With the official launch of summer last weekend, the surf and sand are calling visitors and locals alike. As waves of tourists crash our sandy shores, temperatures rise to heady heights, and traffic becomes cumbersome, what better way to beat the heat and the crowds than with a good old fashioned pub crawl?
Surely an ice cold beer or cocktail can help keep tempers and temperatures from rising?
While the Grand Strand hosts a bevy of areas prime for participating in a pub crawl - you may remember, dear Surge readers, that we took you on a yearlong expedition of these spots in 2010 - there are burgeoning pockets of retail real estate not previously conquered and ripe with possibility.
Throughout the summer, Surge will crawl its way through growing retail and restaurant districts where someone thirsty for adventure may not previously think to venture on a pub crawl. We'll explore old, new and revamped watering holes and eateries in areas of the Grand Strand booming with potential. In today's ever-changing economic climate, where one restaurant or bar did not succeed, another just might as the region around it grows abundant with retail and housing developments.
In this month's installment, we're maki ng our way through the South Bypass area, just south of where U.S. 17 Bypass and S.C. 544 intersect between Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach. In the past two years this area has grown swiftly thanks to retail giant Target and a slew of small retail stores, fast food chains, and businesses opening their doors.
Mixed within the grocery stores, shops, and various developments, you will find eight restaurants equipped with bars that serve up refreshing libations in a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for exploring with friends and family. Ranging from well known chain restaurants to mom-and-pop ventures, these establishments can quench every kind of drink connoisseur's tastebuds.
And remember: if you’re headed out on pub crawl, make sure you have a designated driver or store local cab company phone numbers in your mobile device.
Lincoln Park Bar & Grill, 8739 U.S. 17 Bypass, Surfside Beach
We’ll begin with the new kid on the Bypass - Lincoln Park Bar & Grill, which opened in May and is housed in the former Chili’s Grill & Bar location in front of the Blue Cross Blue Shield campus, just south of SC 544.
A native of the Myrtle Beach area, owner Jason Sturkie opened this second location - Lincoln Park Bar & Grill has another location in New York City that’s been open since 1998 - because he thought something was missing in the area. “I wanted somewhere locals could come, hang out, watch the game and have a good burger,” Sturkie says.
And a welcomed addition it is - its atmosphere, bar offerings, and menu provide a great place to enjoy a drink, chow down or just hang out. Along with an outside patio with ample seating, the inside dining and bar areas and 28 high definition televisions found throughout, offer an opportune arena for watching the FIFA World Cup or just catching up with friends. It also provides the perfect starting - or ending point- for a pub crawl.
When you enter Lincoln Park, the bar area is located just off the entrance. Its large U-shaped bar encases an island filled with a multitude of liquor bottles and 14 beer taps. An oak bar top sits atop a corrugated metal base and its upscale modern look is accented by black bar stools and low lighting. Adding to the sports bar feel are neon beer signs, sports memorabilia, black high-top tables, and 13 televisions that flicker overhead.
If you’re after beer, Lincoln Park has 14 brews on tap, including Sweetwater 420, New South, and Goose Island, with domestics priced at $3 and imports at $4. If you prefer it by the bottle, there are 24 options, including Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen, Son of a Peach, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, and Magic Hat just to name a few and will run you $3.50 for domestics and $4.50 for imports.
Lincoln Park also carries a broad list of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, liqueurs, bourbon, whiskey and scotch brands, as well as a small list of red and white wines available by the glass or bottle.
Happy Hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and features $2 PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon), Bud, and Bud Light drafts, $3 well drinks and house wine, and a small list of $5 appetizers. Different food and drink specials are also available throughout the week including $3 drafts on Mondays from 7 p.m. to midnight, $2 domestic bottles on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to midnight, and $8 domestic pitchers and select appetizers for $5 on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to midnight, as well as all day Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re hungry, the menu features American fare including pizza, sandwiches, wraps, salads, as well as chicken, seafood, and steak entrees.
Word around the Bypass: “The staff is nice, its smoke-free, and we like to come on Mondays because they have a special on premium beers.” –Theresa Langley, Myrtle Beach
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday to Sunday. For more information, call 668-4642, or visit www.lpgmyrtlebeach.com.
Murphy’s Law, 8703 U.S. 17 Bypass, Surfside Beach
Just a short distance north we headed next to Murphy's Law, housed in the former Beef O'Brady's location in the South Park Centre strip mall. One of three locations in the Grand Strand area, Murphy's Law is outfitted in black and gold sports memorabilia and décor as an homage to Pittsburgh, where the owners originally hail from.
A few wrought iron area patio tables with umbrellas sit invitingly outside, but inside is where you can't go wrong. There are two entrances to Murphy’s Law and the bar area sits directly inside the right-hand set of doors.
While there are more than 20 flat panel televisions in the entire restaurant, the bar area alone houses nine that flicker overhead tuned to a variety of sports highlights and games. The large U-shaped bar provides ample seating for chilling with an ice cold brew to watch the game. The glossy wood bar top, black bucket bar stools and dark high ceilings offset the Pittsburgh-themed sports and city memorabilia that can be found hanging throughout the establishment. Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins jerseys, along with a Kennywood sign, and Pittsburgh police car door and hood add to the Steel City nostalgia.
An island situated inside the bar is where a collection of liquor bottles are displayed. Behind the island sits the beer, with eight selections on draft and two cooler cases filled with a variety of bottles including Guinness, IC Light, Rolling Rock, and New Castle, to name a few.
If you're looking for something unusual to try, throw back a Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot made with Fireball Whisky and Rumchata cream liqueur, a popular request. Or kick back with one of the daily specials that include $2 PBRs, Miller High Life, and can beers, $3 vodka, and $4 Fireball.
Happy Hour runs 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and features $2 well drinks and Bud Light drafts, $2.25 domestic bottles, 50-cent wings, and $1.50 tacos.
Along with a menu full of burgers, wings, wraps and seafood, Murphy's Law runs additional daily food and drink specials. Stop in for karaoke on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
Word around the Bypass: "We like to come because the service is fantastic and they have a great happy hour and food." - Brian Bailey and Tonda Bailey, Murrells Inlet
Check it out: Open 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 748-0924.
Bonefish Grill, 8703 US 17 Bypass, Surfside Beach
Also located in the South Park Centre, Bonefish Grill is just a short walk from Murphy's Law. This seafood restaurant chain is one of two locations in the Myrtle Beach area and offers a comfortable and upscale setting for enjoying a cocktail.
The bar area sits just right of the entrance and doubles as a waiting area for those killing time to be seated in the dining room. A neutral-toned granite bar counter top is accented by dark wood trim and bar stools. Behind the bar, rows of liquor bottles sit on glass shelves just below a mirror etched with the Bonefish logo, banking it on each side are large built-in wine racks that house the collection of red and white offerings. Low lighting and soft music add to the relaxed atmosphere.
Bonefish Grill offers a deluxe list of martinis and cocktails. For a refreshing sip, try the Cold Snap Cucumber Cosmo for $8.50. Served on the rocks, it is made with Reyka vodka, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, and fresh cucumbers. Another popular selection is the Fresh Watermelon Martini. It's made with hand-muddled watermelon, fresh sours, and house made cucumber-infused vodka and is $8.20.
Along with three selections on draft, the bar offers a small list of domestic and import bottled beers including Stella Artois, Heineken and Sam Adams Boston Lager.
If you're after a good glass of vino, Bonefish Grill carries a distinct list of red, white and sparkling wines by the glass or bottle, as well as a special selection of wines available for the summer season.
Happy Hour runs 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday and specials include $3 well drinks, $3.25 house wines, half-price on most calls and super calls, and $1 discount on draft beer.
The menu features a delicious selection of seafood entrees, as well as steak, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Word around the Bypass: "We're not generally fans of chain restaurants, but we like this place and come all the time. Their special martinis and appetizers are wonderful."
- Don Eldridge and Paula Eldridge, Murrells Inlet
Check it out: Open 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 215-4374, or visit www.bonefishgrill.com.
California Dreaming Restaurant and Bar, 2657 Beaver Run Boulevard, Surfside Beach
Heading north on US 17 Bypass, we turn off onto Beaver Run Boulevard where our next stop awaits, California Dreaming Restaurant and Bar. This southern-based chain is one of two locations in the Myrtle Beach area and is an easy stopping point for grabbing a drink.
Inside the restaurant, a spacious floor plan and high ceilings add to this establishment's comfortable appeal. The bar area sits just past the hostess stand, a large scale wooden rectangular bar surrounded by bar stools on all four sides. Inside the bartender can freely move about to mix drinks and chat with customers.
A wooden bulkhead hangs overhead and runs the length of the bar top. Inside the bulkhead and visible when seated, is a collection of the available bottled beers mixed with a few wine bottles. Below the bar top, liquor bottles sit stacked on shelves ready to pour, and a few beer taps occupy each end of the bar.
Along with a selection of beer and wine available by the glass or bottle, California Dreaming also offers a list of premium cocktails, martinis, margaritas, mojitos, and more. One of the best sellers is the Chocolatini for $6.95. It's made with Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, Grey Goose Vodka, Kahlua, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, and Bailey's Irish Cream. Another flavorful option is the My Main Squeeze, made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, hand-muddled strawberries and mint, also $6.95.
Happy Hour runs 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday with $1.50 domestic bottles and drafts, $1.95 house wines and house liquors, and eight appetizers for $3.95 each available.
Ribs, chicken, seafood, salads, and more can be found on the menu if you're looking for a sobering bite.
Word around the Bypass: "They have great service and the Jager is always good and cold." - Andy McVicker, Socastee
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 215-5255, or visit www.californiadreaming.co.
El Cerro Mexican Bar & Grill, 2738 Beaver Run Boulevard, Surfside Beach
Continue up Beaver Run Boulevard to El Cerro Mexican Bar & Grill, situated just behind Wells Fargo near Walmart Supercenter. If you’re a fan of Mexican food and libations, this location, which is one of eight on the Grand Strand, provides a lively stopover on a pub crawl.
Inside, the bar area sits invitingly to the left of the entrance, tucked away from the brightly lit dining room, and its cantina-like vibe is shaped by its Mexican-infused décor.
Spelled out in disassembled gun barrels, handles, and bullet shells above the bar, reads “La Revolucion,” an accent and homage to the photograph of 1911 Mexican revolutionary hero Pancho Villa and his fellow soldiers that covers the entire rear wall of the bar area. Overhead, chandeliers made of upside down beer bottles in blue, green and brown hues hang, accenting the rustic wood and leather of the high-top tables and bar stools. A multi-hued blue bar top, unfinished cement walls, and sandy colored tile add to the south-of- the-border feel.
Behind the bar is where the action happens - bartenders and servers busily mixing drinks and waiting on customers add to its lively atmosphere. On the back shelf in unfinished wood crates is where the liquor is displayed, including a nice collection of aged and un-aged tequilas, such as Don Julio Reposado, 1800 Silver, Cazadores, and Patron.
If margaritas are your vice, El Cerro offers its house margarita, made with Sauza tequila, available in a variety of sizes starting at $4.75. Or, opt for one of the unusual creations such as the Jalapeno Margarita, made with Sauza Hornitos Reposado tequila, lime juice, triple sec, jalapeño sour mix, and fresh slices of jalapeños.
If you’re not a fan of tequila, then sip one of the mixed or frozen drinks, like the Latin Love, made with Bacardi rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, raspberry juice, and piña colada mix blended with ice.
Or, opt for a cerveza instead. Along with a small selection of domestic beers by the bottle, El Cerro also offers a list of imports including Sol, Tecate, Bohemia and more by the bottle, with a few domestic and import brews available on draft.
A small selection of wines and sangria by the glass are also available.
Happy Hour runs 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday in the bar area and includes $1 discount on the house margaritas, $2.50 Bud Light and Redd’s Apple Ale, and $4.75 Bahama Mama and Lava Flow drinks.
Hungry? El Cerro features a flavorful menu of Mexican specialty dishes including burritos, enchiladas, rancheros, and more.
Word around the Bypass: “The margaritas are solid.” – Meghan Schertel, Myrtle Beach
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday. For more information, call 650-8835, or visit www.elcerrosc.com.
Ruby Tuesday, 101 North Strand Parkway, Myrtle Beach
Next we cross under the Bypass to head over to Ruby Tuesday. Located adjacent to Dollar Tree, facing S.C. 544, this casual dining restaurant chain offers a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy an ice cold beer or cocktail.
The bar area sits just off the entrance, tucked behind the room that houses the well-known salad bar. Its cherry wood bar top, black and white tiled floor, and tan leather bar stools gives it a classic look, while its mirrored backdrop gives it a roomier feel, adding to its laid back feeling. Along with a few seats at the bar area, high-top tables and booths are also available for those looking to hang out. Two televisions bank the bar for those looking to catch up on news or sports highlights for the day.
On to the drinks - if you’re after cocktails, the bar offers a select list of liquors, including Bombay Dry Gin, Jim Beam Bourbon, and Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum - as $5 premium cocktails available all day, every day. For an additional $1-4 charge you can upgrade your preferred cocktail to other premium brands.
Or, try one of the signature concoctions, such as the Ruby Relaxer, $6, which is a mixture of Absolut Vodka, Cruzan Coconut Rum, peach schnapps, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and fresh oranges.
Ruby Tuesday also has a list of margaritas, seasonal drinks, bottle and draft beers, including Sam Adams Seasonal and Boston Lager, as well as a selection of white and red wines available by the glass or bottle.
If you’re the designated driver, the bar has a list of “Zero Proof” drink creations that include fruit-blended ice teas and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Or, enjoy a bite from the menu which features American fare like burgers, steaks, and chicken dishes.
Happy Hour runs 4 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday and features $5 Absolut cocktails with most of the appetizers on special for $5.
Word around the Bypass: “They have a great selection of mixed drinks to choose from for someone like me who isn’t a big beer drinker.” –Becky Runnells, Myrtle Beach
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 650-7829, or visit www.rubytuesday.com.
Scatori’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, 1399 South Commons Drive, Myrtle Beach
Just a short distance behind Ruby Tuesday, in the shopping plaza that houses Lowe’s Foods, sits Scatori’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, our next stop. Named after the family that owns and operates it, Scatori's offers a quiet place to sip a glass of vino or enjoy a cocktail.
The very rear of the restaurant houses a small bar area where guests looking for a quick drink or a quiet spot to enjoy a bottle of wine can sit and relax. Encompassing five seats, its dark wood trimmed bar top and bar stools accent the large mirror backdrop trimmed with twinkling lights.
A variety of domestic and import beers, as well as premium and house liquors are available for thirsty patrons. Scatori’s also offers a classic list of margaritas, martinis, and mixed drinks. One of the best sellers is the classic Cosmopolitan, served icy cold and made with vodka, triple sec, and cranberry and lime juices.
However, if you’re a wine lover, Scatori’s recently rolled out a new wine list which features a diverse selection of white and red wine offerings to try.
If you enjoy crisp, light white wines, the Primaterra Prosecco is available by the glass for $7 or $10 depending if you get the 6-ounce or 9-ounce, or by the bottle for $28. Or, if you prefer a fruity red wine, sip the Amalaya Malbec Blend, available by the glass ranging from $9-$12, or by the bottle for $30.
Happy Hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Sunday and features $4 glasses of house chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon wine and $6 house chianti, as well as $3 domestic beers, $4 imports, $4.50 mixed drinks, $5 margaritas, martinis, cosmos and daiquiris, and a select list of appetizers are available for $5-$6.
If you’re hungry or looking to sober up, Scatori’s offers two dining room options. To the left of the entrance is the pizzeria side where you can order whole or by-the-slice pizzas, sandwiches, subs, salads and appetizers. Or, for a true Italian dining experience, sit down in the more formal dining room, located to the right side of the entrance, and munch on one of the pasta, chicken, veal or seafood entrees. Happy Hour drink specials and the wine list are available in both dining rooms.
Word around the Bypass: “We come to unwind with a glass of wine, a cold beer, and their pizza, which is delicious.” – Michael Meyer and Holly Meyer, Myrtle Beach
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday. For more information, call 650-3370, or visit www.scatoris.com.
Fiesta Mexicana, 1000 South Commons Drive, Myrtle Beach
From Scatori’s travel down South Commons Drive and you’ll arrive at our last stop - Fiesta Mexicana. Situated in the strip mall in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement, this south-of-the-border styled eatery is another opportune spot for grabbing a margarita or shot of tequila.
While this place does have an outdoor patio where you can sit and sip or eat, you’ll find the bar inside at the rear of the restaurant. A long L-shaped beacon amid the vibrant hues of orange and coral, its glossy dark wood bar top and black bucket bar stools sit beckoning.
The bar area serves as a divider between the dining room and the kitchen therefore serves as a hub of activity. Eye-level windows with a view of the kitchen are capped by a mixture of glass and wood shelves that house the liquor and beer selections available.
If you like tequila shots, the bar runs a two-for-$10 tequila shot special on any of its tequila brands including Cazadores, el Jimador, 1800 Silver, and more. Or opt for a margarita instead, such as the Artisan Margarita for $10 made with your choice of one of the bar’s premium tequilas, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice.
Along with a select list of mixed drinks, sangria, and wine by the glass, Fiesta Mexicana also offers a select list of imported and domestic bottled and draft beers.
Fiesta Mexicana hosts Happy Hour 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday and features $2.50 bottled beer, $4 margaritas, and half-price appetizers.
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 748-0090, or visit www.fiestamexicanacantina.com.