Nassau and Paradise Island are the Bahamas' liveliest nightlife hubs. In Nassau, you'll find everything from local pubs to music venues to clubs and casinos. Club Waterloo does its darnedest to make spring break last 365 days a year, while Graycliff, on West Hill Street, is a good place for an after-dinner cognac and a hand-rolled cigar made right there by a skilled team from Cuba. If you want to skip the cigar and just have a quiet mojito or aged rum with some background music, head for the piano lounge of Café Martinique at Marina Village. On Sundays, the weekly fish fry takes place in a small, colorful collection of wharf shacks known as Heritage Village—or, as the locals call it, Arawak Cay—about five minutes west of downtown.
Cabarets at the resorts on Cable Beach and Paradise Island often showcase headline performers like LeAnn Rimes or the Beach Boys. And there's always music and excitement at the megaresort Atlantis. Its most happening nightlife venue is the Aura nightclub, reached by a two-story blue-glass grand staircase. For a quieter ambience on Paradise Island, one of the most inviting bars is the new Sea Glass lounge at The Cove, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace overlooking the ocean (242-363-6900, ext. 69396).
Apart from special events such as Junkanoo, an "early to bed, up with the roosters" lifestyle limits the Out Islands' late-night scene to resort lounges and a few bars. The main occasions for revelry are fish fries: Often held on Wednesday or Saturday nights (depending on the island), these events draw a local crowd to sip cold Kaliks by the water while a band plays and fishermen chop up conch salads. The best way to find the action, since it's sporadic (and often spontaneous), is to ask the staff at your hotel for the inside scoop. Be sure to try the popular "sky juice" cocktail, a potent concoction of gin and condensed milk that will have you seeing tropical stars in a whole new way.