Réunion in detail

Drinking & Nightlife

St-Denis, St-Gilles-les-Bains, L'Hermitage-les-Bains and St-Pierre have a lively bar and club scene. Elsewhere, it's pretty tame. Restaurants and cafes are happening spots at night, and most restaurants tend to be good places to linger with a few drinks.

All resorts and top-end hotels have an in-house bar that’s also open to nonguests.

What to Drink

Rum, rum, rum! Up in the hills, almost everyone will have their own family recipe for rhum arrangé, a heady mixture of local rum and a secret blend of herbs and spices. In fact, not all are that secret. Popular concoctions include rhum faham, a blend of rum, sugar and flowers from the faham orchid; rhum vanille, made from rum, sugar and fresh vanilla pods; and rhum bibasse, made from rum, sugar and tasty bibasse (medlar fruit). The family rhum arrangé is a source of pride for most Creoles; if you stay in any of the rural gîtes or chambres d'hôtes you can expect the proprietor to serve up their version with more than a little ceremony.

Réunion being French territory, wine is unsurprisingly taken seriously. Along with French wines, you'll find a good choice of South African reds and whites. The island also has a small viniculture in Cilaos, where you can do a tasting.

The local brand of beer, Bourbon (known as Dodo), is sold everywhere. It is a fairly light, very drinkable beer. Other local beers include the Picaro, which comes as a pale ale and an amber ale. Foreign beers are also available, including the Belgian Kékette. For a refresher, nothing beats a fresh fruit juice or a glass of Cilaos, a high-quality sparkling water from Cirque de Cilaos.

The French take their coffee seriously and it's a passion that hasn't disappeared just because they're now in the Indian Ocean. A cup of coffee can take various forms but the most common is a small, black espresso called simply un café.