JEM Social craft cocktail bar to open in Myrtle Beach, SC
Jason Trinh moved to Myrtle Beach four months ago from Dallas, where he consulted for restaurants and bars and created cocktail programs.
While surveying the Grand Strand, he noticed that his area of expertise was not being used here.
“I came here and saw the need for a cocktail bar,” Trinh said. “. . . All the restaurants and bars in Dallas are heading towards this. The only thing we found was that the cocktail scene was somewhat lacking. Craft beer is really big here, (but) there just aren’t many places where you can get a really well-made cocktail.
“We talked about it and decided we wanted to be the first cocktail bar and restaurant focused on craft cocktails in Myrtle Beach.”
Trinh and his wife Jeannie Nguyen, a Myrtle Beach native and Socastee High graduate, signed a lease and are transforming a former Pizza Hut on North Kings Highway into YWAM Social.
“What we are opening here is an elevated social lounge with a focus on craft cocktails,” Trinh said. “We hope people somehow forget it was a Pizza Hut when they walk into a nice lounge with a nice interior.”
Trinh hopes to open by mid-May.
It plans to initially open for dinner at 4 p.m. and stay open late at night, at least midnight or 1 a.m.
Specializing in cocktails
Trinh said his Dallas bar team will be in town for the first few months after opening to serve drinks and help train bar staff.
“They’re supposed to know 75 of your basic classic cocktails, so anything from Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Vieux Carré, you name it, they should be able to do it and do it really well,” he said. declared. “Then we have a dozen signature cocktails specially designed for our concept.”
The menu will include about 15 appetizers to share and about six appetizers, four sandwiches and four salads, and it will be “American pub fare raised with the highest quality ingredients,” Trinh said.
Offerings will include seared steak frites topped with truffle butter and candied potatoes, fish and chips, a smash burger with bacon and onion jam on a brioche bun, and shrimp and grits with a white butter sauce with sautéed kale chorizo served on a poblano peppercorn and cheddar cheesecake.
“These familiar classics, just slightly elevated with more quality ingredients and a little sparkle,” Trinh said. “We want people to come in, have a cocktail and share a bunch of different entrees.”
Change of scenery
The building at 7601 North Kings Highway is 3,100 square feet and will seat approximately 100 people in the dining area with additional lounge and outdoor seating.
“Our goal is not to pack the house,” Trinh said.
The owners plan to paint the exterior and create a shaded outdoor patio with approximately 10 picnic tables and additional lounge chairs.
Interior decor will include white granite or marble countertops, tiled floors and velor seating.
A spacer wall will separate the dining area from a lounge area with sofas “where you can sit, have a few cocktails and just chat,” Trinh said.
Planned interior colors include Velvet Blue, Emerald Green and Velvet Pink, and the building will be dimly lit with candlelight and spotlights on bartenders.
“Almost every seat in the house should be able to see the bartender’s work,” Trinh said. “We created a few different moods in the building. The bar is the main focus. It will be in the foreground when you enter the building.
Trinh said the prices will be adapted to the market.
“Our prices will be quite comparable to many other restaurants and bars. We just want to elevate the overall experience and atmosphere,” he said. “When you walk in, we want you to feel a bit of that luxury without breaking the bank.”
Trinh plans to have a “countdown to cocktails”, posting 60 different cocktails along with their stories on the bar’s social media pages closer to opening.