Despite being a major cruise ship port and tourist destination, The Bahamas is not a nightclubbing-every-night kind of country. Happy Hours carry most through the week, while late night revelry takes off on Thursdays and continues into the weekend. When things get pumping here, though, the freaks do come out at night—especially in Nassau. If that's your thing, head downtown or to Paradise Island, where you can bar-hop in the early evening and then make your way to one of the top nightclubs to dance the night away. Public holidays are naturally the busiest weekends for entertainment when it comes to hanging with locals, but be on the lookout for major concerts throughout the year and thematic parties around Halloween, Carnival season and other specialty days. Local promoters often bring down international acts and use the nightclubs and other venues for mega shows, and Bahamians turn out. Expect to hear both Caribbean and American music, which is often mixed to techno beats at the large venues. Inside the hotels, the crowd is mixed with locals but dominated by tourists.
There's nothing small-island about this big city-style club, at Atlantis on Paradise Island. You can reliably find upscale, decadent fun on Aura’s novelty glass dance floor or in one of the private VIP booths that line its interior walls. Deejays crank out house music for the crowd of sultry show-and-tell of dancers.
After an unfortunate fire consumed several buildings in downtown Nassau in 2011, Da Balcony —a favorite venue for late-night party vibes—closed for a few years. But the stroke of bad luck did bring blessings in disguise: a new incarnation that's more than twice the size of the old space. Between its outdoor veranda dance floor and the indoor club, Da Balcony is a safe and fun place to let loose in downtown Nassau.
Ibiza Bahamas Beach Club
Ibiza Bahamas is a versatile nightclub, open for both daytime and evening partying. The club’s interiors are dramatic black with multicolored neon light accents; its exteriors are casual island chic with thatched roof gazebos by the poolside draped with white. Staying true to its Mediterranean roots, Ibiza brings its electronic dance music addiction to the Bahamas. Infusing Caribbean rhythms into the mix, Ibiza Bahamas delivers a unique local style.
Neptune’s Cocktail Lounge
When it comes to interior design, this Grand Bahama nightclub has a strange aesthetic: Crude black pillars punctuate the space, doubled by their reflections in the gold-rimmed wall mirrors. The glow of soft neon lights gives the club an intergalactic feel (more suggestive of the planet Neptune than the Roman god of the sea). But none of this will bother you when you are drinking, dancing and having an otherworldly experience here.
If a club wants to maintain a certain chic standard, it is expected they will enforce a dress code and be selective about their admissions. This Nassau venue has a reputation for sometimes going overboard in this way—but it remains one of the more reliable late-night downtown spots for having a sexy, spirited good time, especially with cruise ship passengers and hotel guests. In an upstairs building overlooking the cruise ship port, deejays pump out pop and Euro house music until late in the morning.