It's a waterway. With boats parked.
It's breezy. There are seagulls.
It's a building. With a really big porch.
It's a restaurant.
It's a bar.
It's Dead End Saloon in Oak Island NC and MAN, did we love this place. My friend Jessica's parents live near Southport NC, about 15 minutes away, and my family has been vacationing on Oak Island for years and years. I doubt we'll ever go anywhere else.
He loved it just as much as I do, so I'm happy to report that we're still together.
We're creatures of habit, to the point that we like repeating restaurants, but only if they're worth it, while on vacay. In a 5 day trip to OKI we hit this joint twice, and loved everything we got!
The atmosphere combined with the wonderful food are the two selling points of this place. It's a total beach bar, uber casual, but with food and a chef that are GREAT. On the day we took these photos, for example, the special was buffalo shrimp.
Awesome, and boring, right? Breaded shrimp dunked in buffalo sauce from a jar. Unhealthy and mildly tangy.
Wrong. So wrong. These were huge shrimp baked in a buffalo sauce with blue cheese on top and NO breading - except for, of course, the huge hunk of crusty bread that came with the dish for dunking. The sauce was great, the celery was crunchy, and the blue cheese was wonderfully flavorful. A great treat in an atmosphere where large platters of fried fish-esque items might easily become the norm!
Also on this particular day, mango-ritas were the drink special. We aren't huge calorie-laden-liquor-drink drinkers, but it was the beach, so calories don't count, amiright?
These were worth every calorie, and, just like the appetizer, were a bit fresher and more natural tasting than you might expect from a beach bar. We loved them!
The crab legs are probably my favorite thing on this menu - you get a MOUND of them, plus a heap of fries, plus some fancy-ish slaw, and they're gorgeous each time. I'm a huge crab fan so that naturally makes me a bit biased, but these are GOOD, guys. I love 'em.
I've always had good service at Dead End Saloon, but good doesn't necessarily mean fast. This is a beach bar, folks, so try to calm down. We always ate lunch around one when the place wasn't too crowded and staff wasn't at its highest level, so we had no problem waiting a bit longer than usual. However, if you're in a hurry, have kids, or are generally a butthead, you might want to let your server know that in advance - I'm sure they'd accommodate your butt. Head. Once, during a busier time, we had to wait a long time for our last round of drinks and check, so our server slash bartender for the entire joint gave us a round on him - a great move that earned him a great tip!
Check this place the next time you're near Oak Island. It's fun, relaxed, affordable, and delicious. Click here for the menu!