A Vibrant Music and Nightlife Scene that is Curiously Entertaining

The nightlife and music scene at Carolina Beach features eclectic tiki bars showcasing live music, an award-winning beach dive bar, an outdoor beer garden and more that capture the local beach charm. It's easy to find your perfect vibe with a variety of music genres to choose from, each in a unique, only-in-Carolina Beach venue.

Read on or view the full list of nightlife hot spots and music venues on the island.

Island Tunes

Reggae fans will go crazy for the bands who frequent the Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill. The Lazy Pirate books local favorite bands as well as nationally-acclaimed artists and even hosts a Sunday Reggae Festivus every Sunday evening in the summer. You can also groove to the tunes from local and regional bands at the Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar — named one of “America’s Best Beach Bars” by Thrillist. com — and Seawitch Café & Tiki Bar. Ocean Grill’s tiki shows take place on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer, while Seawitch has a regular lineup of live entertainment Tuesday through Sunday, year-round.

A Colorful Boardwalk

When the sun begins to set, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk lights up with free live music and fireworks during the summer months. Boardwalk bars and restaurants cater to the crowd with options from cozy taverns to oceanview tiki bars. Hurricane Alley's is a favorite among visitors featuring live music every weekend during the summer months on its large rooftop deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Catch the buzz at Buzz's Roost at the Beach, a pub with a neighborhood feel that features live music and weekly drink specials. Channel your inner rockstar and head to Silver Dollar for karaoke nights. Carolina Smokehouse serves up family BBQ recipes that have been featured on PBS and the Food Network along with live music from its “Topside” rooftop bar.

Bars with Local Beach Charm

One of the most unique bars on the island is The Fat Pelican, voted as one of “The 32 Diviest Dive Bars in America” by impulcity.com, thanks to its legendary walk-in cooler and a bar made out of a boat. Another option for capturing the local beach charm is The Last Resort Beach Bar, a small, colorful bar with a tiki feel and an outdoor patio. At Olde Salty’s, enjoy calabash-style seafood and Southern-style sides in a beach bar atmosphere.

Live Music Events

Treat yourself to a weekend of non-stop musical talent at the annual Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival – an island tradition for more than 25 years – at Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area in neighboring Kure Beach. For two days every April, a lineup of nationally recognized blues & jazz performers takes the stage as concertgoers enjoy freshly prepared seafood dishes and seaside sunshine. In June, beach music fans can shag on the beach during the Carolina Beach Music Festival. The event is one of the country’s longest-running music festivals and the biggest and only music festival held on the beach along the North Carolina coast. Celebrate the end of summer at the annual Rock the Beach event, held in September at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

Coastal Craft Cocktails

Craft the perfect night out with a delicious dinner and specialty drinks. Featuring the freshest local seafood, Surf House Oyster Bar + Surf Camp is also well known for its craft cocktail menu that features signature drinks like "How to Make a Fire," as well as a curated wine list. Enjoy a meal with Caribbean influences at Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar, where the festive cocktail menu includes the beach classics you'd expect, like Mai Tais, or try a "rummy yummy" cocktail served out of a fun Buddha-shaped glass. Belly up to the bar at Soul Flavor Kitchen & Bar, where craft cocktails are created using house-made syrups and bitters. Enjoy Irish-inspired favorites like Jameson and Guinness along with traditional dishes like bangers and mash at Hoplite Irish Pub and Restaurant.

Craft Brewery and Beer Garden

Visit the island's only craft brewery, Good Hops Brewing. Small-batch brews rotate seasonally and include a range of styles from brown ales and pale ales to stouts and IPAs. Step into the outside beer garden to enjoy games like giant Jenga and cornhole. Or, head out to the 18-hole disc golf course located behind the brewery for a round of fun.