It seems that, no matter the season, we are all tuned into the excuses and reasons to have a cocktail before five o’clock. Outside of being at the airport, drinking during the day can be frowned upon by a more productive sector of society. That particular group needs to take a lesson from the Myrtle Beach locals as to what “being productive” really means.
Our locals and savvy tourists have perfected the art of starting the party early. We have some amazing spots that combine the natural beauty of our landscape with some high caliber reasons to order an adult beverage. I am, in no way, suggesting that you get fall-down drunk at noon. We are all adults and that is your choice to make. I am simply saying that, if you were inclined to have a drink while the sun is shining, there are some really great places to do it.
These are five of my favorite places to have a drink while the office stiffs and suits are still working.
• Bird Island, across the border in North Carolina, is just on the left before the Intracoastal Waterway flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Obviously, you can not drive a car here. Which means that it is populated, mostly, by locals. Beach the boat, break out the cooler and sit back and chill. No hotels, no waves and little noise. Take a little hike, soak in the water, take a nap or just sit there. There are no rules on Bird Island. If you do find your way to Bird Island, be safe because there are also no taxis home from the island. Moderation is your word of the day and the Coast Guard passes by frequently to make sure you, and everyone else, are behaving responsibly.
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• Since you are already on the boat, having lunch at a marina is a great reason for a drink. Sitting outside listening to the waves lap against the boats. The salty breeze wafting the smells of food and suntan lotion through the air. It is the perfect setting for a little afternoon buzz. There are a lot of marinas in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas. Snooky’s (4495 Baker St, Mile 345 ICW, Little River) is at Cricket Cove Marina in Little River and is one of my favorite marina lunch spots. The food is good and expands upon the typical so-called “bar food” you will find at far too many of our restaurants around town. A nice mix of cocktails, beer and wine are all available.
• The Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet is great when the bands fire up the stages and the sun goes down. This is no secret. Adding to the attraction this year, The Wicked Tuna (4123 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet) is amping up the idea of a Tiki bar. Plenty of shelter for the stray shower that passes through, a full service bar and some giant televisions to watch some baseball. No walls, a few fans and a great view. This is an outdoor bar on steroids. If you get hungry, food from the inside kitchen can be served to you at the bar. There is also a stage, so I am certain that some entertainment will grace the daylight hours at some point. You will not need shoes, or a shirt for that matter, to enjoy the vibe at this drink stop. It could be said that places like this are why we live here.
• Sunday Funday. I am not certain who coined the phrase, but I am pretty sure that the folks at The Boathouse (201 Fantasy Harbour Blvd., Myrtle Beach) are the first location most of us think of when those two words find each other. Starting up its free summer concert series with regional, national and local acts, The Boathouse is a Mecca for day drinking. A stage over the water, an amphitheater-style lawn, an outdoor bar and plenty of people watching. While most of the concerts start around 5 p.m., there is every reason to get there early and have a beer. The social scene on Sundays can get pretty packed, but that is the price we pay for the caliber of concerts the venue puts on. If you want a little more privacy, The Boathouse is open seven days a week and the view of the Intracoastal Waterway never goes away. It is a perfect little spot for a daytime chill session.
• The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is chock full of places to eat and drink. Taking me back to my California days where a good taco and a cold beer were my favorite midday menu items, Banditos Restaurant & Cantina (1410 North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach) is doing it up right. Good tacos, cold beer, great margaritas and live music. Put all of that with an ocean view and I really do not know how to improve upon that type of afternoon. There is an outdoor bar if you just need a quick fix and the place is jumping most of the time. That means it’s a good spot for people watching. You will find quite a few tourists here during the summer months, but that is just a great reason to meet new people. After all, views and drinks like these are worth sharing.
This time of year gets everyone excited. Restaurants and bars that have outdoor seating heat up for a while until we shake off the cabin fever. Do not fret all of you inside bars and lounges, we will return once the humidity sets in. For now, get outdoors and lap up the sunshine. What better way to enjoy a day off than with a cocktail to de-stress from the week?