At the Beach House Bar and Grill at 1205 N. Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach Bikefest visitors are sipping on colorful drinks and enjoying the sunshine on the patio early Saturday afternoon.
The bar is bustling early in the day for celebrations that both tend more to the nocturnal and have been diminished in numbers this year.
What’s the secret? For Melissa Brooks of Hampton, Virginia, it’s the live DJ.
“We love it,” said Brooks, who’s in town for the event for the second time.
Next to her, her friend and first-time visitor Cheryl Gunn-McCain takes a moment to stand up and dance to a rap song. Other patrons on the porch hoot in appreciation.
Through the rest of the year, the Beach House typically offers more rock, classic rock and pop in its soundtrack.
When The Sun News asked to speak to a manager at the restaurant for this story, a man came out of the interior or the restaurant and said, “I don’t want to talk about anything with Bikefest.” He then left without giving a name.
But the restaurant’s social media suggested a friendly posture toward the weekend, as it marketed both its live DJ and free bike parking on its Facebook page this week.
Brooks and Gunn-McCain had chosen the Beach House for another reason too – a bright orange “fishbowl,” a 68-ounce cocktail.
At Sharkey’s Beach Bar at 600 N Ocean Blvd., DJ LuckyLeon of Columbia had arrived at 2 p.m. But two hours later, few patrons were enjoying the music in the back patio.
His manager, Chevy Tart, said LuckyLeon and other acts from Columbia are invited down almost every year at this time. Memorial Day weekend in the Myrtle Beach area is a particular draw for DJs, he said.
“We come down every year, put on shows, do concerts, have a good time,” Tart said.
Sharkey’s owner Kenny Nandwani said that while the bar usually has a DJ during Bikefest, this was the first year he’d had one spinning during the daytime.
But Saturday afternoon, the groups of visitors were as meager as on Friday, Nandwani said.
Would patrons hear similar choices of rap, trap and hip-hop on a normal weekend in the summer?
“Definitely not that,” Nandwani said with a smile.