5 Great Bars and Grills on the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is acclaimed for its many varied bars and places to eat. From fine-dining establishments serving exclusively local seafood to the eccentric and beach-themed dive bars, the area seems to serve up a little bit of everything for visitors coming far and wide to see the outdoor attractions, sights and sounds.

Below are five great bars or grills that offer some distinct and satisfying dining on the Outer Banks.

outer banks bars and grills

1. Lucky 12 Tavern

Location: 3308 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959

The Lucky 12 Tavern manages to infuse a casual dive bar aesthetic with a Bohemian-oriented style. The combination works brilliantly. You can grab pizza until 2 a.m. while enjoy classy cocktails or original martini mixes from the bar’s unique signature drink menu.

Lucky 12 is also special for its accomplished draft beer menu. Choose from about 20 different craft beers, many of them local or seasonal based on very small distribution runs. Once they go, they may be gone for the year – or forever.

The menu includes some casual dishes with a twist, such as the Nags Mess Monster, two patties topped with a fried egg and bacon. It’s a breakfast on a bun. The glazed chile Yellowfin Tuna is a menu favorite, as well as the jumbo Crabcake, tossed in a corn salsa. Plenty of other delicacies await, made with fresh local ingredients.

Lucky 12 features an outdoor patio, a pool table, and a classic jukebox. All of these contribute to an environment that is equal parts classic and contemporary – a fun atmosphere open late. The tavern is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.

2. Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar and Grill

Location: 1701 S Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

At Mama Kwan’s you can get unique and enticing Pacific Rim cuisine and a variety of tropical drinks to refresh you.

Try the delicious and addicting Honey Jerk Chicken Fingers, soaked knee-deep in Honey Jamaican Jerk Sauce, or the Special Occasion Pasta, which celebrates any and every day with shrimp, chicken, or tuna coated over soy sauce basked penne pasta.

You can also jump in the Garbage Plate, a combination of anything and everything healthy, including tuna, chicken, cucumber salad, fresh veggies, and newly-sliced pineapple. The mahi tacos are renowned, but this is a small sampling of the full menu.

Mama Kwan’s is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with dinner from 4 p.m. to close. Don’t forget to snap a photo by the sticker-soaked bus out front.

3. Two Roads Tavern

Location: 3105 N. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Two Roads Tavern has a deceptively simple design. A half-circle bar covers the majority of the space, with about 10 local craft beers and a full bar.

Along the back room are selected table tops for guests, who can order 80/20 Hereford ground chuck burgers, as well as seafood, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Visitors also come far and wide for the famous dozen rack oysters.

Two Roads Tavern is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. excluding Tuesdays. The tavern stays open an extra hour, to 10 p.m., on Friday and Saturday.

outer banks restaurants

4. Bonzer Shack

Location: 1200 S Virginia Dare Trail , Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

The Bonzer Shack tells it like it is and serves comfort food including burgers, tacos, pasta, soups, salads and more just the way you like it. This is one of the most festively fun Outer Banks restaurants out there. You can sit at the outdoor patio area or eat inside the small cabin-styled building, filled with island décor, 20 televisions, and some bold and bright local art.

They are closed on Mondays but open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (and Sunday) and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

5. Tortugas Lie

Location: 3016 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959

With Caribbean dishes, acclaimed sushi, and some of the best burgers in the area, Tortugas Lie is the quintessential turtle-themed Outer Banks restaurant every small coastal city deserves. The restaurant is famous for its sushi night, served Wednesdays during off-season from 5:30 p.m. to close, and it can be packed because of the great prices and addicting sushi.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day, including an extra half hour for Saturdays and Sundays.

Ready for a vacation to the Outer Banks?

Our Outer Banks rentals are available so you can explore the ins and outs of these Outer Banks restaurants and many others. Contact our team at 252-573-2811 to get connected to some of the most spectacular Outer Banks vacation rentals, right on the water or never too far from it!


Cola Vaughan Realty
PO Box 1375 • Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: 252.573.2811
Email Inquiries To: vacations@obxcola.com