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Lift Your Spirits: Five Bars That Set the Bar on Hilton Head Island

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Tiki bar with band
Get into the island groove at the beachfront Tiki Bar.

South Carolina is a hive of lively dives, hip libation hubs and classy cocktail lounges that consistently hit all the marks—appealing atmosphere, creative cocktails, attentive service, top-notch bar snacks. 

On Hilton Head Island, the bars tend to embrace a festive, easy-going island energy—a natural result of catering to the golf, beach and honeymoon crowds.

Frozen concoctions and ice-cold drinks befitting the best tropical locales are the specialties of this area. A bonus is the amazing fresh seafood small plates, appetizers and meals offered as drink accompaniments.

Here is a sampling of the best of the best, where the drinks are inventive, the vibe is inspired and the little touches are designed to make you feel festive, relaxed and oh-so-special.

Frozen daquiris at Hurricane Bar
The drinks at Hurricane Bar pack an icy, fruit punch.

Hurricane Bar at the Black Marlin

You don’t need stormy weather to head to the Hurricane Bar located adjacent to Black Marlin Bayside Grill. The indoor/outdoor watering hole draws locals and visitors alike for live music and island-style camaraderie that’s pet-friendly. The round bar outdoors is a hotspot for cold libations and laid-back relaxation with views of Palmetto Bay marina.

Fall oyster roasts are a huge draw and highly recommended as are the hurricane parties. Drink-wise, try the signature Hurricane with Tropical Jack rum, Cruzan 151 rum, amaretto and fruit juices.

Don’t miss the sushi nachos for a noshing treat.

Ocean view, sunset, trees from balcony at Poseidon
Drink in a gorgeous island sunset along with your cocktail at the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon.

Rooftop Bar at Poseidon 

It’s no secret: Even the most delicious cocktail goes down smoother when viewing a breathtaking sunset. That’s the experience you can have when imbibing at the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon. Sunset views aside, there’s a lot to commend this island hotspot, namely live entertainment, dancing and an in-house DJ.

A festive note is always in the air here. Enhance it with Poseidon's Rum Punch, a juicy blend of Admiral Nelson's Coconut Rum, Don Q Gold Rum, apricot liquor, pineapple juice, orange juice and house-made sour mix.

Order fresh oysters on the half shell or steamed local shrimp for the win.

Bartender crafting cocktail
Classic cocktails inside or a frozen drink outside - the choice is yours at Lucky Rooster.

Lucky Rooster

Enjoy impressive drinks and a laid-back beach vibe all year long at Lucky Rooster's heated outdoor bar and patio. Live music and happy hour food specials add to the fun. Or cozy up at the indoor bar and enjoy a classic cocktail before tucking into an amazing dinner. 

Pool Bar Jim’s 

For more than 30 years, Jim Lisenby has been slicing and dicing fresh fruit to whip up his legendary heat-busting, frozen drinks. Indulge in one (or more) of the expertly crafted margaritas, daiquiris or mojitos. Pool and beach views add to the ultra-casual vibe, which could be described as “come one, come all.”

While all the libations are luscious, don’t skip the Lava Flow made with Bacardi light rum, pineapple juice, banana, coconut cream and berries. Goes great with a grouper sandwich.

Tiki bar on beach at night with band
The Tiki Hut on Hilton Head Island is a classic beach bar, located at the Beach House Resort

Tiki Hut

Toes in the sand, cold drink in hand and the only sound competing with the live music in the air is the crashing of waves. Welcome to the Tiki Hut, a beachfront gathering place that has perfected the island bar experience. Anytime is the right time for fun and relaxation, with two musical acts appearing daily, volleyball on the sand, and a team of seasoned bartenders serving up cold refreshments guaranteed to please.

Special events are a calling card of Tiki Hut, especially the Full Moon Party held monthly. Stake out a spot, settle in and order up the Local’s Jam, a tasty concoction of Wild Turkey bourbon, lemonade and raspberry puree.

For tropical noshing, the coconut shrimp with sweet chili aioli hits all the right spots.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.