Murrells Inlet tavern’s fare is crookedly delicious - and the view isn’t bad, either

Setting the Table

The Crooked Floor Tavern set up shop last year in the previous site of the Short Bar. Gone is the insanity of Viking helmets and 10-pound sandwiches. In their place is a laid-back inlet vibe. There’s a jukebox by the bar, large-screen TVs tuned to ESPN all over the walls. There’s a puzzle station, just in case you need to get your jigsaw on. There are inlet and beach-themed artwork and fisherman accoutrements. Yes, the motif is a bit mixed, but you have to give a place called The Crooked Floor a bit of a break.

The building touts a rooftop bar, overlooking Crazy Sister Marina across the street. The main bar opens up on a wraparound deck with bar seating and plenty of tables. Because of the location and height of the rooftop bar, it does depend on the weather on whether it opens. Inside, the bar and dinner traffic are sectioned off nicely. There is a lot of space and different dining areas to choose from.

Down the Hatch

Like the motif, the menu is a bit schizophrenic, but in a good way…a crooked way. It’s a little bit Italian, a little bit lowcountry and a lot inlet seafood house. We started with the drink order.

Certain signature drinks pop out at us – Berry Mojito, Beachy Peachy (fruity/fizzy vodka mixture), Inlet Xtini (vodka and champagne), Fiery Cider (Fireball Whiskey and Woodchuck Cider) and CFT Lemonade (lemonade, berry vodkas and Blue Curacao in a mason jar).

But we brought our eight-year-old son with us so we decided to take it easy with a Blue Moon, a sweet tea and a sprite. But it didn’t stop us from looking over the beverage menu.

The menu is easy to navigate but difficult to make a choice. It all sounds great. I read off Pan Seared Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops ($10) and everyone at the table says, “Yum.” All the sections of the menu have equally impressive listings. There’s Citrus Fields Salad served with Blackened Salmon ($12) and Crooked Floor Saltimbocca – two chicken breasts topped with sliced prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella ($15). When you order surf and turf, you get crab cakes with your choice of steak. There are interesting variations on Italian dishes.

My wife ordered the special of the day, Shrimp and Scallops with Garlic Cream Sauce over Linguine ($17). I went with a southern favorite – the Low Country Shrimp and Grits ($16). My son ordered the Fish and chips ($5).

Our waitress was extremely accommodating and helpful with explaining the menu. After we ordered, we meandered around the restaurant, went up to the rooftop deck to catch the view. And perfect timing – as soon as we got back to the table, the food was there.

My wife’s shrimp and scallop pasta had a nice blend of garlic – a strong bite, but not overbearing. The sauce was a little runny. The plump shrimp and whopping scallops made up for it. My shrimp and grits came with six savory shrimp, and what the menu described as, “stone ground boursin cheese grits topped with bacon, tomatoes and roasted shallot, toasted Tasso Ham demi-glace.” I’ll describe it as out-of-this-world ham gravy over Carolina caviar.

Both of our meals were perfect-sized portions, filling but not gluttonous. My son’s fish and chips weren’t your standard fish sticks. They were real, delish fish, served with a side of fries, but none of it was over-seasoned or salted to death.

Check, Please

For dessert, we ordered two of the three items on the dessert menu, leaving only the red velvet cake behind. We got a slice of Peanut Butter Pie ($5) and Key Lime Pie ($5) to share. The Peanut Butter Pie was rich with small Reese’s Cups in the crust. The Key Lime Pie had a nice tang, accented with a strawberry drizzle.

Our total bill was $58. The combination of the food, the locale and the service make a trip to Crooked Floor Tavern worth it. Owner Mike Foster told us he is “tweaking the bar and dinner menu to make room for a few of the more popular specials.” There is also a lunch and late night menu available.

Happy Hour is 4 to 7 p.m. everyday with $2.50 domestic beers, $3 imports and $3.50 liquor drinks. The tavern hosts a trivia Tuesday and occasional live entertainment on the decks – check out the Crooked Floor Tavern Facebook page for entertainment schedules.