From the pages of Sandy Estabrooks Guide to the Abacos, Bahamas
Virtually every tourist destination has a few select iconic spots that are touted as must-sees for all those who visit. Regardless of whether it is a restaurant, a bar, a party place, a historic landmark or a place of natural beauty and splendor, the informed traveler generally possesses some knowledge of what to do and see in their chosen destination before their feet touch the ground. The reputation and popularity of these tourist hot spots is generally enhanced through promotions found in tourist brochures, web pages, print and broadcast media, as well as recommendations by local and national tourism agencies and business operators.
Off the Beaten Path Nightspots
by Stone McEwan
Parts used with permission 2010.
Despite the apparent validity of the reputations earned by these top tourist attractions, some of the more adventurous and experiential tourists might wish to know answers to questions such as these: Are these highly promoted and frequently visited spots the only points of interest for visitors? Do they represent all there is to see and do? What exists for visitors who would prefer a more close up and personal view of the country's people and culture? What is available for persons who wish to stray off the beaten tourist path to have a more genuine experience of the country's indigenous nightlife?
Having fun at Tardies fish fry
It is around midnight when all the popular dance spots and eateries on Marsh Harbour's main waterfront strip go quiet. All though obscured to most visitors, it is also around midnight when Abaco's late-night clubs,
discos and dancehalls come alive. Unfortunately, if an individual
does not interact with the locals, he would not know these Bahamian-owned and operated establishments exist and are waiting to greet him with open arms. As one visitor noted, for those who are curious, there is an entirely other world out there to explore under the stars on Abaco.
The Balcony's Balcony
One such place to check out is "The Balcony." At this popular disco you can connect with Abaco's young people while they are dancing and jamming to pulsating Jamaican music, hip-hop and an occasional Bahamian sound track.
For the sports enthusiast, there is the"DN'R Sports Pub" Here you can engage in lively discussions on current local and international sporting event, with special interests on basketball, football, and baseball.
DN'R Sports Pub
If you wish to engage in a game of pool or a challenging dart game, the DN'R Pub is the meeting place for Abaco's best in both sports.
Indeed, on any given night, one might encounter one of The Bahamas' champions in these sports at this bar. Most Bahamians consider themselves ambassadors and will more than likely be willing to share a game or two with anyoneespecially a visitor. Maintaining the Bahamian hospitality tradition, this bar remains open until the patrons dwindle away.
Back to Sandy's Abaco Guide
Dancing the night away at Tardies
"Club Solid Gold" is Abaco's main dancehall. Most weekends international recording artists can be seen here in live performances. Solid Gold, as the locals call it, is also the only purpose-built nightclub on Abaco that has all the décor and other attributes of a modern nightclub. Depending on the artist appearing, adult Abaconians of all ages converge on this club for a grand and entertaining long night out on the town, which normally begins around nine with a visit to the waterfront strip and concludes during the wee hours of the following morning.
The abovementioned nightspots are all located on Don MacKay Boulevard less than two miles south of the traffic light. They actually form the second entertainment strip in Marsh Harbour after the clubs and restaurants on the waterfront. Because of their close proximity to the airport, these clubs are also considered part of Marsh Harbour's airport strip.
Club Solid Gold
Last, but not least, is "Tardies" which is owned and managed by the husband and wife team of Henley and Vernita Dawkins. More than all the other late-night spots, Tardies is literally located off the beaten path. Situated twenty-two miles south of Treasure Cay and three miles north of Marsh Harbour on S E Bootle Highway, this hot spot is frequented by all and has earned a reputation as always being the last to close its doors nightly. This unique, downhome Bahamian-to-the-bone nightclub/restaurant and bar is like no other establishment on Abaco and possibly in the entire country.
Tardies is also the only place on Abaco where food is available after hours. Henley's barbeque ribs and chicken are famous throughout The Abacos. Building on Bahamian culture and tradition, every Thursday evening there is a fish fry with an all-Bahamian menu and indigenous music by Abaco's best DJ's.
Contrary to popular belief, there is vibrant life and accessible food on Abaco after midnight. All these places are safe and secure. The management and staff at each location are always happy to have travelers grace their establishments.
In the spirit of adventure, take a detour off the beaten path. You will be surprised by what you might see, feel, hear, learn, or experience. You may even end up having the best trip of your life.
Cook grilling up some steaks at Tardies
About the Author
1997 Gladstone "Stone" McEwan moved to Abaco from Grand Bahama where he performed at all the hot spots in Marsh Harbour and the Cays. He quickly became the island's favourite entertainer eventually releasing his solo album, "Hangin' Out In Abaco." in 2000.
In 2003 he released his second solo album dubbed "Don't Touch It if You Can't Handle It." By this time he had developed a huge following on Abaco among the many repeat visitors and locals alike. Stone's performances have also contributed to the success of the largest weekly beach party during the summer in The Bahamas, at "Nippers Bar & Grill" on Great Guana Cay, Abaco. The Sunday beach parties have become somewhat of a pilgrimage for both visitors and locals. Stone has performed in Las Vegas, California,, New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Canada and England to name a few . And in September 2006 saw Stone return to Nassau for three weeks where he headlined at The British Colonial Hilton. Since 2007 Stone has been performing once again as the 'one-man sensation' at popular entertainment spots throughout The Abacos. He is also sought after to play at weddings and other special events.
His Music can be sampled at:
our Bahamian Music Page
Stone's page updated 2013, can be found here: