There are all kinds of bars in the Myrtle Beach area - pubs, sports bars, oyster shacks and beach bars - but a select few stand out in the crowd. Whether you are looking for a frozen drinks while watching the waves roll in or checking out the games in a fan-friendly environment, the Grand Strand has a bar that's just right for you and your party to kick back and relax. Beach bars rule the roost on this list like Ocean Annie's and Bummz Beach Cafe. Many of the hottest spots are conveniently located near the top attractions in town, such as Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing, giving guests great places to take a break from a busy day of shopping or a nice night out for dinner. Others are off the beaten path, popular watering holes that have stood the test of time in a tourist town where bars are often geared toward those on vacation. But the locals know where to go to escape the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, and a few of those well-kept secrets are unveiled in this list. Flynn's Irish Tavern is a place you might miss if you blink, but inside is a friendly group of regulars and lucky visitors who mix as smoothly as the drinks. So whether you're looking for a night of fun or relaxation, here are 10 bars that fit the bill.
10 Fat Tuesday
If daiquiris and frozen drinks are your thing, then an evening at Fat Tuesday is a must. Indeed, this bar's a haven for those thirsting for good times and even better elixirs. Be sure to try the famous 190 Octane, a scrumptious orange juice concoction, or go for the Banana Banshee, Blue Bayou or Rum Runner. Mouthwatering snacks such as wings, seasoned to your liking, fried portobello mushrooms, and nachos topped with cheese, sour cream and salsa keep the crowds happy. If you don't do daiquiris, Fat Tuesday also serves beer, wine and mixed drinks. A limited food menu is also available. (843-444-3255)
9 Dirty Don's Oyster Bar & Grill
Billed as a beachside "foodrinkery," Dirty Don's is the younger, more irreverent sibling of the legendary Studebaker's. Here, you can relax on the deck and indulge to your heart's content on everything from oysters to wings. If you're with a group, the Dunkin' Pot full of shellfish, cob corn, sausages and garlic bread is certainly the way to go. As for imbibables, the bar serves up plenty of cocktails, and they've also got more than enough tall cold ones to go around. Happy hour draws a nice crowd for discounted oysters and other appetizers plus draft beers. Hours may be truncated during winter. (843-448-4881)
8 Señor Frog's
The USA's one and only Señor Frog's needs no introduction. Just like its resorty Caribbean cousins, the place is always hopping with music and laughter. It's a popular stop-over for folks shopping during the day, but once the sun goes down, the party really gets started! Enjoy a frosty drink, order up a bucket of Coronas or, if you dare, tackle the mighty yard glass. It won't be long before you feel the need to join in on the conga line or break into song with (or even without) your amigos. The Frog also serves tasty Mexican eats, especially the fish tacos. (843-444-5506)
7 Bully's Pub & Grill
A great deck, 32 flavors of draft beer and terrific service -- what more could you ask for from your friendly neighborhood watering hole? Stop by in the afternoon for a bite of lunch on the waterside deck. Come by later in the evening to catch a game on the tube. With "tons of TVs" and an NFL Sunday Ticket package, they're sure to have your team on. If you need more diversions, head to the games area, where you'll find pool tables, dart boards, bowling and the ever-contentious Golden Tee. Not just a hangout for vacationers, Bully's sees to locals by hosting parties throughout the year. (843-272-4123)
6 Harold's on the Ocean
Classic bar food makes up the menu, like the world-famous fried bologna sandwich and fried dill pickle chips, but the atmosphere is the main draw to this seaside shack. Shag dance on the outdoor deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while you sway to the sounds of the waves and the sweet tunes that have been rocking this beach bar for six decades. Although the music is heavy on the juke box during the week, Harold's is known for attracting some of the top beach music acts in the business - no small feat for a bar this size. But there's plenty of room to dance and spectate, even if it involves listen from a nearby blanket on the beach. Harold's also offers a full menu specializing in seafood, of course, and the ice-cold beer and frozen drinks are always flowing on the open-air deck. (843-249-5601)
5 Original Shuckers Raw Bar
A great place to take a group of friends, Shuckers ranks highly with locals and frequent visitors to the Strand - a nod, no doubt, to its awesome raw bar specialties and friendly, laid-back vibe. Happy hour, especially, is the time to be here, because prices on brews, wings and oysters are simply unbelievable. If your party's looking for more substantial eats, Shuckers' kitchen also serves up a delicious ensemble of steaks, pasta dishes and fresh seafood. Be adventurous and try the house special oyster shooter - tequilla, hot sauce, Bloody Mary mix and, of course, a juicy oyster served in a shot glass. (843-626-9535)
4 8th Avenue Tiki Bar & Grill
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk continues to bring new businesses to the downtown district, and the 8th Avenue Tiki Bar & Grill is the latest addition to this increasingly hottest spot in town. Taking over a historic building previously occupied by legendary night clubs like Mother Fletcher's and Club Myst, 8th Avenue Tiki Bar & Grill hopes to bring a new attitude and atmosphere to the Myrtle Beach Oceanfront - a more festive, beach environment instead of the dance-club reputation of the building's previous owners and operators. Using bright colors and a new patio deck addition, 8th Avenue Tiki Bar & Grill plans to hold luaus and other beach-related festivities to the Boardwalk area, something that has been missing from the area since the 1.2-mile walkway was opened in 2009. 8th Avenue Tiki Bar & Grill also looks to add more emphasis to food, featuring a full menu of bar-food fare and seafood, such as fish tacos and buffalo shrimp. Burgers, steaks and other standard fare are on the menu, as well as frozen dessert drinks and a Reese's Cup Cheesecake that tastes as sinful as it sounds. (843-712-2340)
3 Bummz Beach Cafe
The name says it all for this casual, come-as-you-are bar and grill, where patrons often stroll up from the beach with sand on their feet for a bite to eat and a cold one. Ocean views, frozen concoctions, live music and great food is what it's all about at Bummz Beach Cafe, which offers all these and more in a fun-filled and family-friendly atmosphere just steps away from the ocean. Situated in a 1930's beach house setting, guests can sip on a cocktail while lounging in beach chairs and hammocks on the back patio deck, or get their grub on via a host of tasty burgers, sandwiches and salads. (843-916-9111)
2 Flynn's Irish Tavern
For a quiet, low-key brush with locals, look to this red-brick tavern located in downtown North Myrtle, which used to serve as the city jail. A full menu of pub grub is available, from tasty Irish favorites like bangers & mash and shepherd's pie to more domestic dishes like blackened salmon and grilled pork chops. Best of all, in the truest public house spirit, the dwelling features several comfortable places to sit and converse while you enjoy - what else? - a nice, cold glass of stout. Flynn's recently added a huge outdoor deck with a full bar, band stand, darts and sports on TV. (843-249-6533)
1 Ocean Annie's
For more than two decades, this beachfront bar has served as one of the hottest spots in all of Myrtle Beach. Featuring fun under the sun, cold drinks in the shade and a party atmosphere that lasts into the night, Ocean Annie's attracts large crowds from the nearby resorts and locals alike. Located behind Sands Ocean Club, the large pool deck includes a stagel for live music and dancing beside - and even inside - the enormous swimming pool. Guests can take a stroll down to the beach for some sun and surf then step back to the bar for a drink or a snack. (843-449-6461)
About Terry Massey
It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.' He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.
He and his wife Stephanie were honeymooning in Myrtle Beach, when Terry was offered a job at the local newspaper. Without hesitation, they packed a U-Haul with their belongings - including unopened wedding gifts - and moved to the beach. They now have a daughter, Riley, a golden retriever, Duff, and their roots are deeply grounded in the sand.
After 13 years at the newspaper, Terry became a freelance writer to cover all the things that brought him to the beach.
Read more about Terry Massey here.
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