Myrtle Beach area marina bars serve up enticing summer cocktails

For Weekly SurgeJuly 10, 2013 

What’s better than having a boat? Having a friend with a boat.

Whatever the case, I don’t condone imbibing on the water, but I do condone parking the boat for the day and hitting dry land for a cocktail.

The Myrtle Beach area has turned out some amazing places to dock and partake in recent years and, this summer, some went all out.

Whether you get there from the highway or the waterway, there is something about the smell of tropical fruit, a little alcohol and the salt air that gets your sea legs moving. Drinks from our local marina bars are making big waves, pun intended, on the Myrtle Beach cocktail scene.

Little River

Snooky’s Restaurant (4495 Baker Street, Little River) at Cricket Cove Marina has served drinks on the dock for years now. This summer, Snooky’s has a list of cocktails that will really make you question whether Bird Island is a good plan or if you just want to kick back and watch the boats roll by.

The Little River Breeze is a smooth blend of raspberry rum, pineapple and cranberry juice. A little twist on the classic breezy cocktail, but more delicious. If you stick around for two drinks, the Cucumber cocktail is crisp and refreshing. Absolut Citron, sour mix, club soda and cucumber give a culinary nod to flavor. Seasonal produce on any drink menu is just a good idea, when used correctly. This drink is a great example of using it successfully. Snooky’s also boasts an indoor bar, outdoor dining and a tiki bar at the end of the dock for a better view of the waterway.

North Myrtle Beach

There are a couple of marina spots in North Myrtle Beach, but for flip-flops, a newly-dry bathing suit and a beach burned T-shirt, there is one place to go. The newest incarnation of Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar and Grill (2051 Bridgeview Court, North Myrtle Beach) at the Barefoot Resort Marina, is everything that sandy toes and salt-kissed skin could ever want.

Dirty Don’s specialty is pitchers of cocktails. Oversized concoctions that beg multiple straws and passing around the table. For the offerings, the bar staff has morphed some classic cocktails into giant, Dirty Don’s originals.

The Spiked Tea brings everything Southern into a pitcher with Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, sweet tea and lemonade. Be careful with this one. It tastes so good on those hot boat days of summer, but it is meant for sipping. A rendition of the Dirty Don’s Margarita blends tequila, fresh lime, Grand Marnier, triple sec and salt. This is fresh, made-to-order and holds two great spirits that pair very well with fresh shucked oysters. Dirty Don’s has also teamed up with Ciroc Vodka this summer with four additional seasonal cocktails. The Coconut Colada is a crowd pleaser with nods to the island life and the frozen drink we all know so well. The marina version is a twist on the pina colada with a premium vodka. Think you’re breaking the bank on these drinks, then think again. The pitchers are $21 and the Ciroc featured cocktails are $6.95. That’s a good deal.

Murrells Inlet

When a place advertises “one flavor of ice cream; over 150 flavors of booze” on its Web site, you have my attention. Over indulgence is no stranger to the vacationing crowd, nor the locals, along the Grand Strand. So, when the same place offers to take you home from the docks in its 14-passenger Sober Shuttle, it’s a no-brainer.

Hannah Banana’s Sunshine Cabana Restaurant, Bar and Grill (1950 Wachesaw Road, Murrells Inlet) at the Wacca Wache Marina is the spot to be waterway-side on the South Strand. This place has a cocktail menu aptly named “tropical drinks.” This is why we are here, isn’t it? With more than 25 different flavors of rum, the sun is always shining at Hannah Banana’s. While I’m not suggesting that you sample every tropical drink or rum in one sitting, at least start with the Mermaid’s Melons. Four sizes to choose from and a fascinating blend of Bacardi Coco Rum, Malibu Melon Rum and pineapple juice. If you’ve never tasted vacation, this is as close as it gets. Plus, it’s just fun to say.

A close second is the Tropical Disturbance. Absolut Vanilla, banana rum and cranberry juice make this a potent little mix and it leaves very little disturbance in your day. Plan your heavy consumption days in advance as Hannah Banana’s does require a 24-hour notice for round-trip service in the Sober Shuttle. It’s the least we can do for a safe trip to and from a great bar.

We all agree that safety precedes a well-mixed libation any day of the week, but, if you find yourself parking the boat in search of those great island mixes, then these are the places for you. The vibe on the beach this summer is fresh, fruity and with quality spirits. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to drink something other than the well brands either. Summertime at the marina has gotten pretty sweet on our beach and we have the recipes to back it up.


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