When James Hughes, Steven Ramsey, and Matthew Connors moved to Florida together, they fished and lounged on the beach all day and worked at restaurants and bars all night. After returning to the Carolinas, the trio opened Sharkey's Raw Bar & Grill to capture the spirit of their favorite beachside pastime and the infectious energy of the area’s bustling nightlife. The private chef for the Masters golf tournament for five years, executive chef Steven steams, grills, and fries some of the ocean’s tastiest catches, including shrimp, oysters, crab, and fish. His menu also unfolds with crab-cake sandwiches, 10-ounce rib-eye steaks, and gator bites most popular with vengeful pirates with hooks for hands.
A second-place-award winner in the 2011 National Bartending Competition, Matthew manages a full stock of liquor that washes down each bite. Diners can dig in at the outdoor seating area or in the spacious 125-seat dining room, which evokes an oceanic feel with a large mural of octopi, sharks, fish, and a sunbathing Poseidon. Along with their fresh seafood, Sharkey's Raw Bar & Grill entices guests with live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Far more than a mere bar, Tavern 24 treats its guests to a relaxed, cozy atmosphere full of cold beers, hearty pub cuisine, sports on the TV, and a family-friendly environment. Guests sink their teeth into gourmet Angus-beef burgers, thin-crust pizzas, or plates of steak and grilled salmon, or sip margaritas, wine, and tasty craft beer on tap.
For more than 40 years, British expats Wally and Doris welcomed guests into Wally’s Sixpence in Savannah, where Wally would talk their ears off and Doris would feed them with lunch she’d prepared in her home kitchen. In 1999, two men who considered Wally’s their favorite watering hole took it over. They renamed it Six Pence Pub, renovated the interior, and converted the menu to a full array of English and American comfort food. The success of bread bowls brimming with Guinness-stout-marinated beef tips and classic reuben sandwiches has enabled the duo to launch another two locations. Although each pub has its own menu, they all pay homage to the Queen’s country with steaming shepherd’s pies, bangers and mash, and more than a dozen sandwiches. On-tap brews, bourbon, or single malt scotches help evenings pass more enjoyably than a staring contest with a Kit-Kat clock.
Each location’s atmosphere is unique: in Savannah, diners can lounge among plants on the patio or perch at a glossy wood bar guarded by unfurled British flags. In Fort Mill, guests know they’re at the right place when they see the unmistakable cherry red of a British telephone booth outside.
At Cloud 9 Martini & Tapas Bar, conversation passes between friends alongside tastes of 45 cold, sweet, or bitter martinis and 18 shareable tapas plates. A blue-lit, martini-shaped bar acts as a stage for mixologists’ concoctions to enthrall eyes and tongues with fruity, chocolaty, and gentlemanly flavors. The Baxterini’s classic recipe of Beefeater gin, vermouth, and olive juice gains approving nods from traditionalists, whereas the Smores replicates a summer treat—complete with flaming marshmallow—without the hassles of camping or starting a bonfire on your kitchen table. To expand a martini-centric evening, Cloud 9 also serves up handmade Chimay beer as well as SweetWater and Turbodog craft brews.
Around the rest of the lounge, sofas and chairs stacked with pillows serve as a convivial perch where guests share tapas. Cherry peppers pop with goat cheese and prosciutto, and quesadillas mix sweet and savory with a dollop of mango chutney atop a filling of apple and brie. On Saturday, DJs accompany bites with energy from their decks, infusing the space with up-tempo beats for dancing or karate montages.
Every weekend, The Comedy Zone puts on a three-act standup show, each headlined by nationally-touring comics often boasting credits from such programs as Last Comic Standing and Sirius XM Radio. On Thursday nights, the floor opens to a flurry of local up-and-comers, giving nascent comedians the chance to cut their teeth on a live audience and a microphone-shaped chew toy. Its partner restaurant and bar, Madison’s on the Corner, provides the show floor with a menu of drinks and pub grub such as steaks, burgers, and pasta.