Murrells Inlet has long called itself the “Seafood Capitol of South Carolina,” for its many waterfront restaurants, and its once active commercial fishing industry. With the unparalleled success of the half-mile boardwalk, known as the Marsh Walk, as an attraction unto itself, this small town on the Georgetown/Horry County line could just as easily call itself the “Live Music Capitol of the Grand Strand.” With some eight music-friendly restaurants officially making up the Marsh Walk family, and several others nearby but not a part of the Marsh Walk proper, there’s probably more singing, banging and twanging per square foot there then anywhere else between Wilmington, N.C., and Charleston.
While the Marsh Walk gets the lion’s share of the attention, its select restaurants aren’t the only Murrells Inlet venues promoting a live music calendar. The Hot Fish Club, Beaver Bar, Suck Bang Blow (original) and others have hosted bands since long before the Marsh Walk was a gleam in the developer’s eye. Two relatively new kids on the block, the Crooked Floor Tavern and Kings Street Grille, are both promoting a heavy live music schedule. Their managers and entertainment bookers say that the music makes a big difference to the bottom line.
Crooked Floor Tavern (4078 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet)
Opened for roughly a year, the Crooked Floor Tavern sits just across the street from the bulk of the Marsh Walk restaurants, and its steady supply of live music from the front deck adds to the cacophony of the Inlet’s musical offerings. General Manager Justin Wood has been in the bar/restaurant trade for a decade and has worked at places like the former Blarney Stones Irish Pub & Cigar Bar (now Rodeo Bar & Grill) at Broadway at the Beach, and the Inlet’s Hot Fish Club, where live music has always been an important part of the mix.
“I knew we had to have live music here when we first opened,” said Wood. “Live music creates a good feel. It’s great to have people moving and dancing around.”
The Crooked Floor may hold top billing in the Inlet for the heaviest in-season live music schedule with its daily double dose of 4 p.m. solos and duos, and late-night acts starting around 9 p.m. ‘til close. “I knew we wanted to have a good variety so we’ve got the Happy Hour acts and then usually bands for the latenight. PaperWork has been a good band for us. Treehouse! does well. I have JamiSun from Charleston regularly. We mix it up.”
The venue’s schedule is usually posted on its Web site or Facebook page. Here’s a look at the next few days: 4 p.m. today, T. Moody, 9 p.m., Selah Dubb; 4 p.m. Friday, Fin City. 9 p.m., PaperWork; 4 p.m. Saturday, Joe Fisher, 10 p.m., Kid Drew; 4 p.m. Sunday, Colton and James Duo, 9 p.m. (TBA).
King Street Grille (4891 U.S. 17 Business Murrells Inlet)
With its sister store at the Market Common (Myrtle Beach), King Street Grille in Murrells Inlet is the newest in the small chain of Charleston-based eateries. Opened in May along the Jetty View Walk, with unmatched inlet views, the restaurant is in a location that has seen more than its share of turnover in the past few years. Immediately adjacent to the Hot Fish Club, King Street’s management hired Joshua Gregory, in part, he says, because of his experience as an entertainer. Former percussionist and all around wild man of regional act Ten Toes Up fame, and drummer with other local projects, Gregory acts as bartender and entertainment director/consultant.
Gregory books talent from the perspective of experience. “I know what works and what doesn’t work and why,” he said. “We’ve got this million-dollar view here, and a great deck, and [renovated] what was here before to an open concept. We have two separate bars. We can cater to the high-end sports bar crowd, restaurant crowd, and people who want live music or the dance/DJ thing. The water and music pair well together.”
King Street hosts DJ Ryan Robinson 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday. Solos and duos perform 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays, and Saturdays are reserved for bands. “Saturday is our rock night,” said Gregory. “We’re trying to build a local following; we want to cater to them. We’re still building this thing.”
At 9:30 tonight, its DJ Ryan Robinson, 6 p.m. Friday, Tattoo, and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Warren Stone Band.