chilean additions.  As the name suggests, lovely views across the harbour.  There are about 6 comfortable rooms in this boutique hotel.

Some other eateries, less photogenic than the above -

Millers Bar.
On one of the few times I have been here, I had arranged to meet friends.  I noticed two guys playing pool and two barmaids chatting.  I asked for a can of lager, only to be told they weren't open!  Not the sort of welcome I am desperate to receive again!  I believe it is closed and up for sale.

Seamans Mission.
Friendly, economical venue near FIPASS (the Port facility), about 1 mile east of the centre of town.  Home-made food, and library for temporary residents.  There's a pleasant footpath along the coast to it

Michelle's Cafe.
Cafe, run by Michelle; home-cooking, open late.  Probably in the 'greasy spoon' category, and popular as pubs close.

Tasty Treat.
Large selection of meals and baking, with several Chilean specialities

Friendly, popular lunch-time cafe, with large range of home-baking and freshly-made sandwiches. Decent coffee. Closes at 4pm.
Woodbine Cafe.  A Leeds United fan, apparently.
Woodbine Cafe
Traditional and popular chippy. South Atlantic fish like kingclip, hoki, etc.

Shorty's Diner.
Popular, modern American-style diner, with motel attached.  On top of the hill, so great views across town and harbour.  My main issue with Shorty's is the jugs of weak Kona coffee.

The Bread Shop.
Bakery - bread, cakes, rolls, pizzas and 101 things wrapped in pastry.  The bread is good, but I now make my own, which although not quite as good, is very satisfying and always surprising!

I hope this is useful to any potential visitors.  Sorry about the lack of penguins this week, but they must all be out at sea looking for a takeaway.  Here's one that I saw last month......



  1. 3,000 people and all those eateries? Blimey. We don't support that many with 5,000+ souls. You obviously drink a lot down there.
    Bread shop sounds nice though.

    I bet I know which grim Government office was in Bootle too. Lovely people work there!
    Enjoying the Falklands life.

  2. It was St John's House. And I agree, the people were friendly, just the surroundings were a bit dilapidated.
    It may seem there are a few places, but they all seem to be shut at the same time!

    Carrots and tomatoes now about £1.50 each, and no onions in shops for a week. No wonder people resort to pies....

    1. UPDATE - onions and carrots have now reappeared. Carrots £2/kilo.

  3. Lovely to see the old red telephone box, quite a rare sight
    these days, unless you count the 'sculpture' in Kingston!
    I just love Chilean wine - Cheers!! Sue

    1. Yes, Sue, there are a few telephone boxes dotted around. And with luck, I'll soon be tasting some decent Chilean wine at the vineyards near Santiago. I hope it is better than some of the "house wines" in the pubs here - often served from litre cartons! Definitely not gastro pubs!

  4. I am amazed at all the eating places for such a small population. How often do you eat out - and is it expensive?

    Regarding previous post on Skye: Years ago with my small children arrived via the ferry in our motorhome. Searching for (badly signposted) High Street in the Capital stopped in small quiet street and asked a local how far to the Capital - "You are here" here said - then we asked for directions to the High Sreet - "This is it!" he said.

  5. You seem to have a good number of establishments and some range of quality. I must be hard to quarantee supply some drink when there are influxes of tourists.

    Thanks for the head's up on Lord Stanley and his much beloved hockey trophy, The Stanley Cup. It would be nice of Canadian teams were winning it more. It is spending far too much time in the US>

  6. Thanks for the comments - in case I've given the wrong impression, I would add that there isn't a massive culture of eating out, in the main. Those places do serve food, but with the exception of Sunday lunch, and the Malvina and Waterfront, I wouldn't say any pubs are heading towards food being anything but a minor activity.
    Hence why I support the Stanley Arms efforts to attract customers with a tasty curry.

    Yes, when the ships arrive, kitchens are very busy, but I suspect heavy use is made of freezers, as you might expect.

    I suppose drink can run out, but I suspect local warehouses have a good stock in case of surges in demand.

    We eat out about once a week. The curry is about £7 (including rice and nan). A la carte in the Malvina is about £25 for 3 courses. In pubs, fish & chips is about £5, and drinks (can of beer, glass of wine) are about £2 each. So, compared with London, a cheap night out!