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Semi nude sun bathing, giant martinis and celebs like Jay-Z: Inside the crazy Nikki Beach life

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The music blasts throughout the open-air eatery and dancing takes place not only on the beach but also on table tops. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The Nikki Beach experience in St. Barts includes sun worshipping and people-watching. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Regulars on the St. Barts scene Houston's Grant Kaiser and John Furnish know their way around the Nikki Beach menu. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The chichi St. Barts crowd always finds  its way to Nikki Beach. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The Nikki Beach beauties let loose in the sand. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The sushi boat is loaded with temptations. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The tan is the thing in St. Barts. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Julio Cuba on electric violin keeps the scene rocking at Nikki Beach. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Laura Sweeney and Shafik Rifaat enjoy primo seating for joining the sushi boat club. Shelby Hodge
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ST. BARTS, French West Indies — Electric violinist Julio Cuba trades stints with saxophone master Florencio Cruz, both working their musical magic in tandem with Nikki Beach DJs, producing sounds that inspire dancing on tabletops and rocking on the adjacent sandy beach. 

Contempo music blaring, the world beats to a decadent drummer at Nikki Beach, the favored watering hole of a rich international coterie that annually commandeers this tiny island as its exclusive playground.

 Magnums of Dom Perignon and flavorful rosés are iced down in gigantic martini glasses. Bikini tops are shed for semi-nude sunbathing.  

Restaurant, bar and beach club — Nikki Beach regularly draws the St. Barts celeb crowd that includes Beyoncé and Jay Z, Fergie, Bono, Rachel Zoe and Mary J. Blige, each savoring the pseudo anonymity that the sophisticated clientele affords. No autographs or iPhone photos, thank you. 

Magnums of Dom Perignon and flavorful rosés are iced down in gigantic martini glasses. Bikini tops are shed for semi-nude sunbathing. And, on occasion, the feisty partygoer will be showered (literally) in champagne.

It's an intriguing tableau of billionaires, models and the see-and-be-seen all played out against a stunning backdrop of white — billowing swaths of white sails overhead, all white sun beds, wait staff in white and deck chairs covered in white canvas.

While Sunday is the hot ticket (reservations required well in advance), Nikki Beach rocks most days.

The satisfying menu heavy on sushi (the extravagant sushi boat a popular choice for large parties) and French-inspired fare are offered midday to late afternoon. Reservations a must for Sunday, recommended for other days.

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