Since it is actually located on a pier jutting out into the waterway leading to Nassau Harbour, it may be a bit of a stretch to call Lukka Kairi a beach bar. But it does, in fact, overlook the beach of the venerable British Colonial Hilton on one side, so I’m going to do so anyway.
You will find Lukka Kairi Waterfront Bar & Grill at the western edge of the boardwalk that marks the end of the Nassau waterfront, a busy row of food and drink chains and chain wannabes. And for those seeking something a distinct step up, Lukka Kairi is as welcome as a breath of fresh sea air.
This place used to be called Never Say Never Again. The story behind the change in name is a long one. Let’s just say it involves the Bahamas’ (and everyone’s) favourite spy – a certain 007 – or, at least, related licensing rights. To cut to the chase, the name had to go, and the original Lukka Kairi, which had been in Nassau since 2015, relocated to the pier.
Lukka Kairi is a charming, compact octagon, strategically situated over the water with great views of the comings and goings of Nassau Harbour. You’ll find comfortable seating at and around a stylish central bar and on the pier itself. It’s not overly large. That, and it’s snazzier (and slightly pricier) nature means you generally won’t have to deal with crowds – an advantage in itself on the bustling Nassau waterfront (especially during peak cruise ship times).
It’s a cheerful, friendly and relaxed place. We easily struck up conversations with bartenders, wait staff and some of the management team: a charming Mayan gentleman named Celso, who has been in Nassau for 17 years, and Santiago, a Mexican who was recruited to play North American style football in Quebec City (you couldn’t make this stuff up). It’s distinct upscale style and vibe thankfully comes completely without pretensions.
What will you have?
Beer: Kalik and Kalik Light plus offerings from the local (just down the street) craft brewery Pirate Republic, with a few imports, such as Corona, Stella and Michelob Ultra.
Rum/Cocktails: A good rum lineup, including a selection of Nassau’s own John Watling’s and Gun Cay, as well as quality brands such as Pyrat. There’s an extensive list of martinis, tropical and handcrafted cocktails using premium brand spirits. The Diablo, a tequila-mezcal based take on a margarita was pretty good.
Food: As those Mexican names may have hinted at, the substantial and creative menu is Mexican influenced. There are tacos, tostados and quesadillas to go along with the burgers, salads and fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Overall food quality is excellent.
Lukka Kairi is open for lunch and dinner but, for us, it really shines as a place for a sunset cocktail. The views are great and by then, the cruise ship crowds have thinned.
The “new” Lukka Kairi is a stylish addition to the Nassau waterfront. It’s a comfortable, chic island of calm in an often-hectic sea.
Lukka Kairi Waterfront Bar & Grill
Woodes Rodgers Walk