As you’d expect in an island nation, seafood is very popular. The national dish is conch (pronounced “conk” with a hard K), a type of mollusk, served deep-fried (“cracked”) or raw with a twist of lemon, and as elsewhere in the Caribbean, the classic accompaniment is peas and rice.
Ordinary meals can be purchased for anywhere from $5-25 a plate. Authentic island food can be found at the Fish Fry, a collection of small open air restaurants where many locals hang out. Meals can be had for about $8. Sunday night the locals flock to this area for some authentic Bahamian nightlife. You can find fast-food chains such as KFC or McDonalds, especially in the downtown areas, but as it is a highly touristed country, you can find many nice restaurants serving many different cuisines. Most restaurants serve American or British food, though you can easily find the normal island flair, especially during the Fish Fry during June. A 15% service charge is added to the bill at most establishments; additional tips are optional.
Service is distinct from the American standard. There is a concentration on the customer at hand. You are expected to patiently wait your turn. At fast food restaurants the server will take care of only the first customer until they have left the service area. Don’t expect to be in a hurry even at a fast food establishment.
Service in the Bahamas takes place at a relaxed pace. Travelers can expect a leisurely pace to their meal. Expect polite, if slow, service at most establishments.
Soda can be pretty pricy in the hotels, and you will find it only on a soda tap if you are in a good restaurant; otherwise, you will usually get it in a can. The cheapest way to get this would be to go to a local “Food Mart”.
“Goombay Punch” is the local soda. It has a pineapple flavor and is what the locals call a “Sweet” soda versus a cola. It is sold in cans at all grocery stores and also available in almost every Bahamian eatery.
Non-alcoholic malt beverages are also very popular. The primary brand of choice is Vita-Malt.
Kalik is the national beer of the Bahamas and is always served at “all-inclusive” resorts. There are three rather distinct types: “Kalik regular” which has 4% alcohol and a smooth refreshing taste, “Kalik Light” which has been often compared to a Budweiser is a light lager which delivers the same great taste as the regular kalik but with a lower alcohol content and less calories, “Kalik Gold” has 7% alcohol, though very potent it has an excellent taste, which gives you an extra feel of the island. Guinness is also very popular.
A new beer is available — called Sands. It can be obtained at many resorts and in the local liquor stores. It is a similar style product to Kalik. Sands is now readily available in both regular and light.
Imported beer can be incredibly expensive in the hotels but is not overly priced in bars and liquor stores. Cases of beer are available in a variety of Duty Free liquor stores.
In Freeport, the Port Lucaya Marketplace and Marina has many bars offering two Kaliks (and some other brews) for $5.
The drinking age is 18, however it is weakly enforced and teenage drinking is common.
The Bahamas has a lot of liquor stores in relation to the population of the country. You can find liquors stores downtown, in the hotels, the port lucaya marketplace and as you continue to tour the island, if you may not be sure of exactly where one may be located please feel free to ask for assistance.
This the best choice of drinks in the Bahamas. It’s as cheap as you can get ($2-$10 a bottle), tastes great, and it’s made fresh by 3 different companies, the largest being the Bacardi Rum factory on New Providence south of Nassau, where you can take tours and get free drinks if you go on a 2-hour bus ride (Bacardi closed down!).
The Bahamas has its own native rum to offer with a variety of brands which include Ron Ricardo rum, Ole Nassau Rum and a very popular Fire in the Hole Rum, while this fire in the hole rum is gold in color it has a very distinct bottle label which is sure to be a good converstion piece in the home. The Ron Ricardo rums and Ole Nassau rums both come in a variety of flavours. Ron Ricardo has the best leading coconut rum which is used to make the ever so popular island drink “The Bahama Mamma”. Other flavours include mango, pineapple and banana, a gold rum, light rum and one 151 rum. The Ole Nassau rum also offers all of the flavors to that of the Ron Ricardo. Its bottle label too is very unique and creative portraying a pirate ship along the Bahama Islands.