Sure it’s cliché, but in The Bahamas you’ll have few cares for frivolity (or most anything else). The overriding vibe among these 700 or so islands, islets, rocks, and cays – fun. The best place to tap into it – the colorful array of Bahamian beach bars. Here are five of the best, plus a bonus option that tops them all…
If it's Sunday and you're in the Abacos, then Nipper's is the place to be… assuming you like your beach bar partying wild and occasionally clothing optional, that is… The Bahamas' most notorious weekly party goes down here on Great Guana Cay. Female bar patrons tend to remove their tops during the popular Sunday pig roast soiree, earning Nipper's its naughty name. The bar's signature cocktail, also called a Nipper, no doubt also fuels the fun.
Made from rum, rum, rum, orange juice, pineapple, and grenadine, the Nipper can be enjoyed frozen or on ice, both of which are refreshing and blessedly heavy on the rum.
Sundays may be crazy here, but venture to Nipper's most any other time of the week and you'll find families to be the focus. Kids of all ages splash in and out of the onsite pool, or tumble down the sandy slope to the beach that lines the Atlantic shore.
Exuma Point Beach Bar & Grill
For an even more pronounced family beach bar lime, Exuma Point delivers. A recent entry onto the Bahamas beach bar scene, Exuma Point serves up authentic and affordable local eats and drinks under the direction of Maryann and Elvis, a local couple inspired to create, in Maryann's words: "a wonderful Bahamian experience where people could come, bring their families and share the day with us."
Kids will love the onsite playground and calm seas, while grownups get nice with Bahama Mama cocktails at the bar.
On the opposite end of the age spectrum from Exuma Point you’ll find Billy Joe’s A good 40+ years ago, LONG before any major resorts dotted the shores of Grand Bahama Island, Billy Joe’s started dishing out its special brand of Bahamian hospitality, complete with super hot conch salad and a gully wash that’s pure wickedness. The place is such a beloved local institution that developers of the island’s largest resort project, Grand Lucayan, made sure to leave Billy Joe’s alone despite buying the land upon which it sits.
When you go, be sure to ask for a little “Devil’s Kool-Aid” in your conch salad. The homemade hot sauce will heat you up just as surely as Billy Joe’s famously ice-cold beers will cool you down.
Chat ‘n’ Chill
Ramshackle in every way, a scoundrel atop every bar stool, all manner of discarded clothing hanging from the rafters, strong drinks in every glass – Chat 'n' Chill invites all manner of mischief. Located on Stocking Island, just a quick five-minute ferry ride over from George Town, Great Exuma, Chat 'n' Chill has ranked among the top beach bars anywhere virtually since the day it opened in 1998. If you stop in here on a Sunday afternoon, it's easy to see why.
Chat 'n' Chill celebrates the close of each weekend with a major pig roast party extending from noon until sundown. Billionaire megayacht owners, celebrities, and anyone seeking a little fun – and a lot of seriously yummy island food – flock here for the festivities.
The vibe can get pretty wild, both inside the bar, where spankings are delivered with a special paddle to those who misbehave; and in the water, where a pair of dolphins, Nicky and Noodle, never miss a chance to mingle with partygoers in the shallows just offshore.
Great beach location, fantastic food, laid back vibe – Cracker P's on Lubber's Quarters Cay checks all the primary boxes for beach bar fun. What separates this place and makes it a personal favorite for me, though, is its extensive rum collection. Cold beer and cocktails made with the most popular blends can be had anywhere. At Cracker P's, though, the true rum connoisseur revels in an inspired collection of 50+ choice rums from all over the Caribbean.
Cruzan Single Barrel (St. Croix), 5-star Barbancourt (Haiti), Appleton VX (Jamaica), Brugal 1888 (Dominican Republic), Mount Gay Extra Old (Barbados), Rhum JM (Martinique), and Havana Club 7 (Cuba) – Cracker P's stocks them all… and more!
All of these seaside watering hole options are great, but the very best beach bars in The Bahamas are the sand bars you'll find peeking above the waterline all around the islands. Bring your own cold drinks and eats, enjoy these singularly special and secluded virgin sandy shores, and be sure to leave nothing behind but your footprints…
Photo Credit: Steve Bennett, UncommonCaribbean.com