On Hilton Head Island, beachside happy hour is a way of life.

By Sucheta Rawal
February 26, 2021
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Low Angle View Of Cropped Hands Toasting Drinks Against Trees in Hilton Head Island
Credit: Mollie Lenzi/EyeEm/Getty Images

The best part of being at a beach town is that you don't have to wait to finish a busy work day, fight traffic, and rush to get the best happy hour deal. On Hilton Head Island, every hour of the day is meant for riding a bike in the warm sun and walking up to the nearest beach bar for a cold drink. And if you choose to dress up for an evening out, there are upscale wine bars and cozy golf resorts too. Outdoor seating is nothing out of the ordinary — neither is bringing the family, including the dog, along for the fun. Here are the best places to enjoy happy hour on Hilton Head Island.

Pool Bar Jim's

Pool Bar Jim's is a typical beach bar where you can walk up barefoot in a bathing suit. Located on the popular public Coligny Beach, the best way to access the bar is by riding a bike to it or walking from the beach. Specializing in tropical frozen fresh fruit drinks, the bar serves excellent frozen daiquiris, fish tacos, and burgers. 

Tiki Hut at Beach House 

For good music and fun atmosphere, head over to Tiki Hut. Known as the best entertainment venue on the island, there is a live band playing every afternoon starting at 1 p.m. Families gather to listen to acoustic, country, classic rock, and funk, and occasionally get up to dance. Libations include on-the-rocks, frozen, on-top, and from-the-bottle beer and cocktails.

Fishcamp on Broad Creek

The drinks are stiff and the seafood serious at the casual Fishcamp overlooking scenic Broad Creek. Sit outdoors by the firepit and watch the sunset over the historic waterfront. Happy hour is between 4 and 6 p.m., when you can get $2 off the bar menu and $1 off drinks. This is one of the rare places on the island to taste southern favorites like deviled eggs with fried oysters, gator bites, and fried frog legs.

Hudson's Dockside and Boathouse in Hilton Head
Credit: Courtesy of Hudson's

Hudson's Dockside and Boathouse

Located at what used to be a fish processing factory, Hudson's is one of the oldest family-run restaurants on the island. Grab a seat at the deck bar overlooking the docks and catch a perfect sunset on Skull Creek. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. and specials include sustainably caught local seafood appetizers such as barbecue shrimp, crab beignets, and oysters on the half-shell.

Coast Oyster Roast

Oyster roast is one of Lowcountry's traditions that you have to experience at least once. You can spend an entire Saturday afternoon shucking fresh-caught oysters roasted on-site over an open fire while listening to live music and sipping on a cucumber Bloody Mary. Sit at the outdoor deck or oceanfront bar at Coast overlooking a stunning beach at The Sea Pines Beach Club Resort. Oyster roasts are held every other Saturday and admission is free.

Skull Creek Boathouse

Located next to a multi-deck boat house on Skull Creek, this landmark waterfront restaurant features an extensive cocktail and food menu. Seating at the outdoors Marker 13 Buoy Bar is first-come, first-served and happy hour specials include $2 off sushi and $1 off drinks. The Sunday brunch menu offers fresh tuna rolls, chicken and waffles, Tito's vodka oyster shooters and $4 mimosas. And if you stay on for dinner, try the Carolina catfish, fried green tomatoes, and rainbow rice bowl — all of which were featured on the Food Network show Beach Eats.

Black Marlin Bayside Grill and Hurricane Bar

Located on the south end of Hilton Head Island at Palmetto Bay Marina, this hole-in-the-wall is a popular local spot. The Hurricane Bar is known for frozen daiquiris, seasonal live music, oyster roasts, and hurricane parties. Happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. include $2 off appetizers, liquor, house wines, and frozen drinks, and $1 off beer. Pair them with local peel-and-eat shrimp, sushi nachos, fried flounder sandwiches, and chilled seafood rolls.

Red Fish

The elegant, upscale restaurant offers over 1,000 bottles of wines from all over the world and was voted Best Wine Selection by the readers of Hilton Head Monthly Magazine. Reserve a seat next to the outdoor fireplace and kick back with a glass from the wine menu, or purchase a bottle from the well-stocked wine shop for a small corkage fee. There's live music every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Links, an American Grill

Links offers a Spectator award-winning wine list and stunning views of the legendary Harbour Town Golf Links. Sunday mornings are perfect for a round of golf, followed by brunch with bottomless mimosas for $12. In the afternoons, there's crispy fritto misto and Lowcountry-style jumbo lump crab cake on the bar menu from 3 to 5 p.m.