Coastal Uncorked, the spring food-and-drink festival in Myrtle Beach, has grown by leaps and bounds over the two years it has been in business. It’s returning the last weekend of April with a change in format to make it easier to enjoy.
From Charlotte, depending on which way you drive, Myrtle Beach is about 175 miles (3 hours 45 minutes), one way.
To see and do
Coastal Uncorked was launched in spring 2010 as a way to stretch the Grand Strand’s Restaurant Week event around a weekend, so tourists could make the most of it and to include wine-tasting events.
The concept was straight-forward enough, but participating businesses are scattered from one end of Myrtle Beach to the other. So a trolley activity became the key – buy your wrist band and hop on and off the trolley whenever you got to one of the 10 participating stops along the 22-mile loop.
The first year drew about 6,000 participants; the number was at least double that in 2011. Last year featured additional events and focused many of them at the Market Common dining/retail complex.
Where to find it
This year – April 27-28 (a Friday-Saturday) – organizers are simplifying the plan: ditching the trolley and putting everything at 8th Avenue North, the site of the former Pavilion Amusement Park, where tents will hold the Oceanfront Grand Tasting Pavilion and Gourmet Village.
Participating restaurants at the Gourmet Village include Chestnut Hill, Croissants Bistro & Bakery, Gordon Biersch, Martin’s Restaurant, Mellow Mushroom, Sea Captain’s House and Travinia Italian Kitchen. The Village will also have an area for vendors, where food-related items – like jams, gourmet cookies and wine lights – will be sold, in addition to jewelry and other craft items.
At the site’s Grand Tasting tents, you can sample up to 200 wines from around the world, plus craft brews from Better Brands, Sierra Nevada and Gordon Biersch, as well as barbecue by Sysco Foods and Louis’s at Sanford’s Southern Smokehouse. Live entertainment there will include local and regional musical acts such as the Tim Clark Band, Painted Man, Grasstowne, A1A and the Austin-Mowery Band.
Admission to the grounds, $10 per day, allows access to the stages and Gourmet Village.
Admission to the tasting tent – $40 per day – includes that, plus the grand tasting tents. Food costs one to five tickets per item; tickets are $1 apiece.
Coastal Uncorked is an adult-only event. You must be 21 or older to be on the festival grounds. No pets or coolers are allowed.
Live music on the main stage is offered 3:30-8 p.m. April 27 and noon-8 p.m. April 28.
The Gourmet Village is open 2-8 p.m. p.m. April 27, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. April 28.
Grand Tasting sessions are 4-7 p.m. April 27, noon-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. April 28.
A $100 combo pass gets you into the three tasting sessions plus the 6 p.m. April 29 finale, where celebrity chefs (the Lee brothers and Louis Osteen) will determine the victor of an “Iron Chef”-style competition. This “Food Fight & Finale Gala” ($50 admission if you’re going just for that) includes food, beer, wine and spirits.
As in past years, Coastal Uncorked follows Restaurant Week events.
• For Restaurant Week, April 22-29, participating Myrtle Beach area dining spots will offer a $20.12 fixed-price tasting menus of three or more courses. Reservations are recommended. Details, including a list of participants: http://bit.ly/IeZd3V.
• April 23-27, various area eateries will offer “Beer, Wine & Spirit Dinners,” with beverages paired with each course. Details/reservations: http://bit.ly/IxKpwa.
• April 26, the “Sip, Savor & Stroll” event at Market Common offers food and beverage samples from the restaurants there. Hours: 5-7 p.m. Cost: $10. You must be 21 to sip.