March Madness In Myrtle Beach, 3/13, 3/04

Five Best Sports Bars in Myrtle Beach to Watch March Madness

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday,, 3/13

One of the great events on the sporting calendar – the NCAA Tournament – is upon us and it happens to coincide with the busiest part of the Myrtle Beach golf season. So if you are in town, where are the best places to watch the Big Dance and monitor your progress in the office pool?

The Grand Strand is home to a lot of outstanding sports bars, including Buffalo Wild Wings in Carolina Forest and Wild Wing Café at Barefoot Landing, but here are five local establishments where we would recommend watching the NCAA Tournament.

1. Overtime Sports Café has atmosphere in abundance. With 150 TVs, a 12-foot video wall, and four 10-foot wide projection screens, there is no better place to watch a game.

2. Given that it’s the only sports bar at Broadway at the Beach , the heart of the area’s party scene, Broadway Louie’s has to be near the top of the list. Throw in a 25-foot jumbo screen, four big screens and 35 smaller screens, and Broadway Louie’s is a great place to enjoy the Madness of March.

3. Oscar’s gives Overtime a run for its money as the best sports bar in North Myrtle Beach. The wings are among the area’s best and the mood is always festive.

4. Tucked away in Carolina Forest , just a Dustin Johnson drive from Legends and Myrtle Beach National, Handley’s Pub & Grub is worth seeking out. The food is good, booths are equipped with televisions and the beer selection is among the best. Throw in an outdoor patio and great “scenery” and Handley’s has earned its reputation as a local’s favorite.

5. Pine Lakes Tavern , which occupies the space Droopy’s used to call home, is a relative newcomer to the scene but is well worth checking out. An elevated bar framed by a wall of televisions makes it a sports fans paradise.

What is your favorite sports bar along the Grand Strand?

March Madness in Myrtle Beach

The best sports bars of the Grand Strand

LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (March 8, 2004) -- It's half past midnight on a Thursday night and 37 TVs are broadcasting anything from ESPN and Fox Sports South to NTN Trivia and Texas Hold 'em poker. The kitchen is still open at the Big League Sports Bar and Grill and the occasional plate of piping hot chicken wings makes its way to a crowded table.

A surly bartender with a goatee pulls a stable of domestic beer taps with the dexterity of a gymnast. A twenty-something waitress in a tight T-shirt grabs a handful of pitchers and dodges unsuspecting patrons like a point guard in the waning seconds of a win-or-go-home basketball game.

Ah, March Madness in the Grand Strand. Soon tens of thousands of golfers will be pouring into local sports watering holes from Pawleys Island to Holden Beach in search of a game, some grub, and a few frosty beverages. Will UConn get it together to win it all for the second time in five years? Will undefeated St. Joseph's or gritty Gonzaga become the first mid-major to make it through the 65-team field to the Final Four? And more importantly, will happy hour go on forever?

These questions and more will be resolved over the next three weeks.

With more than 110 golf courses, Myrtle Beach's status as a golf destination with few peers is hardly a trade secret. A lesser known fact is that the Grand Strand is arguably the sports bar capital of the Southeast. And we're not talking about the tony white table cloth, spinach artichoke dip joints of Atlanta and Charlotte. We're talking entire rolls of paper towels, big pitchers of cheap domestic brew, and food served in plastic baskets.

Finding a sports bar in the greater Myrtle Beach area is usually a simple matter of driving along U.S. 17 until a gaudy billboard or neon beer sign appears (every ¼ mile or so). For those who'd rather not leave it up to chance, here's a solid starting lineup to choose from.

Murphy's Law Sports and Raw Bar , Myrtle Beach/Garden City -- Murphy's, a Myrtle Beach institution, now has a South Strand location that is almost as strong as the original. "Pittsburgh" with an ocean breeze is Murphy's moniker, due to its unabashed alliance with the Iron City's NFL Steelers and NHL Penguins. Happy hour runs Mon. - Fri., 4-8 p.m. with dollar drafts and 35-cent wings. The crab legs at $7.99 a pound are tough to top. (843) 448-6021.

The Varsity Sports Bar and Grill , Little River -- Small, dank and smoky -- brilliant! Prime rib Saturdays are the name of the game at the Varsity -- $8.95 for a big chunk of juicy read meat and two sides. Happy hour means dollar draft beer (Natty Lite) and daily food specials. Beware of the wings, which were a little tough upon this tasting. (843) 280-8804.

Overtime Sports Café , North Myrtle Beach -- Overtime is the closest thing NMB has to a "mega" sports bar. The TV count easily exceeds anything in these parts, including the 16-screen clusters that either serve as one big boob tube or (you guessed it) 16 a la carte idiot boxes. Wings and burgers are above average, but the baby back ribs are the attraction -- fall-off-the-bone tender and served in a thick, rich, BBQ sauce. (843) 361-1514.

Jimmagan's , Murrells Inlet/Myrtle Beach/Little River -- This popular local chain is known for its wings, served up in hot, turbo, teriyaki, and garlic parmesan varieties. The Murrells Inlet location is buried at the end of Biz 17 and is a haven for local Gamecock and Tar Heel fans. The ambiance is dark, the décor is vinyl and the TVs are everywhere. For a change of pace, try the pizza. 1-866-409-2177

Big League Sports Bar and Grill , Little River -- Big League is cut from the same cloth as the Varsity, and incidentally is located right across U.S. 17. Like Varsity, the crowd is local and loud. Happy hour runs 4-7 p.m. and Thursday is 25-cent wing day -- all day. If you want to hear the game, try to avoid live music Fridays. (843) 280-4818.

Bullfeathers , Murrells Inlet -- Patty McCarthy did what most guys only dare to dream last April -- she bought a bar. While the Pittsburgh native doesn't label Bullfeathers a "sports bar," it's the perfect place to catch a game on a warm spring afternoon or evening. McCarthy recently expanded the back deck and TVs are carted outside during the Madness, along with trays full of ice cold, long neck beers. House specialties are grouper (any way you want it) and Reubens. As you might expect, Pittsburgh Panther fans are welcome. (843) 357-4340.

On course
Duffers devouring 36 holes a day may need to catch part of a game at the 19th hole. Here are a handful of clubhouse bars with enough TVs, cold beer and munchies to scratch the first half itch.

Heritage Club , Pawleys Island -- Pub style atmosphere in one of MB's most stately clubhouses. A couple of decent sized TVs hang at the bar and a older style big screen graces the floor. 1-866-409-2177

Oyster Bay Golf Links , Calabash -- Early '80s clubhouse with big glass windows, a couple of TVs and Red Hook on tap! Chili dogs are among the best along the North Strand. 1-866-409-2177

Legends Resort , Myrtle Beach -- The Ailsa Pub is a legit sports bar, 19th hole or not. Named for the Ailsa Craig, a Scottish landmark near Turnberry, Ailsa Pub has a couple of big screens and a smattering of smaller ones to appease hoops fans. 1-866-409-2177

Myrtle Beach National , Myrtle Beach -- A generous big screen and cozy chairs make for a good place to hunker down for a half after knocking it around on King's North. 1-866-409-2177

Further Distractions: Fat Guy Research :  Myrtle also hosts 2 beer festivals during March: Irish Fest , around St. Patty's Day; and Myrtle Beach Beer Fest , usually 2 weekends later.