A long-term Negombo institution, Rodeo Pub has been around since 1996, servicing tourists and local partiers alike on the Poruthota strip. Ensconced between Serendib and the beach, the Pub may look marginally dingy from outside, but that's part of the schtick.
With one wall completely open to the road, it lures revellers (read : stag night boys) in with the warm glow of its lit up beer bottles. Cosy. This may be the most un-Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills spot in existence. However, they've really stuck to the Americana desert theme, with cacti, high wooden trestle tables, plenty of beer, neon lighting, and the skulls of cattle. Although the bar is so old maybe those were actually just cows when it opened up.
It's simple in concept, and cluttered in decor, which I'm a fan of. The kind of bar that makes you feel like it's your local and you're a local. I felt more than comfortable perched cross legged and settling down for a happy hour session. There's also testimonies and "we were here"s all over the walls and ceilings, in case your friends are boring and you need reading material.
The service was stellar too. The manager, who's apparently been with the bar a solid 20 years, and the waiter, who's probably been on the Earth a solid 20 years, were both lovely and helpful. They were friendly and chatty, and informed me about their happy hour deals. We ordered some mojitos, to which they readily agreed before they realised they didn't have ingredients. I then saw the waiter quickly slip out to the market and hustle back to whip up the drinks. There's something to be said for a small town!
The drinks were generally pretty reasonable, cocktails all between around Rs. 350 (for an Arrack Sour, for example) and Rs. 700. Shots are around Rs. 300 (or 300 for something fancy like tequila), and beers are about Rs. 320 for a big bottle of Lion Lager. All very cheap by Colombo standards (and now by Negombo standards too).
The happy hour discount was pretty great too, 3 drinks for the price of two. So 3 of us had a caipirinha each which eventually came to about Rs. 380 each. Superb. You can essentially spend a long boozy night here and not have to mortgage your house the next morning.
Simple and effective, we like Rodeo's consistent strategy. They do cheap drinks with great service, in dingy yet cosy surroundings. It's also a great nighttime spot, with racuous upbeat music and a plethora of lobster-pink tourists in wifebeaters and beach wraps. A Negombo staple.