“Alderney on loneliness; motorcycle emptiness” – Manic Street Preachers (altered lyric).
On arrival into Alderney in July 2022, I picked up my usual maps and guides to this small island country. It was my first time to visit magical Alderney having previously been in only Guernsey 🇬🇬, Lihou, Jersey🇯🇪, Sark and Herm. Their fellow Channel Islands had been highly impressive, how was Alderney to compete? I even backpacked the national football stadium, known as The Arsenal Ground on a fast and furious hat-trick of days in 2022.
I found out that there are a total of 27 licensed pubs, bars, cafés, hotel bars, restaurants or clubs here in Alderney. This may have increased now, or could be debated but this is what I was told. Over an extended weekend, a hat-trick of days, I visited as many of them as I could as well as squeezing in my usual backpacking sights…the target was to visit over 50% of the bars, so that would mean 14 minimum.
While here in Alderney, I also had lunch at The Blonde Hedgehog 🟡🦔, a Feast Over Fire at La Frette Farm, rode the only railway line in the Channel Islands, enjoyed Prosecco Sunsets and lived it up at the excellent La Ville Hotel in Saint Anne. Here are some of the bars I visited during my short yet action packed stint on this super island.
1.The Shack/The Food Dude, Platte Saline Beach
My first drink in Alderney was dreamlike. Here I was sipping a gin and tonic and munching excellent chicken tacos pre sunset by the beach. This was at The Shack/The Food Dude at the Bottom of Fort Tourgis (Platte Saline), a cool beach in Alderney.
The Food Truck is a shack is run by Roger, the boss at La Ville Hotel, the best hotel in Alderney. It only turns up at the beach at certain times.
Not only did I watch the hot ball sink here, but a throwback to two decades earlier happened as the Condor Ferry that I once worked on sailed past!
2.Bacchus, Victoria Street, Saint Anne
In here I was served by Sara from Madeira in Portugal. I had a very swift craft beer in here called Beavertown Neck Oil IPA, which was £3.50. Looking back, this was the swankiest style of bar I was in. It felt a little bit upmarket, and it’s on the main street – Victoria Street.
I went Guinness loyal here to savour my first Guinness (for £4.50) in the Channel Islands in 7 years and my third concurrent decade to have a pint of black in this archipelago! The Campania is a Ship themed bar. Whilst in here, a brace of crazy ladies came in. Standard in wacaday Alderney.
4.La Ville Hotel Bar,Victoria Street, Saint Anne
The Hotel I slept in had two bars so naturally I sampled both. The main bar was the calm one. I had a brief date here with a lovely Thai lady. We sipped ciders. I also enjoyed two superb hearty breakfasts here.
5.The Chez Bar, Victoria Street, Saint Anne
The Chez Bar is the more lively bar, next door to La Ville Hotel. They had live football, music and every Sunday is a karaoke night. This one has to be done, because as of July 2022, this was the largest bar in Alderney!
6.The Blonde Hedgehog 🟡🦔
I drank in “The Blonde” twice, including having my Sunday lunch here. It’s a really quirky bar, of course with a cool name and stylish interior.
7.La Frette Farm
On an exciting Saturday night in Alderney, I enjoyed a Feast Over Fire at La Frette Farm in rural Alderney. Here I drank Pimm’s, Peroni beer and a glass of white wine.
8.Marais Hall (Alderney’s Oldest Pub!)
Before my trip to Alderney, I asked the tourist board what was the oldest pub in Alderney. It was The Marais and I pencilled this in for a Sunday lunchtime quick pint. It’s located in Marais Square in Saint Anne, the capital city. It’s a traditional British style pub and the football was of course on. I opted for Guinness. Very friendly landlord, football on television and a typical pub vibe.
9.The Braye Bay Inn
Braye Beach is one of 4 beaches I backpacked in Alderney. You can actually pub crawl the strip here as there are 4 or 5 bars. I popped into the swanky Bray Bay Inn for a cappuccino and Wi-fi blast. This joint is also a hotel.
10.The Diver’s Arms
The second bar was cool here. They served the local Herm Ale. Green Day song “Time of Your Life” was on when I was here and there was an astronaut / diver fake guy sitting in the corner. I wanted to sing “There’s divers in the divers arms, divers arms”!
11.The Old Barn
This was probably the most rural bar i was in apart from the barn/farm. Yet The Old Barn was actually by the old fort, which is on sea! I tried a Patois Ale here from the bottle which cost me £4.10.
12.Alderney Golf Club 🏌️⛳
Alderney has a national football stadium and a national golf course!
In here I opted for Guinness which was in a can but I poured it into a glass and this cost £3.30. There were a good bunch of lads in here celebrating one of the boy’s 50ths. They hailed from England and Scotland. Amongst them Bradford City fans, Leeds United fans and Hibernian fans.
For a wee hidden gem with a beer garden, I veered up a hill on the main street to be served by a nice lady from Thailand. We shared travel stories before she said yes to a quick date. This was Bumps Bistro. It had a lovely beer garden.
14.The Coronation Inn
Another textbook British style pub this place. Football on the telly, lads chat, regulars, pub grub, barmaid, music being played. Decent for a quick pint.
(15. Top Secret!: The Biker’s – I cannot tell you where it is)
Now this was the secret one, arguably the best on the list!! It is not a legal bar at all. And finding this bar and getting accepted into this bar is by invite only! Luckily, or by my sheer detective skills or willingness to chat to locals, I received invites here on the Friday and the Saturday night! Expect a dark, grungey bar full of late night revellers. Rock music, tattooed bikers, whiskey sinkers all congregate here.
Another real charm about this place is that because it’s a secret bar and not legal, no money is exchanged on the bar, nor card payments. What you do is pay to one of the lads for a “card” which is worth £10 as a voucher. You then ask at the bar for a drink and they stroke off the value of that drink on the card you have. It’s like a token system! Classic!
16.Aviator Cafe: Airport Bar Loyal
On my final farewell from wacaday Alderney I had time for a last beer in the airport bar. In fact, I was surprised that this airport even had a bar. It’s one of the smallest airports that I’ve ever flown in and out of. The weirdest thing was that as I was leaving the country and sitting in that bar, the only other customer there was a lady from Northern Ireland!! She was from Omagh and called Edwina. You might think that isn’t a weird freak, but 13 years earlier as I was leaving Sark, I met a lady from Northern Ireland also!! Plus, just after this, I would end up meeting Matt Le Tissier’s brother Kevin!!
A fine final toast till that there magic in Alderney. I visited over 50% of the country’s pubs in just one weekend, having at least one drink in each (in many, multiple). I can assure you that if I had focused on bars ONLY, and not sightseeing, or if I limited myself to one drink per bar, I would easily have been able to have a drink in them all.
Maybe yousens can all go there and do that. God bless and thanks Alderney, you were so great and sheer bliss!
Here are a few videos I made in the bars of Alderney: