I put on pants yesterday.
For the first time since we arrived in Belize, I set aside the daily uniform of shorts, sandals and T-shirt for a pair of khaki slacks, Hawaiian print shirt, Padres baseball cap and oh yeah, sandals.
No. 1, Rose dolled herself up. I mean looking hot. Walking beside her in T-shirt and sandals just seemed so wrong. (Thump chest.) Respect!
No. 2, last night was the grand opening of Molly Malone’s pub in the dignified but empty edifice just up the road called “the Hotel.” Like the “W” only “the Hotel.”
The place has been one of the great curiosities for Rose and me since arriving here in San Pedro.
Such a grand looking hotel, nicely maintained and apparently still unfinished and so, of course, quite empty. It sits on the lagoon and faces the ocean t probably one of the narrowest sections of Ambergris Caye. How could something so promising sit so forlorn?
So we were pretty intrigued when our friend John East broke the news that the pub and restaurant, at least, were opening. Or, as John points out (at the very end of this blog item), re-opening — because they were in business a long time ago for all of a few weeks or maybe months.
At any rate, not long at all.
John does a great job covering the opening on his blog, with tons of pictures that show the potential of “the Hotel.” We must have missed John and his wife, Rose, by mere minutes when we arrived. Well, I wouldn’t have wanted to get in the way of the working press ….
We got there just in time for the lagoon-side sunset. Confirmed my suspicion that the Hotel’s patio will make a great gathering place for sunset drinks. The landscaped grounds with a little cove, island and footbridge just beckons for a stroll, Belikin in hand.
Naturally I had to go to the lagoon edge in the hope of seeing my first Belize crocodile, as I’d heard a whole family of crocs had been born not long ago a couple hundred yards north of the hotel property.
No luck. But there will be plenty of sunsets on the patio in our future, I’m sure. This place could be like Mallory Square in Key West — sundowner parties, anyone?
The pub itself is just a real comfortable place to sit and sip a stout. Rose looked around at all the heavy dark wood accents and cozy surroundings and mused, “I know where I’ll be sitting when the rainy season arrives!”
We passed on dinner, as ours was waiting for us at home, but the menu has a nice pub food feel to it. John East has a photo of the menu in his blog post.
Picasso Spirits provided the “free shots” advertised for the evening. The Ambergris Caye liqueur company is owned by Peter and Carla Seely.
Picasso Spirits has been around since 2008 but Peter and Carla are really turning up the heat now with new branding and marketing. Their liqueurs, like Moka and Grand Limon, are made from Belize and Ambergris-sourced products like cane sugar, lemons, coffee beans, chocolate and herbs.
Speaking of turning up the heat, their habanera pepper-cinnamon-local brandy infused Spark liqueur sent me reeling back in time, to the days when me and da guys would put two or three Fireballs in our mouths and the first one to spit them out was a loser. Hold in the heat! Manly-boy stuff.
We watched as Peter and bar manager, Patty, built a gorgeous looking chocolate mojito using his liqueur. And wouldn’t you know, there was enough left over for two hefty tasting glasses that materialized in front of Rose and me.
While soaking in the Gaelic ambiance of the pub, we met a nice couple from Colorado who own a condo at Grand Caribe, just up the road. Mark and Rosemary are avid scuba divers who have made some 300-plus dives all over the world in just the past few years. It is always thrilling to hear the ways that people have taken control of their lives and stepped out of the ordinary.
We’ve been fortunate to meet quite a few adventurous people like Mark and Rosemary here on Ambergris Caye. Rose said it best, “Ex-pats are just a different breed of people.”
There is another section of the hotel’s ground floor that is now open, called the Library. If you are the quiet type who just wants to curl up with a light beer and a book, this is your spot.
But I’m holding out hopes that some morning in the near future those nice, but empty, display cases will be filled with pastries, muffins and cinnamon buns and a big pot of coffee will be brewing in back!
Of course, the big hope is that the hotel itself will be finished and filled with happy visitors.
Well, this was a great start.
Any way, that would give me another reason to dress up in real pants.