Until recently, the options for beer enthusiasts looking to try something new during their vacation were fairly limited.
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However, these days there are craft beer spots popping up all over the Grand Strand and more and more craft beer-devoted events, such as the upcoming Rivertown Music & Craft Brew Festival in Conway this May and the Brews’N The Boulevard event downtown Myrtle Beach in June.
Yes, you can still find the standards — Bud, Miller, Coors — pretty much everywhere you go on the beach, but the worldwide craft beer boom has finally hit Myrtle Beach and in a big way.
To help you navigate this brewing phenomenon, our sister publication Weekly Surge recently had it’s Beerman, John “Jilly” Garner compile a list of the Top 10 craft brew bars in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding area. Here’s a look at what he came up with:
Bully’s Pub and Grill
4868 U.S. 17 South, Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach
Located in Barefoot Landing, Bully’s is not only a great place to get a beer while your visiting family is busy on a Myrtle Beach shopping trip, but also a great spot to hang out before a concert at the House of Blues, or spend several hours shooting pool or watching a game.
Grab a seat at the bar or on one of the wooden bench tables or head outside to the waterfront picnic tables on the porch and feed the giant carp.
With 32 different beers on draft, shot specials and a full menu of wings, sliders and steaks, this North Myrtle Beach bar should have enough to please anyone in your group.
Play darts, shoot pool or play a large format video game with a cold beer in arm’s reach.
Pints to try on draft include New Belgium Ranger, Holy City Pluff Mud Porter and Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale, as well as regulars and seasonals from Goose Island, Sam Adams and New Belgium.
The bottle selection is not terribly impressive with a handful of Caribbean imports and a few ciders. But what Bully’s may lack in selection, it makes up with its atmosphere, friendly bartenders and great location.
Call 272-4123 or visit www.bullyspub.com for more details.
Liberty Tap Room
7651 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
With a killer Happy Hour menu and a selection of 36 different draft beers, Liberty Tap Room is a great place to meet up with friends or hang out on the patio and watch a game.
The full-service Myrtle Beach restaurant inside focuses on the giant bar that stretches the length of the patio.
Inside the bartenders buzz back and forth, making cocktails and pouring beers to the lively crowds that can be found here most evenings.
Though the microbrews made at Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery at Broadway at the Beach — another excellent craft brew spot — can’t be taken off premises to be sold at Liberty Tap Room, the bar does carry a few contract Liberty beers including the Miss Liberty Lager and Rocket’s Red Ale.
The Tap Room’s full selection includes an assortment of locally-brewed New South beers as well as other regional and national brews such as Terrapin, RJ Rockers, Goose Island and New Belgium.
Cheaply priced and ridiculously tasty appetizers such as fresh baked pretzels, chicken fingers and spinach dip — all priced at $4 to $5 for happy hour — are a big draw here.
There’s also pints of New South IPA for $2.50 and fantastic, friendly service. Liberty Tap Room is an amazing value, as well as a comfortable, more upscale Myrtle Beach bar to end a long day of exploring the beach or start an evening out.
Call 843-839-4677 or visit www.libertytaproom.com for more info.
Pawleys Island Tavern
10635 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
You could vacation in Pawleys Island for years without ever noticing the small sign beside the mailbox just before the South Causeway that marks the entrance to Pawleys Island Tavern.
But rest assured, that this south side bar, tucked back in the trees behind the Island Shops, is an oasis of good beer and great food.
Known as “the PIT” by locals, the bar features an outdoor seating area and tiki bar flanking the quaint tavern building.
Upon entering, you are immersed in a cavern wallpapered from floor to ceiling in dollar bills.
There’s a short bar, low tables in the dining room and a small stage is in the corner, but anything the place lacks in size — there’s no shortage of additional space when necessary — it makes up for in personality.
Brews such as Holy City Pluff Mud Porter, New South Nut Brown, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, River Dog IPA and the ever-popular PBR are on tap.
According to the patrons, there’s a rotating selection of brews and a glass refrigerator on the other side of the bar proudly displays cans of Westbrook IPA and White Thai, bottles of Bitch Creek ESB, Bell’s Pale Ale and Victory Swing, and imports such as Maisel and Harp.
While not an enormously diverse selection of craft beer, the Pawleys Island Tavern had plenty to enjoy with lots of tasty menu options, live music and a lively atmosphere.
The PIT is more of an experience — one that embodies the “arrogantly shabby” mantra of the Pawleys area — made complete with good beer.
Call 843-237-8465 or www.PawleysIslandTavern.com for more info.
221 N. Main St., North Myrtle Beach
Sitting between shag clubs and gift shops in the Ocean Drive section along Main Street in North Myrtle Beach is the International Café.
Besides the fact that it’s one of the few bars in North Myrtle Beach that’s not a haven for shag dancing and Beach music, the most distinctive thing about International Café is its beer selection.
While other bars on this list focus primarily on American craft beers, the International Café – as its name implies — focuses mostly on imported beers.
The beer menu at this North Myrtle Beach bar contains brews from more than 40 countries and serves beers that you don’t find much anywhere else in town, including Bitburger from Germany and Xingu Black Beer from Brazil.
Eight taps regularly carry beers from New South, Dos Equis, Warsteiner and Dogfish Head and bottles from Rogue, Sam Adams, Stone, Delirium Tremens, Chimay and Victory are chilling in the cooler.
With only two TVs in the bar, the focus is on enjoying the company you are with and interacting with the other patrons.
This is easy to do, as the crowd on weekend nights gets lively and the regulars are friendly and eager to talk. International Café is a great spot to go with a group.
The beer geeks will find plenty of treasures and will be tempted to try some rare imports they may have never had, while others should find plenty of great cocktails served by fast bartenders who may even have a Jell-O shot or two behind the bar just for them.
Call 843-281-2325 for more information.
Atlas Tap House
1004 Chester Ave., Myrtle Beach
The newly-opened Myrtle Beach bar is run by a pair of brothers and located at the corner of Mr. Joe White Avenue and Chester Street, just a few blocks up from Plyler Park and the Myrtle Beach Skywheel.
Though this old house has housed numerous local drinking establishments, the new owners have made extensive renovations with all new flooring, an extended bar, a pool table and revamped patio/tiki bar.
The fridge is filled with more than 60 beers from the likes of Great Divide, Harpoon, Terrapin and Bell’s Brewing and Atlas Tap House’s 25 taps serve beers from Westbrook, Red Hare, River Dog, Quest Brewing, New Belgium, Aviator, RJ Rockers and locally-brewed New South.
There’s also a large selection of top-shelf bourbon lining one wall and there’s a smoker in the back, smoking up a variety of scrumptious barbecue dishes.
Parking can be a bit tricky in this part of town, but as long as you bring quarters for the meters, you should be able to find a spot near the bar. You can also park in the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion parking garage just down the street and walk.
There are several refreshing summer beers on draft on the back patio and the pulled pork is delicious, pairing well with an IPA.
Combine the selection, food and atmosphere with the bar’s close proximity to popular downtown Myrtle Beach attractions and this could definitely become a popular spot this summer.
Call 843-945-9122 or visit Atlas Tap House on Facebook for more info.
400 Mr. Joe White Ave., Myrtle Beach
Adjoining the popular Dagwood’s Deli in Myrtle Beach is Bumstead’s Pub, a “Euro-American” bar with a beer list of more than 130 different beers.
The classic wood paneling and booths can make Bumstead’s look a little dark even during the day, but craft beer drinkers will see the light — in the two well-stocked refrigerators behind the bar.
Fifteen taps carry beers from Goose Island, RJ Rockers, Magic Hat, Sweetwater, Harp and Guinness, but the fridges hold some real treasures.
They contain bottles and cans from New South, Aviator, Red Hare, HeBrew, Abita, Highland, Duvel, Chimay, New Belgium, Brooklyn, Stone, Bear Republic, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, Duck Rabbit, Avery, Allagash, Lakefront, Left Hand, New Belgium, Sam Smith, Shine, Victory and Rogue.
A wide variety of imports are also on hand, including Tusker, Taj Mahal, St Peters, Spaten, Warsteiner, Sapporo, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch.
The food here consists of mostly English pub fare with a smattering of burgers and you can also order sandwiches from Dagwood’s, which are enormous, meaty delicacies that are known as some of the best on the beach.
If you’re sensitive to smoke, you may want to watch out as Myrtle Beach still allows smoking in bars and this place has a tendency to get pretty smoky when it’s crowded at night.
Call 843-445-6592 or visit www.bumsteadspub.com for more info.
Perrone’s Fine Food & Wine Market
13302 Ocean Highway (U.S. 17), Pawleys Island
In a small strip of stores across from Litchfield Plantation resort is a gourmet Mecca known as Perrone’s Fine Food and Wine Market.
Serving a lunch and dinner menu that has items such as French Fries cooked in duck fat, Wagyu Beef and ten different Bloody Marys, Perrone’s is a one-of-a-kind destination that’s a combination Myrtle Beach restaurant and shop.
Don’t let the single, paltry row of beer bottles surrounded by an impressive wine rack fool you.
If you look hard at those wine bottles, you’ll notice an Imperial Biscotti Break by Evil Twin lurking in there.
And then open the menu and you’ll see the big secret. Owner Steve Perrone is bringing his customers a craft beer experience like no other on the Grand Strand.
Boasting more than 60 different craft beer bottles and zero BMCs — Bud, Miller or Coors beers — Perrone gets excited about sharing his blossoming selection and knowledge with his largely more experienced and traveled clientele of Myrtle Beach visitors.
Make no mistake, this is no dive bar. Perrone will enthusiastically share recommendations and opinions on any and all beers served in his restaurant.
With an adjoining tapas bar, he also invites a nighttime crowd in for a Mediterranean menu and an expanded beer list and three new draft lines.
If you come in looking for Magic Hat or Blue Moon, you may be disappointed – Perrone’s personal tastes run closer to rare and distinctive.
You can still find a selection of Stone, Dogfish Head, Victory, Allagash, Avery, Founders and Bell’s, but you can also find more off-the-beaten path offerings, such as American wild ales from Weyerbacher and Allagash, a large variety of Belgian beers and interesting choices like French witbier Bieré de Blanche Meteor and Steigl Radler a beer that tasted exactly like fresh-squeezed grapefruit.
Believing strongly in pairing craft beer with gourmet food, Perrone not only uses some beer in his recipes, but he is also planning his first beer pairing dinner, with Victory Brewing.
Happening in May, the beer menu and food menu hasn’t been decided upon yet but with Perrone’s expertise in the kitchen and behind the bar it’s sure to be a great experience.
Call 843-235-9193 or visit www.perronesmarket.com for more information.
1571 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach
With many Mellow Mushrooms around the Southeast already pouring good beer, the Myrtle Beach location followed suit when it opened nearly 5 years ago — boasting an impressive 41-tap draft beer list and more than 40 different bottles.
The bar area is usually packed from about 5:30 p.m. on most nights, including weekdays.
A loyal regular crowd, monthly craft beer dinners and New Beer Mondays bring in lots of folks resulting in the pouring of plenty of good beer.
And because Mellow Mushroom pours a lot of beer, and has been doing so for several years, that means that the establishment will usually get dibs on the most sought-after kegs when they come to town.
This includes options like very-limited Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a rich bourbon and coffee flavored brew with a hoppy bitterness.
Also on draft are options like New South, Sam Adams, Lagunitas Sucks, Holy City Pluff Mud Porter, RJ Rockers Peachy King , Sweetwater IPA, Red Hare Rauchbier, Highland Oatmeal Porter, Terrapin Tree Hugger and several Sierra Nevada taps – just to name a few.
The glass fridge to the side of the bar holds a variety of treasures, including Smuttynose, Sam Smith, Green Flash, New Belgium, Allagash, Bell’s, Abita, Avery, Westbrook, Oskar Blues, Stone, Aviator and New South. A few imports rounded out the selection with Carib, Chimay, Peroni, Bass, Maisel Weisse and Franziskaner.
In addition to it’s location near Broadway at the Beach, this Myrtle Beach bar will soon opening a second Grand Strand location in North Myrtle Beach in the building that formerly housed Dirty Dick’s Crab House.
The new restaurant will focus even more on craft beer with a planned 60-tap bar.
Call 843-444-112 or visit www.mellowmushroom.com for more info.
1125 3rd Ave., Conway
With 18 taps, a refrigerator full of craft bottles and a selection of great burgers, sandwiches and salads, the Crafty Rooster makes the 20-minute drive to downtown Conway totally worth it.
Decked out in Coastal Carolina University colors and memorabilia, the “Bird on Third” as it is also known, has been open since 2011 and has boasted a nice beer selection since the beginning.
Plenty of TVs surround the bar and tables showing various sporting events. A dartboard, jukebox and video games are also available to help pass the time between pints.
A large chalkboard adorns one wall with the extensive tap list. New beers are tapped every Tuesday and immediately go on sale and each day brings a different lunch special.
The Crafty Rooster hosts monthly beer dinners and sponsors two local beer festivals including this spring’s event the Rivertown Music & Craft Beer Festival, taking place on May 3.
The food is fresh and hot and the beer cold and delicious. What more could you ask for?
Recently, the Crafty Rooster tapped limited kegs of Stone’s Enjoy By IPA and Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. So, if you are looking for the most sought-after beers in town, you’ll find them on tap at the Crafty Rooster.
Call 438-8330 or visit www.CraftyRooster.com for more info.
Hurricane Maggie’s Bar & Grill
7710 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
When owners Sheila Younger and Rick Younger moved from Virginia to the Myrtle Beach area to live out their dreams of opening a bar, the couple wasn’t fully versed on the craft beer revolution.
However, with a staff of knowledgeable bartenders and a built-in cast of regulars leftover from the bar’s previous regime – when it was called For What It’s Worth — the couple embraced their new mission and has committed themselves totally to the craft beer cause.
The pair have dedicated lots of time and money into renovating the bar, brightening it up, adding TVs, redoing the upstairs bar and patios and adding six additional taps to bolster their selection of drafts.
The selection included a variety of delicious brews such as Stone Go To Session IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin, Coronado Idiot IPA, Lion Export Stout, Bell’s Oberon, Founders All Day IPA and the surprisingly good Kasteel Rouge – plus another 60 or so bottles.
This Myrtle Beach bar also has full lineup of live music and entertainment each week and amazing grilled chicken wings.
Hurricane Maggie’s believes not only in pairing food with beer, but also pairing people with beer. The bar has recently started pouring flights of five different beers in 4-ounce glasses.
Bartenders are always happy to share their knowledge and more than happy to pour a small sample of a draft beer to a patron with the idea to introduce new beers to more people without them having to commit to a pint they may not want to finish.
“We believe enjoying craft beers should be an experience that includes the variations of fragrance, taste, and even the little fun facts about the beer or the brewery,” said owner Sheila Younger.
“There are a tremendous amount of great beers available locally in the Southeast, as well as nationally, and everyday we strive to see how we can make the best of the best available to a growing legion of specialty beer lovers in Myrtle Beach.”
Call 843-497-5000 or visit www.hurricanemaggies.com for more info.
More Myrtle Beach bars
- Island Bar Surfside in Myrtle Beach
- Pine Lakes Tavern in Myrtle Beach
- Handley’s Pub and Grub in Carolina Forest
- Joe’s Bar and Grill in North Myrtle Beach
- Beef O’Brady’s in Carolina Forest
- Good Time Charley’s at Broadway at the Beach
- Damon’s in North Myrtle Beach
- The Beer Lagoon on The Deck at the House of Blues
- TicketReturn.com Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- Gordon Biersch at The Market Common
Need more information on the local beer culture or where to go? Check out more from Beerman at WeeklySurge.com.