The fire that broke out in Bobby’s St James yesterday has made April 29th a day that will live in infamy, for as that fire spread it took with it one of the most loved landmarks of T&T culture, consumption, and commerce… Smokey & Bunty’s. Loved. It had become an ideal icon of liming for travelers, convenient to recommend ‘for an authentic experience’ in travel blogs. Seriously, if you google “Smokey and Bunty” you get dozens of pages of reviews, newspaper articles, social media postings, and media mentions. But loved… is past tense, not just because it is now a burned shell, but because the action we’ve all heard about is pretty much relegated to Carnival time these days. So instead of lamenting the place like it was your second home, get real and know more than the myth.
According to a T&T Express article from 2011 when Smokey & Bunty’s celebrated their 22 year anniversary, longtime friends Ricardo McKenzie aka “Smokey” and Renaldo Munro aka “Bunty” shared a passion for drinking beers and football. Smokey played football with Essex and he and Munro were members of Over D’ Hill Boys, a social club that played football and cricket fete matches. They both ran the bar at these fete matches and one day decided to have a commercial bar around the Queen’s Park Savannah for Carnival, making a profit of about $200. They put $100 gas in the car, and bought beers with the rest. While drinking those beers at the Universal Bar in St James, they looked across to a rum shop called “White Eagle” that had not been open for some time. They contacted the niece of the building’s owner, who convinced her uncle to rent them the building and thus was born Smokey and Bunty.
The New York Times totally did a story on S&B in 2011. It mentions the roti lady across the street too.
This is not the first tragedy to befall them, Smokey’s death in 2010 obviously was very difficult for many people, and an awful car accident that injured people while liming on the sidewalk celebrating their 25th anniversary was shocking.
The facebook page to maco/contribute to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Smokey-Bunty/202351269791560
So if any of this hits you, as preservation of various T&T landmarks should, heed Franka Philip’s status on facebook this morning, “Smokey and Bunty’s owners better start a Kickstarter fund for rebuilding because if all the people who are expressing profound loss after the fire put $100 into the fund, they’ll be back in business in no time.” She’s being very tongue-in-cheek of course. But you? Don’t just say you’re sad. Do something about it.
The Date – April 29th
Born: Duke Ellington, Willie Nelson, Bernie Madoff, Dale Earnhardt, Jerry Seinfeld, Daniel Day-Lewis, Master P, and Andre Agassi.
1945 – Adolf Hitler marries his longtime partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker
1967 – After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before for religious reasons, Muhammad Ali is stripped of his boxing title.
1992 – Riots in Los Angeles, following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King.
2011 – Prince William marries Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
2015 – Smokey & Bunty burns in St James