Food & Drink

Checking out the stinky cheese and stems of red at Myrtle Beach’s wine bars

Wine bars have been around since the 1980s. Building in popularity through the 1990s, these places of classy indulgence began to gain definition. By 2000, wine bars had become a bona fide trend. Many of the metropolitan wine bars stole business from pubs and coffee houses as the idea of a social gathering spot was amended. A selection of wine and some small plates became more attractive in America.

As is prone to happen, everywhere that could get away with putting “wine bar” on their sign, did so. Just as a lot of places claim to be an “Irish Pub,” there are specifics to being a good wine bar.

Obviously, a great wine list is required. The place should have esoteric wines available. Wine that you do not see everyday. It should be stored properly and served in the appropriate glassware. The staff should be knowledgeable about the wine, food and the pairings. If you ask a question, the staff should have an answer. Wine bars are known to be places for trying new things. You should be able to get a taste of anything by-the-glass in an authentic wine bar. Most wine bars offer a low key and chill atmosphere.

While the trend of the wine bar, per se, has faded and the luster of what was new is now commonplace, there are still a few great wine bars in Myrtle Beach. Places that refuse to go into that good night and continue to offer great food, wine and service. In fact there is even a local newcomer that just may turn some heads once it becomes a little more established.

DP Wine and Tapas Bar (1160 Farrow Parkway) is a portion of Divine Prime Steakhouse. The quality of the food and wine is outstanding at this Market Common mainstay. Pork Belly. Enough said. In addition, beef carpaccio, thinly sliced raw beef, is a perfect wine bar plate. It begs for a red wine while maintaining a light and crisp vibe to the dish.

The bartenders have always been knowledgeable and helpful. Sometimes, they have a special bottle open that you might be able to get a glass out of. Just ask. That is another sign of a great wine bar. The hidden gems behind the bar that are available.

Coastal Wine Boutique and Lounge (301 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach) has a really great grasp on what what it does. The establishment offers nice sharing plates of cheese, bread and hummus that bring your palate to the purpose for being in a wine bar at all. The wine pairs well with these nibbles. The list focuses on the budget-friendly, but boutique wines of the world. Not to fret, if you want a delicious Bordeaux by-the-glass, Coastal Wine Boutique has that for you as well. A solid, evolving selection of wines to pair with the food is the idea.

Coastal Wine Boutique is very comfortable. It feels like a wine lovers haven at the beach. Flights are reasonably priced and the place, almost always, has a special or two going on. Great staff and all around vibe.

Boom Boom Wine Room (7713 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach), by name, sounds like something it is not. One of the newer wine bars on the beach and boasting some high tech by-the-glass service that makes the experience interactive and first class. The automated pouring system allows guests to buy a card with a dollar amount attached to it and serve themselves a vast range of wines. You can choose a taste, half glass or full glass with prices scaled accordingly. The caliber of wines run the gamut. The technology allows some very rare bottles to be served. This is the place to go if you want to sample some of the best wines out there.

The space is clean and modern. The small plate portions are fit for a meal by most accounts and lend themselves more to a traditional restaurant. The charcuterie plate and a selection of cheeses are reasons to hang out for awhile over a few tastes of the good stuff. Boom Boom could become a nice little locals haunt or a late night service industry place.

Whether a place is a so-called “real wine bar” or not is of little concern. However, if you put “wine bar,” or some close incarnation of the phrase, in your name, there will be expectations as to what you should be.

The wine bar genre may have settled into something that is not all that special anymore, but we have some places on the beach that are pressing on and making it chic again. Wine and food are the cornerstones of the restaurant industry. These aforementioned places do not disappoint in either area. Understand that the wine bar concept, much like the pub concept, is about the people. Mingling over some stinky cheese and a stem of red is the perfect happy hour. At least for me it is. Support these local wine meccas and treat them well.