The Pickled Onion in Hamilton is a popular meeting place for Bermuda’s opulent and sophisticated crowd. The building, dating from the 19th century, was formerly the headquarters of a local wine and spirit merchants. Now, occupying the second floor of the building it’s a fine use of what used to be the whisky warehouse.
The exquisite bar serves a great selection of beers, wines by the glass and bottle, and creative cocktails. Many choose to spend the entire evening in the bar area, making it consistently and fashionably crammed. Elsewhere there are also numerous tables and booths and you don’t have to be a diner to get a seat. The original slate ceiling with its exposed cedar beams still covers the premises, but the rest of the interior has a contemporary design that blends in well.
Diners here have one of the best alfresco options in the city. The large balcony has great views of both Front Street and Hamilton Harbour. On Wednesdays evenings throughout the summer arrive early to get a bird’s eye view of the entertainment put on for Harbour Nights.
In the season there’s entertainment every night of the week. Graffiti Park is the house band in 2013 and plays a wide repertoire of classic tunes and current chart hits. The in-house DJ is Bermudian Slid James.
It’s also a pretty good place to eat as well. Executive chef Derek Myers hails from Vancouver in British Columbia. The city’s large Asian and Chinese population has clearly had a major influence on the menu. Starters include Bermuda Triangle Shrimp (jumbo shrimp marinated in sweet chilli, wrapped in wonton and coconut, fried crisp and served with a sweet chilli dip) and Avocado Egg Rolls (avocado, sun-dried tomato, red onion and cilantro fried in a crisp wrapper served with a soy-cashew dipping sauce). For an entrée try the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna (with a spicy mango glaze, goat cheese risotto, sautéed vegetables, and black bean salsa)
The Pickled Onion is open 7 days a week, opening at 11 am and closing at 1 am. Lunch is served between 11.30 am and 5 pm, and dinner from 5.30 pm until 10 pm. Reservations aren’t required but may be a good idea at busy times (Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays).
The restaurant enjoys a central location on Front Street in Hamilton. Visitors arriving at Hamilton Ferry Terminal should turn right and walk along Front Street for about 150 yards. The entrance at street level is just a single doorway. Walk up the stairs and you’re in the restaurant. The bus station is just two blocks away.
It’s owned and managed by the Island Restaurant Group, one of the island’s major dining chains. They also run the Hog Penny, Barracuda Grill, Victoria Grill, and the Frog & Onion. It could be worthwhile checking their Facebook page for details of any offers and special events.