Now I know you’re asking what the heck we’re doing reviewing a bar down in Cape Hatteras, aka the bottom of OBX. But since I’d never been down to that part of OBX and yet had heard from other DMV folks that there was a bar worth checking out, either there’s a lot of sunstroke going around or there’s something to that tip, as there’s really not a whole lot going on in Hatteras Village proper. The Wreck is small and not easily visible being on the back corner of a marina shopette, but once inside I realized I was in the right place. The micros they did have for literally being 2+ hours from any mainland town of even a reasonable size was really quite astonishing, and suggested the owners were trying to do more than pick up tourist traffic. And yes, there’s a certain Virginia aspect to the place I’ll get to later, which is why I’m happy to present VBR’s first review of some of our neighbors down in North Carolina.
The Wreck Tiki Bar
58848 Marina Way
Hatteras, NC 27953
58848 Marina Way
Hatteras, NC 27953
Total Beers: 8 on draught (2 macros, 6 seasonal micros) and 10 macro bottles.
Food Cost: $
Beer Selection: There are some real crowd pleasers in here. Once you get past the Miller Lite and Yuengling on tap, they had Bell’s Oberon, SweetWater 420, North Coast’s Scrimshaw Pilsner, New Belgium’s Helles Summer Lager, Kona’s Big Wave, and in a local shout-out from over in Chapel Hill, Carolina Brewery’s Flagship IPA. Even that didn’t deserve my full attention. As the picture above suggests, there’s an “express” bar with bottles on ice so that if you’re lounging out on the patio listening to the music show, watching the ferry, or soaking up some sun, you need not bother heading back inside. The express bar only had macros in bottles, but hey, as I said sometimes you play to your crowd (and we can argue as to whether Landshark is really a macro or a micro, but I think it’s awesome). Though I’d had them both before in bottles, I settled on the Helles and Scrimshaw. And yeah, that Helles Summer Lager looked like golden paradise on a sunny OBX day.
Food Selection: Here we are at the ass-end of the Outer Banks, and this place is offering paninis and chili in a bread bowl? Table for two, please! Let’s be real, though – just like the other watering hole we’ve looked at, this is bar food, plain and simple. The Wreck’s location right next to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry also mean that a lot of its customers are in a big hurry, so they try to take “speedy service” to the extreme. That’s in no way a criticism, just remember what you’re there for. That being said, I wasn’t the only one in the crowd who eyeballed that BBQ pork panini and immediately reached for my Zantac. You really couldn’t go wrong with most of the sandwiches on here, nor with hot dogs and chili (though the chili bowl is apparently a fall item – drat!) My BBQ pork had some definite flavor going on, and after separating out the pickles the meat was the real star of the show, as it should be in Carolina…
Atmosphere: The inside of the bar is fairly small, but the money maker is that outside patio. There’s not much seating at the half-dozen or so tables, but with plenty of benches for lounging, it becomes clear that the Wreck is trying to be a chill spot. With nary a cloud in the sky and a soft breeze coming in from the sound, I really did not feel like leaving…especially when the musician shouted at me from across the way upon seeing my near-empty cup, “that gentleman needs a beer!” Which brings me to the music itself. Acoustic guitar is pretty simple to fade into the background, but the guitarist really had the lunch crowd’s attention, singing about the beach, beer, and doing a respectable job with some cover songs. It was a good complement to the setting, and after hearing Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” for the first (and maybe only time) ever in acoustic, I had to laugh and check out who he was. I’m happy to report that Lyle Wolf hails from Virginia Beach, and from what I saw on The Wreck’s website he’s there pretty frequently. Keep up the good work, dude.
Overall: A beach bar has to get a lot right: ambience, view, and crowd in addition to the food and drinks. For being the last drivable stop in the entire OBX (no really, the ferry to the mainland is next door!), The Wreck does a pretty admirable job of nailing most of what it tries to accomplish. If you want a gourmet, trendy bar experience you’ll have to stick to where the name of the Sound goes by “Albemarle” or “Currituck” – in other words, about 60 miles North of Hatteras Village. But if you find the occasion to spend some time down there, be sure to check out The Wreck. You’ll be clearing your calendar by the end of your first round out on the patio.