Pawleys Island Tavern is a local's favorite and has long been considered one of the best hangouts on the south end of the Grand Strand — but good luck finding it.
This hidden gem is situated just off the main drag of U.S. 17 in Pawleys Island, but thanks to signage regulations designed to keep the area quaint, the only thing you'll see from the street is a non-descript mailbox to guide you in.
Assuming you do take the effort to put this spot in your GPS and take the trip, you'll be glad you did.
Nestled in the woods behind the Island Shops, a long dirt driveway leads you to what locals know as “The PIT” a great bar and live music venue that's much more inviting than its nickname suggests.
Funky, in a good way, is the best way to describe the interior of this place — a combination juke joint, seafood hut and dive bar. From the dollar bills plastered to every wall and surface to the ramshackle stage and outdoor tiki bar draped in live oak trees, everything here exudes the “arrogantly shabby” vibe that Pawleys Island is all about.
It is a super laid-back kind of place with friendly service, and return customers who rave about the seafood-heavy munchables and ice cold affordable beer, including Myrtle Beach’s New South Ale.
In addition to the bar area, there is seating on the various porches and when weather permits, you can go al fresco at the out-front Tiki bar, which has several nearby tables and chairs, underneath the Lowcountry vegetation. (And if you’ve had too many adult beverages, there’s a Creekside Cab Hotline phone on the back side of the Tiki bar.
During the day, the PIT can be a ladies-who-lunch type of place although extremely casual, but at night the PIT gets rocking with local and regional music acts, which definitely go beyond the “blues” tagline mentioned earlier, and include everything from local acoustic singer-songwriter types to a monthly local tribute to the Velvet Underground. The PIT is closed on Mondays, according to its Website.
One of the PIT’s mottos scrawled on a folk art sign and repeated on the eatery's Web site reads: “Home of Shrimp, Beer and Blues.”
Peel-and-eat shrimp seasoned with Old Bay and butter is a favorite, but the tavern touts its crab cakes “made with secret spices,” which are available as appetizers ($9), lunch plate special ($10.95), sandwich ($11), or you can grab them to take home to cook ($9 per uncooked cake). Other specialties include a wide range of pizzas, lunch Blue Plate specials and signature pimento cheese sandwich.
For the adventurous, there’s the Psycho Burger, featuring the tavern’s pimento cheese, with chili, jalapenos, slaw, hot sauce and topped with an over-easy egg. Ouch!
10635 Ocean Hwy., Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Here's what you need to know before you go.