Bar hopping - or pub crawling as we're calling the activity in a year-long series of cover stories here at Weekly Surge - can take imbibers to unexpected places. We've covered the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, the Northwood neighborhood of Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, and a few other locales. But slightly off the beaten path, Myrtle Beach by name but actually in unincorporated Horry County, sit the bars, pubs and clubs of Lake Arrowhead Road. Join us on a 1.1-mile journey to visit an assortment of 10 watering holes offering something for young, old and in between.
If variety is the spice of life, then the 10 bars of this Arcadia neighborhood that we visited offers it in abundance. Here you'll find a hidden local's pub and Karaoke staple Harry The Hats, an Irish pub and restaurant Finn McCool's, the ultra chic Zulu Lounge, the Ultimate California Pizza Game Zone, the fine dining restaurant-oriented bars - Barron's Steakhouse and Eighty-Eight's lounge (a part of Rossi's Fine Italian Cuisine) - the iconic 2001 Nightclub, the 26-year-old Bimini's Oyster Bar & Seafood Cafe, the quirky storefront pub Group Therapy, and the Italian Pub and night spot, The Office - in that order.
It's no wonder that locals, and returning vacationers staying on nearby Shore Drive, pack these pubs year-round. We'll start our tour at a pub you've most likely never visited, or ever even seen, because it hides in the woods.
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Harry The Hats, Arcadian Dunes, 351 Lake Arrowhead Road
Imagine that your multi-family condo complex has its own private neighborhood bar, just a hop, skip, and jump from your front door - a bar whose patrons (your neighbors) have probably arrived on foot or golf cart, and will likely leave that way, too - and on Saturdays maybe leave $100 richer.
Several nights of Karaoke each week rules at Harry The Hats, a pub that's served the area for decades, though the original owners sold the business years ago. Each Saturday one Karaoke performer walks away with $100 based on a random drawing, not vocal skill. Plenty of food is available from pub fare to the more substantial, along with games galore, an outdoor pool-side patio, an assortment of disco lights, and happy hour 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. With a quintessential neighborhood feel, Harry The Hats is a one-of-kind condo-club, open to the general public, not restricted to the residents of Arcadian Dunes.
Check it out: Opens at 11:30 a.m. daily. Call 449-9019, or visit www.harrythehats.com
Arrowhead Impressions: "I'm in here all the time - a regular, I guess. It's neat and clean, the food is good and it's walking distance [from home]." - Jerry Lindsay, Myrtle Beach
Finn McCool's, 501 Lake Arrowhead Road
Another in the neighborhood pub category, the 25-year-old Finn McCool's is a St. Patrick's Day institution for Irish (and wannabe Irish) patrons. Set among tall pines and live oaks, the wooden structure is like a camp in the forest. Real wood interiors, a homey wrap-around porch, and a large four-sided bar, mean plenty of room for drinkers and diners. On St. Patrick's Day (and its associated weeklong celebration) tents are erected in the parking lot, and tables moved around, to make room for the many hundreds (thousands?) that come and go day and night. The food is cheap to ridiculously cheap, but hearty, and good. Most entrees are in the $12 - $16 range, appetizers start at $1.95. Happy Hour is 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and features $1.75 16-oz pints (except Guinness), $3.75 well drinks, and $2 domestic bottles.
Check it out: Opens at 11:30 a.m. daily. Call 449-7616.
Arrowhead Impressions: "They make you feel like family." - Charlotte Mejia, Myrtle Beach. "I've been coming here for 20 years - that tells you something. The place is great." - Robbie Grainger, Myrtle Beach
Zulu Lounge & Bistro, 9668 North Kings Highway, Galleria Shopping Center
The new kid on the block - Zulu Lounge & Bistro is an ultra-chic restaurant/cocktail lounge, which transforms itself on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings into the place to be seen for late night dancing and partying. This is a small-to-medium-sized big city-styled club, catering to the young and young at heart. Its South African inspired small-plate menu is as eclectic as the club itself; escargot, tuna tar tare, Cape Town Baked Oysters and more - all in the $9 - $13 range, plus salads, sandwiches and other less exotic fare. Happy hour runs 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. daily and features heavily discounted drinks. Giant Hookah water pipes fill the air with flavored smoke, and a large permanent dance floor and deejay-driven entertainment offers house, Top 40 and club hits for those dressed to impress and cut a rug.
Check it out: Open at 5 p.m. daily. Call 877-533-9858, or visit www.zululoungenbistro.com.
Arrowhead Impressions: "I love the service, the New York atmosphere. I like to roll into Bummz [Beach Café] in shorts, but sometimes you want to dress up and go somewhere more cosmopolitan." -Carol Smith, Staten Island, N.Y./Myrtle Beach
Barons Steaks & Spirits, 9650 North Kings Highway, Galleria Shopping Center
While looking at the casual, classy bar and dining room from the front door of this 23-year-old Galleria Shopping Center eatery, you might miss the large private party dining and meeting area in the back. Off to the side, you can't quite see the early signs of construction on what will be a large open air patio-deck set to open soon. Much is kind of hidden in this off-the-beaten path restaurant/pub known for its steaks and seafood and large accommodating bar - don't miss $3 Martinis on Thursdays. Rich earth tones, classic-styled bar, and high ceilings, give Barons warmth missing from other Grand Strand watering holes.
Check it out: Opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 497-5200 or visit www.baronssteaksandspirits.
Arrowhead Impressions: "I come in all the time. I love the atmosphere, the service is always wonderful, the food excellent, and I love the [variety] of craft beers on tap." - Lynne Baughman, Pittsburgh
Eighty-Eights Piano Bar, 9636 North Kings Highway, Galleria Shopping Center
One of the very few piano bar lounges on the Grand Strand, Eighty-Eights is in part a throwback to the Rat Pack era and '60s-styled lounges, but updated for the new millennium. Pianists Mickey Hardie and Rod France share duties at the oversized grand piano, where requests are played for patrons enjoying the small club, which is the bar associated with Rossi's Fine Italian Cuisine. Happy Hour, 7-8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, features discounted drinks and 20-percent discounts on selected bar menu items.
Check it out: Open 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 449-0481 www.rossismyrtlebeach.com.
Arrowhead Impressions: " I've been coming to Eighty-Eights for probably more than 15 years. I come because of the class, and the food, and the people. You can't feel more comfortable anywhere else. Scott the bartender is the best on the beach, and the piano bar is exceptional." - Sam Gaston, Charlotte, N.C.
Ultimate California Pizza Game Zone, 959 Lake Arrowhead Road, Galleria Shopping Center
This is the Mack-daddy ultimate of all Ultimate California Pizza restaurants along the Grand Strand. Part of the Divine Dining Group, and one of six UCPs, this Game Zone version is housed in the former UMI Pacific Grille at the Galleria, and long ago that kiddies' paradise known as Chuck E. Cheese's. Filled with arcade games (most geared to younger players) UCPGZ also serves beer and wine, and of course pizza. Not quite a Chucky Cheese in its commitment to gaming and kids, UCPGZ might be more akin to the adult playground chain Dave & Busters, offering a 4-7 p.m. happy hour Monday through Friday.
Check it out: Open at 11 a.m. daily. Call 449-1160 or visit www.ultimatecalifornaipizza.com
Arrowhead Impressions: "My kids love it. They always insist on coming whenever we visit Myrtle Beach. And the pizza is awesome." - Wendy Tate, Madison, Wisc.
2001 Nightclub, 920 Lake Arrowhead Road
When this iconic Grand Strand nightclub opened in 1981, the year 2001 was still 20 years away, and represented a distant futuristic dream. Whatever happened to the space cars and psychotic robots they promised us? Thirty years later 2001 Nightclub is no longer the 80s-themed club of its earliest days, and has reflected the changing tastes of its clientele through the years with several major renovations. The large complex features three separate mini-clubs under one roof (Club Touch, Next Level, Starlight Room), and serves patrons across many age demographics, but especially the 50-plus crowd who come for the live music. They dance to Jackie Beaumont, the Catalinas, the Craig Woolard Band, the Tim Clark Band, Terri Gore and Coco Loco, and others. Dino's TV Variety Show runs Tuesdays and Thursdays and features the look-a-like tribute talents of a cast recreating Dean Martin's golden era. Club Touch caters to the urban sophisticate and younger crowd with DJs spinning current club hits. Live jazz is also featured periodically.
Check it out: Open at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call 449-9435 or visit www.2001nightclub.com.
Arrowhead Impressions: "I love it. It makes me smile. You end up knowing everybody's name by the end of the night." - Alice Mann, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Myrtle Beach
Bimini's Oyster Bar & Seafood Cafe, 930 Lake Arrowhead Road
Approaching its third decade serving locals and visitors, this ultra-casual seafood restaurant and bar not only serves up remarkably consistent and tasty seafood dishes but seasonal live music, and drinks at a large double-sided bar - including 99-cent oyster shooters; a tasty concoction made from a raw oyster, jalapeno pepper, cocktail sauce, a few drops of hot sauce, and a splash of draft beer to help it all slide down. An acquired taste for sure, but Bimini's has sold an estimated 300,000 oyster shooters since opening 26 years ago.
Check it out: Open 11:30 a.m. for lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday, and open mid-afternoon through late-night Sunday through Thursday. Call 449-5549 or visit www.biminisoysterbar.com.
Arrowhead Impressions: "They have the greatest seafood in all of Myrtle Beach - it's just fantastic." - Tom Hanlon, Myrtle Beach
Group Therapy Bar & Grill, 946 Lake Arrowhead Road
At a location just three doors down from Bimini's Oyster Bar, Group Therapy is the most recent in a long line of pubs that have opened and closed at this location the last five years. But with nearly a year under its belt it seems like the small pub/restaurant has found the winning combination to make a lasting go of it; Karaoke on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, a nice happy hour (with $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon) 4-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and a meaty dinner menu all combine to give this friendly local's joint an edge that its predecessors may not have had.
Check it out: Open 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 839-0428.
Arrowhead Impressions: "I love Karaoke, and I'm in here all the time. They have the nicest group of people that come here - we're family. I'm a local from UCLA, that's Upper Conway/Lower Aynor." - Penny Washam, Horry County
The Office Italian Pub, 960 Lake Arrowhead Road
Under new ownership, The Office is sticking to what its customers love best; authentic Italian food, and a peppy lounge atmosphere that runs late into the evening. The black-tiled bar, a dozen or so four-top tables and plenty of big screens fill the small pub/bistro making use of every square inch. The Touch-Tunes jukebox cranks out whatever the patrons desire and a few big screens cover the big games. Happy hour runs from 4 - 7 p.m. daily - all fairly typical bar features, until you sink your teeth into the gigantic calzone stuffed with sausage, peppers and cheese, and smothered in homemade marinara. The food sets The Office apart from many pub/bar-style eateries, and if for no other reason, is worth a visit.
Check it out: Opens at noon daily. Call 839-9190, or visit www.theofficeitalianpub.com.
Arrowhead Impressions: "This is a real local's hangout. It's in a great location, the late-night is always fun and the staff very friendly." - Kenny Taylor, Myrtle Beach