In the area immediately west of Myrtle Beach near the old Waccamaw Pottery malls, within view of the now defunct Hard Rock Park/Freestyle Music Park lays a string of bars and clubs starting just across the Intracostal Waterway. The bars and clubs in this area can stay open until 4 a.m. so this area is rocking long after many of the places in Myrtle Beach proper are closed, because it is in unincorporated Horry County so the usual system of exemption permits does not apply. Because of the extended hours the area is popular with locals, college students, and the occasional tourist and golf group. Scattered within a square mile might be the most diverse set of places for entertainment in the area. There is something for everyone here. You can bowl, catch some live music, eat, drink, and get a lap dance all in the same night.
So strap on your sense of adventure, and join us for a West Myrtle Beach Pub Crawl - a virtual tour of a popular, yet under the radar, slice of the Grand Strand's after hours scene.
Let's get started, shall we?
The Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill, 201 Fantasy Harbour Boulevard
The Boathouse is an establishment that has been open for five years right on the waterway. It has become well known for its happy hour which runs 4 -7 p.m. The bar has a special every night of the week except Wednesday. The staff also hosts a variety of events and games. On Mondays the bar has a $9.95 steak night. On Tuesdays the bar has a buy one entrée or sandwich, get one free deal. Thursday nights the bar has its own version of bar room bingo. There are prizes and money available to the winners. The Boathouse is a converted country buffet and it still has a little bit of that country charm. This establishment has a full menu with a favorite being the jalapeno hush puppies. There is a brick fireplace to keep you warm while you sip your whiskey.
There is more to do at the Boathouse besides just eating and drinking. The Boathouse has a ping pong table, darts, and pool. There's corn hole outside, weather permitting, and there's tournaments on the weekends. The Boathouse also has a men's and women's dart league with four teams in each league. The Boathouse is devoted to sports and is part of Steelers Nation, if you're scouting potential sites to party for Super Bowl XLV. There is Steelers memorabilia covering the ceiling and walls and it is a great place to come watch football during the winter months.
The Boathouse really comes into its own during the summer. The most popular events are Sunday Fundays where the crowds can become standing room only. The Boathouse has had some popular shows through the years. David Allen Coe and Rehab have been two of the more popular acts to play the outdoor stage overlooking the waterway. The Boathouse has its own dock, so if you are cruising by you can pull right up and join in the fun. The place also has theme nights, such as a Marley Gras devoted to Bob Marley in February. It also boasts a Leprechaun Ball for St. Patrick's Day which is a sweet excuse to get dressed up and drink.
Westside Wisdom: "Boathouse has a very diverse crowd. We get everyone from college students to local retirees and everything in between." -Boathouse Server Daniel Haudenschil
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. until midnight; Call 903-2628 or visit www.theboathousemb.com
101 West at Clarion Hotel, 101 Fantasy Harbour Boulevard
Inside the newly-named Clarion Hotel right on the waterway is the hotel's bar called 101 West. It is poolside inside the hotel. The bar caters to hotel guests but has a devoted local following, too. The hotel recently changed brands from the Holiday Inn to the Clarion brand but the bar has not changed a bit. It has a very relaxed atmosphere with a hardwood bar, subdued lighting, and candles. During the spring and summer seasons it is a popular place for wedding receptions. There are nice views of the waterway just outside. Where many hotel bars are above average in prices 101 West is very competitive when it comes to drink prices. There's happy hour from 4-7 p.m. with $2 vodkas, 16-ounce draft for $2, and $3 house liquor. There's a new pool table and a dart board. The place also has repeat tourist business where people come back year after year to 101 West, whether they are staying at the hotel or not.
Westside Wisdom: "When I come here for business I always stay here. This is one of my favorite places to relax and have a drink." -Rita Greer, Florence
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. until midnight; Call 800-847-2707 or visit www.himyrtlebeach.com/lounge.php
Smokehouse Billiards, 3164 Waccamaw Boulevard
If you like to play some 8-ball then Smokehouse Billiards is a place that you are going to want to give a try. There are 15 pool tables in the establishment. The floor is an open style and it is a large room. The name is apt though and if you are averse to cigarette smoke this may be one you want to avoid. During pool league nights it can be standing room only. Smokehouse has leagues and tournaments for beginners all the way to advanced pool players. The amateur pool league is sanctioned by the A.P.A. (American Poolplayer Association) and boasts cash prizes and a trip to Las Vegas if you carry the title. Smokehouse also has leagues sanctioned by the V.N.E.A. (Valley National 8-ball Association). The leagues are run by Ewa Laurance, the Striking Viking, a Hall of Fame billiards player who lives near Myrtle Beach.
There are also dart leagues that can have as many as 50 players throwing sharp objects along with tournaments on Fridays and Saturdays.
There is more than just billiards and darts here, though. Smokehouse has a full menu and the kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, featuring $2 burgers. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, deejays spin records and there is never a cover charge. Smokehouse also has cross promotional events with Senor Frogs. Even though it can be crowded on league nights it still has a mellow, friendly vibe. Smokehouse attracts mostly locals and college students. It is also popular with service industry folks because it is open and serving until 4 a.m. during the week.
Westside Wisdom: "We have the best amusements, best bar food with all fresh ingredients, and the best prices." -Smokehouse Proprietor Stephen Rhodes
Check it out: Open 4 p.m. until 4 a.m. Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. until 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; Call 903-4288.
Ron Jon's Beer & Burgers, 3218 Waccamaw Boulevard
Colloquially known as, "the Original," Ron Jon's is most popular with college students and the service industry crowd.
Wednesday is the best night to come to Ron Jon's. The bar frequently has live entertainment but on Wednesdays, Ron Jon's hosts the Josh Brannon Band which brings a large crowd. With the large crowd comes a party atmosphere. There is also trivia on Wednesday nights. Something else that sets Ron Jon's apart is that those of you that are averse to smoke can sit on the nonsmoking side of the bar. It can get crowded and loud so you may pick which side of the bar is more agreeable to you as one side generally has more patrons than the other.
The bar has New England Patriot football gear placed throughout and many Patriots fans come on Sunday to enjoy the games. The rest is your traditional sports bar fare. Ron Jon's is a family-friendly establishment until around 8 p.m., but kids are even welcome after that to watch football games.
Ron Jon's also hosts UFC pay per view bouts on the big projection screens. There is never a cover charge here. The bar also has great drink prices with $2 vodka and rum drinks. There's also Ron Jon's signature 25-ounce domestic drafts for $3.
Westside Wisdom: "I love how cheap everything is during happy hour. I can get drunk for $10." - Erin Hale, Conway.
Check it out: Hours of operation are 11 a.m. until 2-4 a.m.; Call 238-8001.
Magoo's Sports and Spirits, 3308 Waccamaw Boulevard
Magoo's is a bar that is totally devoted to sports. It has been open since 1995, when it was located in downtown Myrtle Beach. It boasts a relaxed atmosphere with a beautiful dark hardwood bar and more intimate tables. Magoo's doesn't feature live entertainment. If there are no sporting events going on, then the jukebox is playing an eclectic collection of tunes all night.
The star at Magoo's has to be the food, including a full menu cooking until 3 a.m. The owner makes all the sauces in house and the wings are definitely the preferred menu choice. There is happy hour from 4-7:30 p.m. with 20-cent wings. The broccoli cheese bites are also popular. Magoo's often has free hors d'oeuvres on Sundays for football with some of the best chicken bog you have ever tasted. You can also wash down those hot wings with cold beer, including $1.65 Bud Light and on Tuesdays and Thursdays there are $1 vodka specials.
There is more to do at Magoo's than just eat and drink though. There are 24 plasma screen TVs. Magoo's also has sanctioned pool and dart leagues. Magoo's also has the standard arcade games, such as Silver Strike Bowling.
Westside Wisdom: "Magoo's serves the three needs: Football, Wings, and Beer." - Danielle Strickler, Myrtle Beach.
Check it out: Open 11 a.m. until 4 a.m.; Call 236-3303 or visit www.magoosofmyrtlebeach.com.
Waccamaw Bowling, 101 Gray Drive
Tired of just sitting at the bar and drinking? You can go bowling and drink instead.
There are bowling leagues at all times of day for all skill levels. The true star here is cosmic bowling. The lights go off, the music goes up, and the black lights come on. Waccamaw Lanes has cosmic bowling from 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. on Fridays and 1-4 p.m. and 9 p.m.-1 a.m. on Saturdays. The snack bar serves food up until 12:30 a.m. The on-site bar is a small area with subdued lighting. There are a few tables but the real focus is taking your drinks to the lanes. The bar has some great specials, though. But happy hour is truly just one hour. From 6 -7 p.m. all house liquor is $2.75.
Waccamaw Bowling also has $7 pitchers of beer, and $5 pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Busch Light at $1.25 a can.
Waccamaw Lanes is golfer friendly. Golfers come to bowl frequently when their tee times get rained out. The clientele here is mostly a collection of locals and college students. You can also rent lanes out for family reunions and all of your other party needs. Sundays are alcohol-free, according to the Lanes' web site.
Westside Wisdom: "You can always smoke in the bar. You cannot beat the bowling either." - Jane Cripps, Myrtle Beach.
Check it out: Open 3 p.m. until midnight Monday, 9 a.m. until midnight Tuesday, 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. until midnight Thursday, 3 p.m. until 1 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday, and noon until 11 p.m. Sunday; Call 236-1020 or visit www.waccamawbowling.com.
Tropical Beauties, 3164 Waccamaw Boulevard
When you look at the name of this gentleman's club you are getting exactly what you expect. There are tropical beauties that work at this club. They may not have a big recognizable brand so they make up for that by providing excellent personal service.
Tropical Beauties gets a mixed group of tourists and locals alike. It is also golfer friendly. There is no cover charge for golfers or locals.
This gentleman's club has all the standards including VIP rooms and private rooms. Tropical Beauties also has the occasional radio promotion. It has a nice relaxed atmosphere with comfortable seating and a nice vibe. Unlike some of the bigger gentleman's clubs in the area, Tropical Beauties does not have featured entertainers or traveling shows.
There is a two drink minimum but there are very competitive drink prices. Some of the specials include $7 buckets of Budweiser, $2 draft Bud Light, and $7.50 pitchers of beer.
Westside Wisdom: "The best reason to come here is, of course, the beautiful women." - Phillip Hazelden, Myrtle Beach.
Check it out: Open 6 p.m. until the party stops; Call 236-7591 or visit enationworldwide.com/TB/.
Fantails Adult Show Club, 3506 U.S. 501
Another choice for adult entertainment in West Myrtle Beach is Fantails Adult Show Club. It is a larger club with two stories. There's a large variety of dancers for every taste. Fantails is golfer and tourist friendly. There are couch rooms, VIP rooms, and private rooms for your enjoyment. There is a $4 cover charge.
The décor is nothing special, with pictures festooning the walls, loud music, and lots of lights.
Fantails does have competitive drink prices with $3 domestic beers. Fantails also has featured entertainers and some of the friendliest waitresses around. Locals get in free.
Westside Wisdom: "You cannot beat the attentive personal service you get here, and the ladies are not bad either." - Michael Freeman, Long Island, N.Y.
Check it out: Open until the party stops; Call 236-1552.