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834 Inlet Square Drive Murrells Inlet, South Carolina 29576 843.651.7211

Myrtle Beach Sun News..Published February 3, 2010

Jason O'Keefe works 80 hours a week without losing his Irish charm.

He is the bartender at O'Keefe's Irish Pub, at 834 Inlet Square Drive in Murrells Inlet.

The place opened Jan. 21, and it is owned by O'Keefe, his father, Rick O'Keefe, and his stepmom, Tonya O'Keefe.

On Jan. 21 Tonya Keefer and Rick Keefer opened the doors on their new restaurant called O'Keefe's Irish Pub at 834 Inlet Square Drive, next to J&J Butcher Shop in Murrells Inlet. Between them the couple has 40 years' restaurant experience before moving here from Hagerstown, Md., where they owned another Irish pub. The menu includes appetizers ($5-$8) such as O'Keefe's Homemade Potato Chips, and entrees ($9-$13) including Corned Beef and Cabbage served with boiled new potatoes and baby carrots; Shepard's Pie; Meatloaf; and the Seven Course Irish Dinner which is "6 Domestic Drafts and One Boiled Potato." There are 13 burger choices and 10 sandwiches, Irish Stew, Chili and six salads. O'Keefe's is open from 11 a.m. to 2

Of course, as you might guess, green is the dominant color throughout the place. Stools are black leather and in the tradition of bars everywhere, there is just enough light to see who you are talking to and what you are eating but not blinding light that steals from the fun and slightly wild ambience.

"I like it because it has a lot to offer," said Marian Pyne, who was playing darts with her son, Anthony Poatoni. "You can play pool. You've got darts. You've got games, and it feels like home."

Indeed, O'Keefe's does look familiar. You won't see anything here that you haven't seen before. There are 11 flat-screen televisions, smoking at the bar area, lots of laughing and just as much drinking.

There are two pool tables in the rear - where the non-smoking dining section is - three video games, darts and a fancy touch-screen jukebox.

I'm not a pub or bar person because I don't like being in any eatery that allows smoking in any part of the building. Yet I couldn't deny the down-home feel of this quaint Irish pub.

A painted wall sign that reads "Come in as a stranger and leave as a friend" is written just beyond the bar.

The statement, the O'Keefes told me, is a genuine one.

"Irish people have fun," said Rick O'Keefe, whose family has been in the pub business for 30 years in Leesburg, Va. "That's what it is all about. We have a good time."

He also shared how his mom, Leona O'Keefe, is the originator of most of the dishes listed on the menu as "O'Keefe's Classics." They're priced from $8.95 to $12.95, with the Seven Course Irish Dinner being the most expensive. It is an entree (and I am using that word loosely) comprised of six domestic drafts and one boiled potato.

Shepherd's pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage and Bangers & Tators are among the seven classics, too.

There are seven appetizers (including homemade potato chips), 13 burgers (mushroom swiss and Hawaiian island were among them) and 10 sandwiches (a reuben, deluxe club, chicken salad and a chicken philly being some of the choices).

Soups (including Irish stew made with chunks of beef, carrots, onions and Irish potatoes in a Guinness broth) and salads help round out what seems to be a tasty menu.

Some of the speciality alcoholic drinks include the Irish Trash can, made with seven liquors and one can of Red Bull. It costs $7.

O'Keefe's is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. With the exception of the appetizers, all other menu items cannot be ordered after 10 p.m.

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