Myrtle Beach Rocks to a Unique Beat, with Theaters, Beach Music, Honky-Tonks
By Terry Massey
Myrtle Beach Local Expert
No matter your musical tastes, you are sure to find something that strikes a chord with your ear drums in Myrtle Beach. Beach music, country/western, show tunes and good ol' rock 'n roll are always on the musical menu at the theaters and nightclubs in and around Myrtle Beach. The Grand Strand is home to several performance theaters and concert halls that attract touring acts, such as the Alabama Theater and the House of Blues. A more casual, grass-roots variety of music is on full display at a host of Myrtle Beach night clubs. Multiple options let you tap into the venues that 10Best readers favor, like Crocodile Rocks Dueling Pianos, or you can get a taste of the city's offerings by visiting places like the Boathouse, which is known for its rock music. If country-western music is more your speed, check out the legendary Bowery in the downtown Myrtle Beach district or Rodeo's in the popular Broadway at the Beach Celebrity Square area. While many venues on the local music scene are clustered in the Broadway area, know that terrific places to hear live music can be found throughout the Grand Strand.From the beach-music bars in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach to the waterway-front rock clubs in the tiny fishing village of Murrells Inlet, you can find a band with the perfect soundtrack for your Myrtle Beach vacation.
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)
Rising high above the complex at Broadway at the Beach is the shining Palace Theatre, which hosts some of the top concerts and off-Broadway productions in the Southeast. This elegant theatre has hosted such talent as Aretha Franklin, Kenny Rogers and many other top-name celebrities and acts. Previous shows include Wynonna, Randy Travis, Clint Black, "Evita," "Lord of the Dance" and "Le Grand Cirque." The 1920s-style lobby, concessionaires and gift shop are worth a visit and the helpful staff can help you find your seats or select your tickets to your show of choice. Show times and admissions vary, so call ahead. (843-448-0588, 800-905-4228)
Crocodile Rocks Dueling Pianos
A unique and fun entertainment experience featuring your requested songs performed by some of the coolest and funniest piano players anywhere. Enjoy your favorite libation, sing-along and join in the fun. In fact, don't be surprised to find yourself and your friends as part of the act as the dueling pianists bring volunteers up on stage for some good-natured jokes. Too shy for the stage? Just sit in the back and laugh at others making a fool of themselves. The crowd is active and in a good mood thanks to the talented and humorous key-ticklers and generous portions of liquid courage from the bar. (843-444-2096)
Legends In Concert
Like something straight out of Vegas (actually, it is!), this five-concert impersonator show is so good that a lot of patrons admit these performers do the songs as well as (in some cases better than) the originals. If you're thinking, "No way!" then come see for yourself as The Boss, Tina, Streisand, Cash and even Elvis take the stage and leave the crowd blown away. The new location at Broadway at the Beach features state-of-the-art sound, lighting and multi-media displays. Shows usually begin on the hour, for example 2pm, 6pm, 8pm or 9pm. Depending on the season, there may be multiple show times in one day. (843-238-7827)
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk
Stroll down the waterfront of this sleepy fishing village along the only stretch of town that doesn't go to bed early. The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk weaves along a path that backs up to a dozen bars and restaurants, most featuring outdoor decks with live music on the weekends. Places like Bubba's Love Shack and the Dead Dog Saloon have bands virtually every night of the week, while other stops like Divine Prime and Fishhouse offer a hip scene for more laid-back revelers. Enjoy a great view of sunset as the fishing boats return to the inlet after a long day at sea. (xxx-xxx-xxxx)
In 1986, Calvin Gilmore unveiled his Carolina Opry, which brings to the Grand Strand area some of the industry's top dancers, musicians, and singers for shows that dazzle audiences with their unique blend of music and comedy. Two decades later the Carolina Opry continues to draw big crowds and attract some of the top performers. In addition to year-round productions and concerts, the holiday season sees the Opry put on a stunning Christmas Special. Well reviewed and one of the most sought after tickets in town, the Carolina Opry is great entertainment for the entire family. Shows nightly, most at 8pm. (843-913-4000, 800-843-6779)
Don't miss the chance to see where country music super group Alabama got its start back in the 1970s, and little has changed at this hole-in-the-wall honky-tonk since those days. The house band kicks out live music six days a week and visiting bands and musicians get together to jam on its night off. Patrons off all walks of life share the common bond of live music. Not the fanciest place in town but a must-see for those looking for a true taste of the Myrtle Beach nightlife. Wear your dancing boots and don't be surprised if someone asks you to two-step. (843-626-3445)
Froggy Bottomz Live
The house band at Froggy Bottomz, Illuzion, is sure to bring down the house with an awesome repertoire of pop music covers. From your favorite classic rock tunes to current hip-hop chart toppers, Illuzion puts on a dynamic show that never fails to get the standing room-only crowds moving. Other bands and artists also make regular appearances at the club, which features a main stage and plenty of good seating in the bar area and upper-deck seating area. Full bar service is available, and there's even a VIP room with reserved tables if you want to roll like a rock star. (843-444-3500)
Named for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grammy Award-winning group that got its start on the Grand Strand, the Alabama Theatre stands as a testament to the band's roots. Live concerts and regular theater performances keep the action hopping at this 2,250-seat theater, which attracts country music's biggest stars to thye stage and some of the best singers and dancers this side of Broadway. Nightly shows feature the Alabama's very own entertainers, with frequent appearances by greats such as Loretta Lynn and George Jones. Most shows start at 7:30pm Tuesday through Sunday, but call ahead for exact schedule. (843-272-1111, 800-342-2262)
House of Blues
This restaurant/concert hall attracts great live music performed by nationally and internationally known rock, folk, blues, jazz and blues bands. The 2,000-person venue attracts many mid-major level touring acts as well as smaller regional bands. The intimate venue allows for great views from all angles and a top-notch sound system. In addition to the ticketed events, the restaurant/bar area features live music seven days a week, including a wonderful Sunday Gospel Brunch. Call ahead for a schedule of upcoming events. Ticket prices and showtimes vary - most are about $20 and start around 8 p.m. - but many of the top acts sell out early. (843-272-3000)
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.