Update 2011: Elvina passed away and her husband left the island.
December: The bar is still under reconstruction.
Live music, food & fun at Elvinas. Here you get the taste of the real island atmosphere.
I had a chat with a middle-aged couple who go to this place regularly.
They enjoy those jam sessions at Eleuthera's only nightclub, together with their two sons who are enthusiastic surfers.
Interviewer: Maureen and Alan you are from New York and have vacationed in Gregory Town, Eleuthera several times. Your sons Brandon and Cameron are 18 and 20 years old and enthusiastic surfers. They regularly go to Surfer's Beach 2 1/2 miles south-east of Elvinas in Gregory Town.
Your family loves to spend evenings at Elvinas. You go there quite frequently. What is it that attracts you and the boys to this place?
Maureen: Well, we really like the live music which is a treat. And there's great people up at Elvinas. We've made a lot of friends and we like partying with our kids. It's kind of hard to find something that everybody wants to do together. So, that's kind of a fun thing. We've been going for about four years now (2006).
I.: How has Elvinas changed over the years?
Maureen: The only thing that I've really noticed is that it's more crowded.
Alan: And more and better musicians are coming now. There's a lot of diversity. You have young people and you have older people. So you can be teenager and have fun there or you can be in your 50's or 60's. We've even seen people in their 70's.
I.: Please tell us about the music and karaoke at Elvinas.
Alan: They have a large stage and more musical instruments now to play because you don't have to bring your own instrument. You can use their's. And a couple of years ago they added karaoke to the menu.
And of course on Tuesdays and Fridays it's jam night... There's always musicians there that you just all can sit in with. So it's very casual...
.. and they change off and on. Through the night the guitar players will change, drummers will change, the singers will change... so it's always rotating with whoever is in the audience. And the musicians are from all over the world.
This is Thadeus - Jimmy Hendrix of The Bahamas - together with surfer, Brandon.
I.: What famous musicians or singers have you met and which ones appear frequently at this nightspot?
Maureen: Famous singer and composer Lenny Kravitz owns a home here in Gregory Town so he frequents Elvinas quite a bit. Lenny has built a new recording studio in 2009, just 3 miles north of Gregory Town. Click here to see and read about it. We've never seen him ourselves but his guitar player Craig also has a home in Gregory Town and he is a regular. We've seen him at the beach with his family. He is really nice.
I.: What about food and how are the prices?
Maureen: Elvina is the owner of the place and the prices are extremely reasonable. Drinks are very good. And Chicken Ed makes excellent deep fried turkey and real Louisiana Cajun food, Jambalaya etc.
On Sundays there's a potluck where everybody brings something and
Dr. Seabreeze - a Calypso musician - passes the hat around.
Yes, that's him, the most famous Calypso singer of Eleuthera, known by everyone. He is such a friendly person and it's always a real pleasure to hear and see him.
Maureen: Or like today, there will be a football party. We don't know what Ed will make. And sometime he charges for food but most times he doesn't.
I.: Which are the busiest months at this place?
Alan: December and January, oh, it started to get really busy in November... but it's open all the time. They never close. No Summer break... so there's always music and in the Summer is when the locals really keep it together.
I.: Is there any advice you would give to folks wanting to go to Elvinas for food and fun?
Maureen: If you are looking for food you should always call ahead. Phone: 335-5032. If you are looking for fun you should just go on Tuesday or Friday about 8 or 9 o'clock at night. And if you are planning on doing karaoke then you should kind of know your song a little bit if you want to sing, sort of know what it is and start looking it up as soon as you get there. And sing your song if you're up for it. Or if you want to jam in and play guitar or play music or do whatever... just go in and do it.
Monday night it's quiet. They're usually playing Poker but you could ask whether you can join them.
I.: What can you tell us about *Chicken Ed* and his wife Elvina who are running the place?
Maureen: Elvina is a local Bahamian grandma who owns a great business. She's really the main person there. She's just lovely. She's a doll. And "Chicken Ed" has done everything from sky diving to motocross driving. He got his name...
Alan: He became *Chicken Ed* because he was flying a plane in with little chicks to Hatchet Bay, to the farm... and they asked him who is coming in and because all the chickens went like chou-chou-chou... and he said, *It's Ed* and they said oh... it sounds like chicken Ed. And that's how he got his name. Laughs.
I.: Why do you drive the 24 miles from Governor's to Evina's rather than going to a bar nearby?
Maureen: Oh, well, it's because there's live music and also because Elvinas attracts intense talent. I mean, Lenny Kravitz' guitar player Craig... that's like being in a live concert anywhere in the world like London or Paris. It's right here in Gregory Town. I mean they just don't have that anywhere else I know of. You see, you are talking to him, you are meeting his kids, you're having a beer with his wife. And one of these times when we're there, Mick Jagger is gonna be there or Lenny Kravitz. You just never know who's going to be there.
I.: Are you expecting that Central Eleuthera will get its own "Elvinas" in the foreseeable future?
Maureen: Only if some musicians step forward to make it happen and keep it happening. That's the only way it'll happen because that's really what's make it happen is the local musicians and the people that frequent it
Interviewer: Thank you Maureen and Alan for this most interesting interview.