The Best Outdoor Bars On Hilton Head

The Best Outdoor Bars On Hilton Head

After a long day it’s important to unwind and relax, what better place to do it than one of our lowcountry bars. We are fortunate that the natural beauty of the south makes any outdoor area magical with the right touches. We have lived in the Lowcountry for decades and have seen many restaurants rise and fall. These are the best of the best; our personal favorite watering holes when you need your outdoor fix!

Poseidon

Named for the god of the sea, this upscale, mid-island, mega-hit has it all when it comes to location, views, and options for late-night fun. The location has two separate bars:

The Rooftop Bar touts itself as Hilton Head’s premier live music venue. Its sleek, cool vibe and beautiful views make it a glam spot to grab one of their drink specials or stop in for a standing weekly event: get your cowboy boots on for free country line dancing every Wednesday and dueling pianos every Thursday. Past weekend music headliners include Journey tribute band Trial By Fire and Deas Guyz. The bar has also hosted New Year’s Eve bashes, is a hot spot for bachelorette/bachelor parties, and is available for private events.

Downstairs, the NautiBar is an outdoor covered bar where you can grab a drink and enjoy views of Broad Creek. The spot also has a raw bar, aptly named The World is Your Oyster, where you can sidle up for some icy cold shellfish.

Plentiful drink options at all Poseidon restaurants include several with take-home glasses (mason jars to remember the night anyone?) but we’d opt for a Southern classic boozy tea while you watch the sun set. Bringing a crowd? You can even share a “mega mule” with the gang.

Poseidon
38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 121
Shelter Cove Towne Center
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://www.poseidonhhi.com/

Poseidon and Rooftop Bar

The Frosty Frog Cafe

This Coligny Plaza spot is a beach-goer favorite. With a menu of 20-plus frozen daiquiris with names like “Grape Danger,” “Tidal Wave,” and “Pondwater,” and a wall of slushy drink machines to mix them up. A few hours here is sure to be a good time.

The cafe boasts live music every night, along with a casual vibe, colorful seating, and fans and screens to keep guests shaded from the Carolina sun. An indoor/outdoor, open-air concept offers patrons multiple seating options. TVs line the walls and keep the atmosphere lively.

You can even stop by “Frosty’s Closet” nearby to take home your own Frosty Frog koozie, t-shirt, or baby onesie to remember your stop at the cafe.

We wouldn’t turn down an evening on the patio here with some mahi tacos, live music, and a round or two of “dirty monkeys.” (A daiquiri is like an instant vacation, right?)

Frosty Frog Cafe
Coligny Plaza
1 North Forest Beach Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://frostyfrog.com/

The Frosty Frog Cafe

Skull Creek Boathouse

For spectacular waterfront views, Skull Creek Boathouse is a great choice for outdoor refreshments and is the island’s most awarded restaurant. Its outdoor bar, Marker 13 Buoy Bar, is a big hit for its waterfront views, particularly at sunset.

You can even opt for a “Skull Creek Sunset” to sip on while you watch it – that’s a combo of orange vodka, coconut rum, peach puree, fresh orange juice, and strawberry puree.

If you’re feeling hungry, step inside to the Dive Bar, where they serve up popular sushi rolls like the “Angry Tuna” as well as oysters, sashimi, and ceviche.

Skull Creek Boathouse
397 Squire Pope Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
https://www.skullcreekboathouse.com/

Skull Creek Dockside

Still looking for another drink or need a bite to eat? Step next door to Skull Creek Dockside, just across from Skull Creek Boathouse – and conveniently connected by a recreation area designed to kill time if you need to wait on a table during the dinner rush.

We’re not sure what’s so bad about killing time surrounded by spectacular sunsets, a shrimp boat-themed playground, cornhole, and beautiful marsh views.

Skull Creek Dockside is the newest restaurant from the SERG restaurant group. The concept is family-friendly but upscale. Enjoy a drink from the outdoor Sharkbar, where you’ll again have the chance to see that amazing waterfront view.

Skull Creek Dockside
2 Hudson Rd
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
https://www.docksidehhi.com/

Skull Creek Dockside

Pool Bar Jim’s

This oceanfront spot, across from Coligny Plaza, is manned by legendary Hilton Head bartender and frozen cocktail pioneer Jim Lisenby – better known as “Pool Bar Jim.” It’s somewhat of a ‘hidden gem’ yet well worth the find.

Guests rave about fresh ingredients (don’t expect your typical bottled drink mix) and the friendly bartenders. Pick a frozen cocktail from the extensive menu – or talk with a bartender about what you like and chances are they can help you choose or tailor a drink to your liking. Drinks tend to arrive with a “sidecar” – with extra from the blender on the side.

The bar is a must-stop for many on a trip to Hilton Head. We think it’s worth a trip for a chance to taste a Pool Bar Jim concoction: he’s been mixing up frozen drinks on HHI since the 1970s – and he literally wrote the book on the topic (two of them, actually).

The bar also recently teamed up with A Lowcountry Backyard to offer menu favorites such as the grouper sandwich or the garbage burger. Don’t miss this one!

Pool Bar Jim’s
10 North Forest Beach
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://www.poolbarjims.com/

Pool Bar Jim's

The Salty Dog Café

Chances are you’ve seen someone sporting a Salty Dog Café t-shirt – or you may even have one yourself. But is a trip to the Hilton Head icon worth it?

The Salty Dog Café offers indoor and outdoor waterfront seating in a casual, family-friendly setting, where you and the family can listen to live music while you watch the sun set. Outside, the restaurant features a large bar surrounded by beach-style seating. You can opt for the signature “salty dog,” a mix of grapefruit juice and vodka, served over ice, with a salted rim – or even stop by Salty Dog Ice Cream for a scoop.

The Wreck of the Salty Dog serves a similar menu to the Salty Dog Café’s seafood-forward fare, but features additional waterfront seating and another indoor and outdoor bar. It’s a nice spot to catch live music and watch the sun set, and to sometimes miss some of the crowds that cluster at the café (we’d recommend especially trying Saturday nights for that).

We’d keep it simple here with a glass of wine and some of the best fried shrimp we’ve ever had. It’s definitely worth the trip.

If you need to wait on a table at one of these popular spots, bring your spending money along and do a little shopping at the marina (don’t forget that T-shirt) – or have a conversation with the colorful parrots who live in the courtyard. The Salty Dog is located inside Sea Pines Plantation, so you’ll need to purchase a guest pass to visit or be a Sea Pines guest/property owner.

The Salty Dog Cafe
232 South Sea Pines Dr.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://www.saltydog.com/

The Salty Dog Cafe

The Salty Dog Cafe
232 South Sea Pines Dr.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://www.saltydog.com/

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill is known for seafood and steaks – but its Hurricane Bar may be what makes it famous among the restaurants on this list. Offering outdoor waterfront seating on an expansive covered/open-air patio, the Hurricane Bar is a casual, rustic spot where you can kick back and watch the game – and sip on an actual hurricane (of course).

With plenty of live music and fresh oysters to go around, this is a spot we wouldn’t miss on our tour of Hilton Head late-night locales – and others agree. The restaurant has garnered attention from Food Network for dishes like its sushi nachos (on Tuesdays they’re on special!) and its shrimp burger.

Keep an eye out for seasonal hurricane parties and oyster roasts. You can also “dock and dine” at the Black Marlin – just pull your boat up to the restaurant’s reserved dock space at Palmetto Bay Marina. And don’t forget, Fido is always welcome.

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill
86 Helmsman Way
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://www.blackmarlinhhi.com/

Black Marlin Bayside Grill

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill
86 Helmsman Way
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://www.blackmarlinhhi.com/

San Miguel’s

San Miguel’s has been serving up authentic Mexican on the waterfront to island guests and locals since 1977! Located in Shelter Cove Harbour, San Miguel’s is a great spot to grab an award-winning margarita or burrito while watching the sun set in the marina.

Guests love the chili con queso dip and the margaritas – any of their many choices!

San Miguel’s Restaurant
9 Harbourside Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://sanmiguels.com/

Sam Miguel's

San Miguel’s Restaurant
9 Harbourside Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://sanmiguels.com/

Charbar

Located just off Sea Pines Circle, Charbar is a great place to get one of the best burgers on the island, built your way. It’s also one of our favorite spots to linger by the outdoor fire pit on a cooler evening, enjoying live music and one of the restaurant’s signature whiskey cocktails – preferably an old fashioned.

They also specialize in sazeracs, rye manhattans, whiskey sours, and mint juleps. You may also find some family friendly lawn games set up outside: cornhole anyone?

If you’re hungry, the Dirty South burger is our fave, built just-right with a one-of-a-kind combo of pork belly, candied jalapenos, and pimento cheese. Or for a lighter bite with your cocktail, try one of their newer sushi offerings – we’d go for the pineapple under the sea.

If you’d like to step inside for a truly unique experience, visit Charbar’s prohibition-style Whiskey Room, with its tin ceilings and 1920s vibe. With drink names like “hotsy totsy” and “the Capone,” you’ll almost expect to blink and be transported a century back in time. The Whiskey Room features live music several nights a week, bourbon classes on Wednesdays, and even house-made chocolate.

Charbar Co.
33 Office Park Rd #213
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://charbarhhi.com/

CharBar Co.

Charbar Co.
33 Office Park Rd #213
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://charbarhhi.com/

Scott’s Fish Market

Located on the water inside Shelter Cove Harbour, Scott’s Fish Market is a popular and long-standing Hilton Head staple for waterfront dining. For more than 30 years, the restaurant has been serving up fresh seafood, steaks, and more to vacationers and locals alike with the largest outdoor dining area on the island.

The market has two bars: the best for views is Hurricane Harry’s Wharf Bar, where you can enjoy a beer or a frozen drink while taking in the sunset over the marina. Bring the family or Fido along – there’s full dinner service at the bar, and live music every night, too (weather permitting).

The seafood enchiladas are a fan favorite – we think they’d be the perfect accompaniment to a chilled white wine and one of the blazing pink sunsets you can catch from any table at Scott’s.

Scott’s Fish Market
17 Harbourside Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
https://www.scottsfishmarket.com/

Scott's Fish Market

CoCo’s on the Beach

From the deck of this fun, casual, beach-front stop you can see the waves (or watch a beach volleyball game) while you “freshen up,” as owner Larry recommends, with a nice cold drink.

The beach bar is filled with colorful barstools and rustic wood tabletops that offer a perfect spot to perch and do some wave-watching. Coco’s says it’s the bar locals try and keep to themselves. (Shh, we won’t tell!)

With the option to “concoct your own” Captain Morgan cocktail, and a menu that includes peanut butter burgers and fried bologna sandwiches, time spent at CoCo’s is sure to be fun. CoCo’s is walkable from Hilton Head Resort (or you can park there and CoCo’s will credit your bill if you show them a wristband).

CoCo’s on the Beach
663 William Hilton Parkway
(Mile Marker 7)
Hilton Head Island, SC
https://www.cocosonthebeach.com/

CoCo’s on the Beach

Big Bamboo Café

Touted as “where the South Pacific meets the Carolina coast,” Big Bamboo Café brings a unique combination of burgers, tacos, and more to Coligny Plaza – sprinkled with a generous helping of live music and a nice drink selection.

Their outside patio offers somewhat of a hidden gem of an option for Coligny, where we’d go for an evening taking in some live music, noshing on ahi tuna wontons, and sipping on a rum punch.

Big Bamboo Café
1 North Forest Beach Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
http://www.bigbamboocafe.com/

The Big Bamboo Cafe

There you have it! Our choices for the best outdoor bars to unwind and relax in. The natural beauty of Hilton Head Island is waiting for you!