When you have the red sparkly flip-flops and find that perfect place to call home near the beach, it’s awesome.
Living on fast food, waffles and gas station sandwiches, however, is not.
So, with a night off, a desire for decent food and a budget, my youngest daughter was happy to go wandering with me in search of someplace better than what had been for breakfast.
Ten minutes later we landed at the front door of The Barrel Sports Bar and Grill located at 2303 S. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
First, we were greeted by the bartender who welcomed us with a warm hello as several patrons even chimed in, too.
Minutes after looking around the cozy yet open dining area, we settled on a high-top table.
Not long after climbing into our oversized and comfy seats, there were two waters and a beer in front of us. (The beer being for me, not the 15-year-old who was welcome until 9 p.m.)
We settled on two Barrel burgers ($6.50 each) with cheese, while we enjoyed good music that was playing at an almost perfect pitch – not deafening but loud enough for the older folks (like me) to hear then sing along to the words if we wanted.
Thankfully, prior to anyone having to suffer my singing or before either of us could say “where’s the beef?” our food appeared.
Served with a generous, but not more than we could handle, helping of french fries and condiments, our huge hand-formed burgers came topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onion slices.
I took one bite, and must have mumbled “Holy cow, this is the best burger I’ve had in a long time!” because the kid concurred by shaking her head happily in agreement.
Silence ensued as we finished our just seasoned enough and cooked all-the-way-through-without-being-burnt burgers.
Our server/bartender, whose name was Andre, stopped by to check on us and his visit was followed by Judy, the owner.
She chatted with us for a few minutes before moving on to greet another table.
Judy’s son – who brought our burgers to the table with a smile while Andre took care of his customers at the now-full bar, is the manager and also one of the bartenders.
Our bill for the first trip came to $17.25, plus tip.
While the food was good and we left happy, I wanted to go back the next day just to be sure I hadn’t been deprived of decent food for so long that I was just deliriously happy to have something other than a pre-cooked patty, a greasy biscuit or an out-of-date honey bun.
So, for the second visit, we took the food critic/cook I can always trust: my mother.
Turns out, I felt a little guilty for second-guessing myself: for visit No. 2; we were far from disappointed and equally as satisfied.
I tried the Blue Bayou burger which came topped with just the right amounts of bleu cheese and Cajun seasoning; mom got a Patty Melt with sautéed mushrooms she raved about madly; and the figure-conscious kid opted for a salad served with grilled chicken on a plate – with hefty portions – that included bacon bits.
Judy stopped over at our table to welcome us back and met my mother.
Our bill (without the beer but with an extra burger) was $22.25.
The Barrel Sports Bar and Grill is a place you can afford, feel right at home and get good food.
No red sparkly flip-flops required. Just shoes and shirts though, please.