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A Day in the City: A Hamilton Shopping Itinerary

From Monday to Saturday, most of Bermuda’s 65,000 residents will make their way to the City of Hamilton, the island’s capital and international business hub. While compact, it’s packed with many of the same goods and amenities found in any big city.

City of Hamilton, the Capital of Bermuda

City of Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda

But if you’re looking for an offline shopping experience – one you can only get out here – Hamilton is full of retailers looking to inspire buyers with Bermuda-designed and handmade gifts.  

Start off in the centre of town for brunch at Devil’s Isle Café, a buzzy, all-day farm-to-table restaurant with plenty of options from eggs to hearty bowls, noodles, paleo salads and sandwiches. Their skilled baristas boast the best cup of joe in the city brewed with their house-roasted beans, available for purchase at the take-out station.

Make your way to Front Street for harbor views along the main shopping strip. From a revived floral collection to modern, innovative scents inspired by Bermuda today, master perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone has made fresh success of the Bermuda Perfumery, leading to a Lili Bermuda boutique in the Emporium Building. As well as their signature fragrances, Ramsay-Brackstone’s line offers luxury candles, samplers and creamy soap-on-a-rope from the thoughtfully-designed, luxury space on Front Street, once home to Louis Vuitton. 

Walking west along Front Street, A.S. Cooper & Sons Limited is a family-owned department store that has been a Bermudian staple since 1897 – a badge they wear with pride. Among the home decor you’ll find colourful tea towels, pillows and drinkware that celebrates the island’s lifestyle in vibrant illustrations. Bermuda Lighthouse Rum Cakes, photography books and cotton sweaters emblazoned with Bermuda can be found alongside the original Astwood Dickinson Bermuda charm collection of longtails, treefrogs, moongates and, former currency, the Hog Shilling in gold or silver. Menswear branch, A.S. Cooper Man at 29 Front Street, offers classic Bermuda-style with Smathers & Branson belts, wallets, caps and key fobs featuring local motifs in their signature leather and needlepoint; fun socks with colourful Gombey dancers, Bermudiana flowers, buses or green turtles; shorts embellished with flags, Bermuda sloops or longtails; and an exclusive Ralph Lauren Bermuda collection of polos and golf shirts.

Local brands TABS and Coral Coast have kept the knee length shorts-and-socks-combo relevant with their updated take on classic Bermuda style. Though relatively new, TABS call themselves the authentic Bermuda short with good reason – owner and designer Rebecca Singleton worked tirelessly to get the perfect fit for this mid length classic, eventually branching out to socks, swim, polos, and ladies’ ready-to-wear. With new colours every season you’ll have reason to return again and again.

TABS store

TABS store

| Credit: Catherine White

Coral Coast, in contrast, began at the top – a line of smart-casual shirts, in universally flattering pastels, designed in Bermuda and tailored in New York, each bearing their signature Bermuda Blue Angelfish logo. Branded caps, shorts, polos and more have since followed and can be found at their flagship opposite the Ferry Terminal.

Nicole Golden, owner of Urban Cottage: Bermudians "love showing visitors a good time."

Next door, Urban Cottage occupies two floors in the historic Somers Building, curated by owner and buyer, stylist Nicole Golden. From the entry wall of old Bermuda street signs to the Bermuda photographs that cover the walls, her mix of new and vintage extends to her wares. Golden sells edgy fashion, homewares and colourful cushions and dish towels with old Bermuda prints and maps as well as locally-made teas, bath and beauty products.

&Partners interior

&Partners on Par-La-Ville Road

Continuing west on Front Street, you’ll hit the corner of Par-la-Ville Road. There you’ll find & Partners, a gift and design store founded by husband and wife duo Peter Lapsley and Andrea Sundt. Naturally, the store favours Scandinavian and New York brands – Lapsley is Bermudian, Sundt Norwegian and the artists met and lived in Manhattan – but they have also become a brick and mortar space for local artists and artisans to showcase their wares. Their 11 Bermudian designers include UK-based Jahday Ford, an avant-garde glassblower, jeweller Rebecca Little’s minimalist nautical collection and Alex Davidson’s wooden spoons made locally from Bermuda cedar or Surinam cherry branches. No two are the same and “they are made to be used” Sundt insists.

“At & Partners our belief in working with Bermudian makers, artisans and small businesses comes from being makers ourselves. We understand that there are talented people making well designed, well-made objects in Bermuda that have a story and we want to shine a light on that.”

Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery in Bermuda
Credit: Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery

Next door is Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery, a pastel pink space with contrasting driftwood shelves and Bermuda concrete desk with tiny, flickering LED lights that have the effect of scattered diamonds. Renowned for her pink sand pieces, Mosher’s boutique celebrates Bermuda’s textures and landscape. The mural at the front was made by local artist Nikki Murray Mason and she will happily give you a tour of her working studio where you can see her hand carve her designs in wax while “sand fairies” work meticulously to place the island’s iconic coral sand in place.

Replenish your energy with coffee at Milan Milan. Alongside your classic Italian cappuccino, drinks and dry goods, you’ll find locally made treats including vegan, frosted layer cakes in indulgent flavours such as pistachio or double chocolate by St. David’s bakery Sweet + Kind.

Following their grand renovation, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club boosted their retail offerings with FH by Luxury Gifts Bermuda, creating a ladieswear, menswear and resort shop that caters to visitors and local shoppers alike. They are the exclusive retailer of Hamec, a line of silky, tropical print resortwear, including maxi dresses, camisoles, rompers and skirts designed locally by best friends Patricia Borland and Cary Butterfield. Other Bermudian brands include ladies’ swimwear brands Axil and Novah Swimwear, Nature-inspired jewellery by Airy Heights Design and a line of organic body care products by Tricia Lines.

Nothing speaks to the Bermuda lifestyle like Makin’ Waves. Created by two childhood friends in the 80s, they are the go-to for gear and active apparel to enjoy time in and on the water. As well as surfboards, paddleboards, wetsuits, sunglasses and swimwear from major, global brands, they stock their own line of branded t-shirts, sun-shirts and rash guards for all ages and genders. Among the racks of classic boardshorts they stock local favourite, Bermies, a shorter swim trunk that pays tribute to the island with bright prints with sharks, turtles, scooters and more. Florida-based founder Uki Deane was inspired by the island when creating his fast-drying, stylish and stretchy styles.

For the perfect keepsake, Della Valle’s custom sandals are fitted to your foot in their Queen Street shop. The Italian craft marries perfectly with Bermuda’s climate and owner Vincenzo Della Valle offers a variety of heel heights, Tuscan leather straps and sparkly embellishments that feature island motifs such as coral, turtles and seahorses. Each finished pair comes your initials embossed in the leather sole

For more Bermuda-branded luxury, Reid Street boutique Atelerie offers a selection of designer collaborations that will remind you of your time out here. Owner and buyer, Heather Macdonald, has found a way to show off her beloved island with jewellery, accessories and art. You’ll find charms by New York favourite Helen Ficalora that bear the Bermuda silhouette; silver and gold-plated coordinates bracelets and pendants; gold foiled, leather pouches and card wallets; soft tees, sarongs, baseball caps and leather handled market bags by globally-conscious brand Apolis.

A few doors down you’ll find Phoenix, a local drugstore and Reid Street institution that satisfies almost every need. They have shelves dedicated to Bermuda-made products including Passion Fields Honey produced by bees island-wide and Chef Chico’s line of Smokey Rubs.

Across the street look to Brown & Co. and the adjacent Bermuda Bookstore for local literature – historical and fiction – and children’s books, including artist and author Elizabeth Mulderig’s Tiny the Treefrog series. Follow along on Tiny’s interactive Story Walk on boarded posters in next-door Queen Elizabeth Park.

On the corner of Queen and Front Street is Gosling’s. Creators and purveyors of the original Black seal rum, it’s worth stopping in on their Hamilton store. Beyond the original black, you’ll find fine wines from all over the globe, often available for tasting, and other original rum and spirit blends, including Bermuda Gold, a loquat liqueur.

Up Old Cellar Lane, a narrow, cobblestone alleyway next to The English Sports Shop, you’ll find a burgeoning retail scene. Joanna Stapff began making jewellery under the label 1609 Design, selling at Harbour Nights before moving into her intimate space. Colourful tote bags, printed with her whimsical, yet edgy designs surround her semi-precious jewellery displays. She describes her style as “bohemian” and her dainty necklaces, earrings and bracelets make ideal souvenirs and gifts.

Opposite you’ll find Naked Zero, a waste free, eco-conscious shopping experience. Owner Sue Khan stocks natural beauty and household products, bamboo toothbrushes, apparel and metal straws, as well as local products from Surishae Co. whose plant-based shampoo and conditioner consistently fly off the shelves. Under the same roof, pick up Ase Naturals, a line of lunar charged body oils and teas, sweet treats from Sweet + Kind. Natural, aluminium free deodorant from PondaPits and Loquat Roots’ locally-crafted, organic tea.

End your day, resting on the mezzanine level of Brew for Happy Hour. This deli and coffee shop offers craft beer made in the Dockyard Brewing Co.’s West End microbrewery, cold-brew coffee and a white-tiled “wine wall” with reds, white, rosé and bubbles on tap.