Being at the beach has its advantages, one of the biggest being a weather pattern which usually makes for a pleasant outdoor experience. Here’s a look at some of our favorite places for listening to live music outdoors along the Grand Strand:
201 Hard Rock Pkwy., Myrtle Beach
Calling itself “The best backyard in town” the Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill features a large outdoor area that fronts the Intracoastal Waterway — allow for access via boat — and features a great tiki bar and outdoor volleyball court.
The bar has built its name on hosting live music every Sunday afternoon in what’s known as the Backyard Summer Concert Series. These “Sunday Funday” shows start at 4 p.m. each week and feature an opening — usually local — act starting about 5 p.m. with the headliner going on around 6:30 p.m. This year, the Boathouse has also added a house DJ, local DJ BZ, spinning Top 40 and Hip-hop indoors following the performance.
The series, which runs through Labor Day, has already hosted acts such as Rehab, JJ Grey & Mofro, Cowboy Mouth, Bubba Sparxx, Confederate Railroad and Passafire this summer and still has two upcoming festivals — the popular Jerryfest and the brand-new Boatin’ & Groovin’ festival — in coming weeks.
Broadway at the Beach
1325 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach
It’s probably worth considering tenants such as Senor Frogs, Margaritaville, and Hard Rock Cafe on their own merits for outdoor entertainment, but when you consider Broadway as a whole it’s a no-brainer to put the complex on this top 10 list. In addition to those mentioned above, places such as Good Time Charley’s, Liberty Steakhouse and Key West Grill all offer occasional entertainment, adding to Broadway’s appeal, which includes an already stacked lineup of clubs and restaurants.
Though the complex isn’t hosting a summer concert series in 2011 — last year’s featured Blues Traveler, Pat Benatar and Cowboy Mouth — the outdoor stages in Celebrity Square and Heroes Harbour (near Margaritaville) still host a variety of music ranging from Classic Rock to Pop throughout the season. In addition to plenty of local acts, the Celebrity Square stage will host a show with the KISS Army in August to celebrate the 5th anniversary of KISS Cofeehouse.
2002 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach
This restaurant and bar is hidden amidst a stretch of large hotels on Ocean Boulevard with a great outdoor area which lies just steps from the beach, secluded a row of trees and bushes on each side. With more than a dozen tables for eating some of the beach’s best burgers and ample space for dancing around the small, covered stage area Bummz has an atmosphere that is unique without being too exotic or high maintenance.
The music generally matches the laid-back setting, with a selection of Acoustic, Reggae and Island tunes.
Harold’s On The Ocean
2301 N. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach
This longtime beachfront haunt is located just up from the beach in the heart of Cherry Grove. As the sister club of Shagger haven Fat Harold’s Beach Club, the musical offerings often range into Beach music territory, but also include other laid-back and acoustic options from local players such as the Eason Duo, Steve Pethel, Jody Hunter and Jeremy Anderson.
The deck is a bit weathered and some may prefer to think of HOTO’s as a dive bar, but the crowds are fun, the staff is friendly and the food and drinks are good and cheap. It’s a perfect no-nonsense spot that’s become a beloved part of the local music community.
Island Bar & Grill Pawleys
10744 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
More laid-back than the Surfside spot by the same name, this bar — located just past the Hammock Shops in Pawleys — is a great place to hear live music outdoors. The patio isn’t huge, but it’s well kept with a covered wooden stage at one end that hosts a verity of music.
This summer’s lineup includes live entertainment every night with acoustic tunes from Alex Lawson each Monday, a quartet of former realtors called The Forclosures on Tuesdays, Karaoke on Fridays, and a Blues brunch buffet on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In between, music ranges from the Blues of My Buddy Todd to straight-on rock by Stealing Anger and even an Irish twist with Band on the Rum.
La Belle Amie Vineyard
1120 Saint Joseph Road, Little River
One of the area’s more unique musical settings resides on the north end at Little River’s La Belle Amie Vineyard. The winery hosts live music every weekend throughout the summer, with a number of themed festivals throughout the year including the Independence Music Blast (July 2), Summer Parrot Head Festival (July 30), Whole Lotta Shakin’ Oldies Fest (Aug. 20) and Summer Breeze Music Fest (Sept. 2).
Each of these festivals offers attendees a chance to relax on the vineyard lawn while listening to local acts perform everything from Rock and Blues to Big band and Jazz. In addition, food is offered and tours of the vineyard happen every afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Admission is usually $8-10, with the vineyard offering $3 OFF for every donation of two canned food items.
Ocean Annie’s Beach Bar
9550 Shore Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572-5132
The self-proclaimed “Most Famous Bar in Myrtle Beach” is located inside the Sands Ocean Club Resort off of Lake Arrowhead Road on the north end of Myrtle Beach. The bar itself is a huge, dual-layered deck located directly off the beach and offers a great laid-back atmosphere and awesome views of the ocean.
The music is a steady variety of danceable hits, generally catering to an older crowd with Beach favorites from the Fat Jack Band during the day each weekday. The Southside band, who has been holding down Ocean Annie’s for more than a decade, performs at night and holds down the bar day & night on Saturdays. In additon, N.C. native Marsha Morgan leads her band to close out and begin each week on Sundays and Mondays.
205 Main St. North Myrtle Beach
One of North Myrtle Beach’s most active musical venues, Pirate’s Cove hosts live music, 7 days a week, all year round. During the tourist season, the bar often doubles up with live acts paying indoors — in front of a huge dancefloor — and upstairs.
Up a flight of wooden stairs, the “Bomba Shack” deck features a small bar and ample space for taking in the tunes from a stage in one corner. Drinks are reasonably priced and the views of Ocean Blvd. and the beach are nice.
Musical options include both covers and original music from bands such as Vega (every Monday), Treehouse (every Tuesday), The Porch Crickets, The Fever, Kramer and plenty more.
Mr. Joe White Avenue & Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach
Few places give the true Myrtle Beach experience like a trip to this park in the heart of downtown. As the home of the Oceanfront Merchants Association’s Hot Summer Nights concert series, the stage constructed here each summer sees a variety of acts, with live entertainment scheduled each day from June through September. These events include kids fairs on Mondays, fireworks on Wednesday nights, a strolling Dixieland band on Fridays, and a unique percussion act called Whacker Barrel every Sunday.
The remaining days of the week are filled with live music in a schedule that sees two of the area’s most successful acts — Funk/Soul group Tru Sol and Bluesy rockers Ten Toes Up — trade off each Tuesday. Thursday generally see a local cover act, while Saturdays aim high with some of the best touring acts from around the region.
And if the music isn’t quite your style or the weather gets to hot, there’s plenty of nearby escapes including the newly-built Skywheel and Landshark Landing or other live music hotspots such as Oceanfront Bar & Grill and The Bowery just down the block.
3415 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet
Few restaurants rely as heavily on their outdoor area as this re-established Grand Strand favorite, which recently took up residence in the former Hoof 'N' Finz location across from Suck Bang Blow. With only a small indoor dining room, the majority of this Tex-Mex spot's seating is on its outdoor patio and the huge deck which it overlooks.
Rosa Linda's serves memorable cuisine and tasty margaritas, and is also is steeped in southern charm with enormous live oaks draped over the outdoor deck and covered bar area, providing some shade from the hot summer sun.
The large stage provides ample opportunity for bands of all shapes, sizes and genres. Rosa Linda's usually has live bands performing 3-4 days a week with acts range from standard cover band fare typical of the Inlet, to more obscure choices booked in by the owner’s brother, well-known local musician Sam Favata. Upcoming shows include Charleston's Jason & The Juggernauts (July 1) and The Freeloaders (July 2), as well as local Blues act Cortez & The Killers (July 15) and Brooklyn-based band Chimneys (July 21).
Honorable Mention to House of Blues (Gator Bar Stage), Hot Fish Club (a great outdoor area with music just inside the Gazebo), Backstage Cafe (Georgetown spot with nice deck, but no view), Boom Boom’s Raw Bar (Niceback deck in NMB perfect for Beach music fans), Molly Darcy’s (Oceanfront pub w/ deck in NMB) and all the places keeping music alive at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.