If you are looking for a true pub, a neighborhood hangout that consistently serves great food and drink, try Flynn’s Irish Tavern on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach.
Very appropriately for an Irish establishment, Flynn’s opened in the glow of leprechaun laughter, just after St Patrick’s Day in 2001.
“I had retired from a job on Wall Street. We had summered here on the south end, moved here, was restless in retirement, met the previous owner and well, one thing led to another and here we are!” said Mike Flynn, who owns the bar with his wife, Jane. Flynn came to the business with no experience in the restaurant scene and credits friends in the business with helping him learn it.
The Irish element of the tavern came naturally since Flynn was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and came to the United States as a child with his mother and sisters.
The operation is truly a family affair; daughter Amanda works there as well. When it is really busy, her husband helps out, too. The rest of the staff is like family to the Flynns. In the years since it has been open, staff turnover has been minimal.
“I guess about 85 to 90 percent of our workers have been with us since our opening,” Mike said.
The idea of the bar as family in operation means it’s also family-friendly for patrons as well. Tables in the main dining room are often full of families. Flynn says this often includes children during the season and he offers a wide-ranging children’s menu, including grilled cheese and a mini fish and chips dish.
Bar patrons include those who go into the bar after golf (Flynn’s opens at 4 p.m.) to enjoy a pint or two from the wide selection of foreign and domestic beers after golf might order a anyone who wants to sample the drinks, the atmosphere, enjoy a small plate or two or even sit there to order from the full menu. Irish music plays in the background adding to the festive atmosphere.
“We try to close at [midnight] and a little later on weekends,” said Mike.
The secret to the restaurant’s success is only partly explained by great service and atmosphere. Wonderful food is the third leg in the trifecta of restaurant perfection.
The corned beef and cabbage plate is a healthy portion of perfectly spiced corned beef that rests next to cabbage cooked to be just soft enough, with a second side of tasty potatoes. It’s a special on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday but it is also available for the whole week around St. Patrick’s Day and during shaggers week. If you have a group coming in, you can call ahead to request it. You can see the entire menu on the Web at www.flynnstavern.com.
Don’t cry if you are there on a day when the corned beef plate is not available. You can order a sandwich of this heavenly meat offering at any time and Flynn’s boasts a fine selection of Irish specialties and an array of hamburgers, steaks, chicken and more. Soup specials include Irish Onion and Irish potato.
They make a Guinness beef stew, BBQ chicken with Jameson (Irish) whiskey sauce and a salmon glazed with Jameson as well as a traditional British Isles fish and chips.
But this restaurant does not forget that it is only steps from the Atlantic Ocean in North Myrtle Beach. The potato crusted grouper is so often requested that it gained a spot on the permanent menu after its introduction several years ago.
“It takes 15 to 20 minutes longer to make this from scratch, “ said Mike. “We always tell patrons when they order it that there will be a delay. But it is definitely worth the wait.”
Mike has made the bar a part of the community.
“We make a float for the St. Patrick’s Day parade every year. I’m the president of the local ancient order of the Hibernian right now. I’m also on the committee for the planning of the NMB Irish-Italian festival and a sponsor. We also sponsor a charity event of our own.”
He noted that the tavern sponsors a golf tournament at the end of August or early September each year to raise money for presents and food for local families.
“Many of our patrons simply contribute, if they can’t play,” he said. “Just before Christmas we go out with the police and fire departments and deliver gifts and food to the families (bought with the funds we raised).”
Despite the fact that the dining room and bar seat 94 comfortably and from April to October the porch offers an extra 20 or so seats, it’s best to make a reservation for a Friday or Saturday night, especially during season. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. They do not take reservations for the bar, so there is often space for walk-ins there even on busy nights.
Parking is rarely an issue, despite the restaurant’s prime Main Street location.
“We have 79 spaces in our parking lot alone and share the lot with Hoskins (and they share ours) since they close after lunch and we don’t open until 4 p.m.,” said Mike.
Flynn’s opens all day for special events.
“For St. Pat’s and the Irish Italian festival, we create a beer garden on the outside of the building and serve draft beer and offer outside all that is on the menu inside, including sandwiches. We even have an outside bathroom,” he said.
Flynn did not venture a guess at how many he serves with drinks and or lunch on those days, but no matter the number, every patron leaves happy, full and probably humming an Irish tune.