An essential outing in Eleuthera is a visit to Elvina's bar and restaurant. A laidback surfer's hangout run by Eleuthera native Elvina and her Lousiana-bred husband, Chicken Ed, Elvina's draws local and tourists for a taste of Eleuthera nightlife. Tuesday and Friday nights are when the bar hops with live music, often lead by Eleuthera resident Lenny Karavitz. I stopped by Elvina's late one Saturday night with my journalist crew. Chicken Ed sat outside at the door, nodding to regulars while gaggles of locals sip Kalik and eye newcomers.
The band was led by a blond American singing "Lay Down Sally." Not exactly what I had expected to hear. He continued with weak renditions of blues classics and I started to believe that I wouldn't be hearing anything authentic, when Blue took the stage. Covered in shades and a cowboy hat, Blue dug into rake n' scrape tunes filled with scratchy rhythms from the carpenter's saw, goombay drum and concertina. Popular on the Bahamas out islands, rake n' scape traditionally accompanied the Bahamian quadrille and heel and toe polka dances. This folk music dates back to the 1800s and mirrors the sounds of West African tunes featuring the wood block guiro instrument. The crowd danced nonstop to the festive rake n'scrape tunes as long as Blue kept playing.
Elvina's walls are covered with bumper stickers and license plates, while the ceiling is lined with surf boards stowed by surfer regulars. If you crave a sampling of warm Bahamian hospitality and culture, head to Elvina's.