This is the latest in our series of reviews of local bars, clubs and other venues along the Grand Strand. This time we set forth to explore a sleepy Tuesday evening in the heart of North Myrtle Beach, hopping between two bars located on Main Street, Pirate's Cove and Deckerz.
Last summer, while trying to get in shape, I took off from my house in the Socastee area and rode it all the way to Cherry Grove. It was a monumental ride (at least for me) that took me on about 40 miles of roads and opened my eyes to alot of interesting places I didn't know existed. One of them was North Myrtle Beach.
Surely, I knew the town existed, but I hadn't seen the downtown area in all its glory until that day, and it struck me as a place that wasn't unlike everything else I'd come to know in Myrtle Beach, but yet had a distinctly different look and feel to it.
Since that day, I've rarely had the occasion to revisit the area and now that we're trying to branch out and experience all the Grand Strand has to offer, I thought this would be as good a time as any.
I knew of a band, Treehouse, who plays a regular Tuesday night gig at Pirate's Cove, so I set forth to find out what it was all about.
I arrived at the bar about 9 p.m. and initially noticed how quiet it was. I didn't expect a big crowd on a Tuesday in October, but it was enough to make me wonder if I had the right place.
Turns out I had the right place, but wrong time...the band didn't start until 10 p.m. and the bartender informed me that the place didn't usually begin to fill up until 11 p.m. or later this time of year ("Service industry folks...").
"No problem," I thought. "This gives me some extra time to feel it out."
I was impressed by the size of the place which, after a long hallway entrance opens up to a large wooden dancefloor with a few tables in a corner and the corner stage in the other.
From the dancefloor, a few steps up takes you to the a well-worn, four-sided bar with padded, high backed stools that reminded me of an old bowling alley or arcade.
In talking with the few patrons that were there, not only did I get a glowing endorsement of the band which would be playing, but also a description of the rooftop patio — which sounded like a nice summer spot for some laid-back tunes — and a quick recap of other bars in the area from the owner of the International Cafe.
After a few minutes of taking in some sports on a nice big projection screen and flipping through last week's Weekly Surge, I was greeted by Michael James, president of the Musicians Network, with whom I had planned to meet in order to listen to some music.
Since there was none playing at the moment, he and I took a short jaunt down Main Street to stop by Deckerz, where local musician and writer Paul Grimshaw was playing a solo acoustic set.
The first thing I noticed there was a nice double-decker wooden deck (I assume that's where the name comes from) draped in lights. The crowd was fairly small, but in comparison much more lively than Pirate's Cove, and filled mostly with an over 40 crowd enjoying a few drinks, chatting and taking in baseball and hockey on the TVs.
Inside, an oddly-shaped bar seemed to be crammed in a fairly small area, surrounded by high-top tables, an open "stage area" in one corner and a pool table in another corner area.
We grabbed a seat with a good view of Grimshaw and watched the seasoned performer breeze through a set of covers carefully chosen to run the gamut from pop to classic rock to country and back. Michael watched in only the way a fellow musician could, carefully considering what he was seeing and pointing out the digital harmonizer Grimshaw used to enhance his voice.
After a half an hour or so, we caught him in a down moment between songs, introduced ourselves to the singer and talked shop for a few minutes before heading back to Pirate's Cove where Treehouse was now on stage.
There was now a larger crowd which consists of some friends of the band and a couple "regulars" who danced together on the dance floor. The band played some great Sublime and reggae covers before getting into some of their own material, which sounded as good there as is does here.
Overall, I think both places showed great potential. Deckerz outdoor patio and Pirate's Cove rooftop are would surely make for nice places for a summer show filled with vacationers.