The Fat Pelican

very good

15 Ratings

Type: Bar

8 S Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, North Carolina, 28428-5131
United States

(910) 458-4061 | map

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Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by GJ40:
Photo of GJ40
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

We stopped in while staying in the area. The atmosphere is very interesting and cozy yet while this would normally be just what I was looking for, being closed up in a dark space when the beach was right across the street seemed wrong. The number of beers in the walk in was high but the selection could have been better. And I had the feeling some of them had been there for some time. We enjoyed our beer but them moved on to a place with less selection but a better view. I like the concept of the Pelican but I'm not quite sure it fits the locale.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rmank
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Photo of Morockm
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

Photo of Devil_Doc
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Zimm
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Highbury09
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of dlj
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This place must be visited to understand it. I have very been at another establishment similar to it. The place is the definition of relaxed. There is usually only one or two employees and their primary job is to ring up the bottles coming put of the beer cooler, I forgot to mention, but this is a self service establishment. As has been mentioned, the beer cooler is a refrigerated van and the selection is extensive (300+). Snacks are available, but you can bring food in from local restaurants or have it delivered. The establishment was built by hand and is a bit eclectic. If you are in the area you need to experience this place. A bit odd, but very fun.

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Photo of PaulfromNoVa
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Listen: I'm pretty sure the beer "cooler" is a 40 foot refrigerated TEU - an 18-wheeler trailer - and it's lined with craft brews. Hundreds of 'em.

This is a deliriously mad, wonderful place, where it's always easy to find an interesting choice that you've never sampled before. Fat P. reproduces the look of a surf shack - open beams, tufts of grass roofing, fourth-hand furniture - with several rooms, one built out from the other, in an almost random-walk pattern, filled with surfboards, juke boxes, foosball and other game tables, benches, school desks, etc., and a wide-open sandy outdoor area that reproduces the effect with (covered and uncovered) picnic tables, party and Xmas lights, a boat or two, and more.

Everyone here is happy. The guy behind the counter is affable and produces a glass upon request. (Frankly, I don't much like frosted glasses, as a thick frosting will dilute what you're pouring, but it's not a big deal.) There are peanut butter cheese crackers and the like behind the bar. And popcorn. I've never seen anyone eating a TV dinner, but I hear they have 'em. I've also seen people bring in things to munch, and one evening, a 40-something surfer-dude-kinda-guy was throwing himself a party and laid out a long board of entrees and sides and invited everyone in the joint to plate up.

This is Carolina Beach's beer heaven. A wonderful local institution. Friendly folks. Lots of odd eye candy. A terrific place to hang out and shoot the shit at night, with no one busing your table and encouraging you to move on.

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Photo of moshea
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Another joint that is hard to rate. As a beer bar I'd give it a B. As a fantastic quirky beach bar right across the street from the Boardwalk I would give it an A+

The walk in self serve beer cooler is a nice touch. the heat index was 115f the day I was in. the beer cooler was a frosty 40f

Atmosphere: Beach bar in a beach town.

Quality: A craft beer oasis in a natty lite desert.

Service: Pleasant, but a bit slow to ring up orders.

Selection: Fairly strong for most areas. Very strong for Carolina Beach

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Photo of beerslushy
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

What a funky place! The beer is self-service from their enormous walk-in cooler. Very large selection of craft beers to choose from. I nearly got frost bite while trying decide which beer to drink next. The service can be a bit hit or miss depending on the crowd, but the prices are reasonable. The decor is nothing short of outrageous. It looks like it was furnished entirely from a junk yard. However, it all combines to create a an eclectic, comfortable atmosphere. This is a place all beer lovers should check out.

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Photo of jophish17
3.85/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Visited for the first time while on vacation recently

The atmosphere of this place is unreal - random road signs, eclectic furniture (an airline seat? really?), assorted lights, it was amazing. Polaroids and signatures all over the place too, and I don't think there are 2 bricks in the floor that actually line up in parallel together. Couple tvs, a popcorn machine, and a courtyard out back to smoke and enjoy the warm summers evenings. You know how your local neighborhood Applebees lines the walls with random stuff and comes off feeling oh-so fake? Well, this is FAR more random and legit. I think the term dive bar gets thrown around too much, THIS is a true dive. The "hurricane debris" comment was spot on. oh yeah, and then there's the beer cooler..

Located in the back corner is the Fat P's beer cooler, lined with a couple hundred six packs of various beers. I was happy to see the locals represented (Natty Green's, Foothills, Mother Earth etc) but there was plenty of Stone, Founders, Bell's, Terrapin, Victory and many, many more. Had I seen some Ballast Point I really would have been impressed. Anyways, when you get there, go back and pick you out a beer, take it to the bar and pay for it. Yes, you pretty much do all the work! It's somehow awesome. The beers were all fresh, which surprised me seeing as its still not technically the peak summer season.

There is food to be had, and I do believe a tv dinner would just add to the experience, however, I had enjoyed dinner at the Ocean Grill up the street (which had a nice, but small, craft beer selection as well!) so I wasn't all that hungry. Popcorn came in handy as the night went on.

All told, I loved this place. It was amazing, so unique, puzzling and deranged, I can't wait to go back.

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Photo of xhcadamx
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

A - this place is an old dive bar. Uneven bricks. Garage Sale furniture. You can sign your name on most anything.

Q - hard to describe this place in terms of quality. If you are seeking a dive bar with an amazing bottle selection, look no further.

S - horrible. Didn't offer you a glass and when you asked for one they told you they didn't have any cold.... Painfully slow.

S - An amazing walk in cooler full of beers. I think they had over 360 different kinds.

F - They offered TV dinners but didn't get one.

V - If you are seeking great beers Carolina Beach really isn't the spot. I consider this place a gem. Very eclectic mix of Natural Light drinkers with the craft beer crowd. If I lived there I would want to go to this bar over the others.

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Photo of blackie
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

previous reviews seem to center on the complaints that the place is kind of a dump and the service is only the most basic - if this sounds like a problem, it's probably best you go somewhere else - or that the large selection has led to old beer, but I was 3/3 on choosing beer that seemed to be just fine

nice to happen across a genuine dive bar given the infestation of faux-dives up in the District, the Fat Pelican was just around the corner from the Memorial Day weekend crib, small bar just inside the door with a few "indoor" rooms - using indoor in the lightest sense as the natural floor and earthy build gives the impression that the walls were thrown together with scraps from the aftermath of a hurricane - and furnished that way as well, two separate openings allow access to the outside sand-floored patio with tons of seating available

after a bit of confusion as to where all the beer I'd heard about was, a local kindly pointed me towards the walk-in fridge -- the Pelican allows patrons to make their own selections and take them to the bar for payment, found plenty of goodies inside - both NC and national micros, ended up with a Duck-Rabbit Wee-Heavy to pair with a cigar, probably something on the order of 200 micros to choose from

service - nothing special, but it's not to be expected at this kind of establishment

food - there's a complimentary popcorn machine for snacking purposes...but I will second the recommendation below to visit Brit's Donuts a short walk away on the boardwalk, been going there nearly 20 years and nothing's changed, only open during the warm months

6.18.2014 - upped scores from 4/3.5/3/4, what was i thinking

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Photo of ScottDep
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Kind of a dive bar, but with some character. Nothing great on tap, but the best bottle selection in the area. They have a walk in fridge designed so you can enter and pick your own beer. Had a few obscure selections, but the three I tried had gone bad. Bartender said that there's not much interest in expensive craft beers in their area, so some things sit for awhile. Had a Dogfish 90 Min, a Duck Rabbit porter, and a Highland IPA that were fine. If you stick to the more mainstream, higher alcohol content, or local beers you should be ok.

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Photo of SSGPat
2.74/5  rDev -28.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

Before I went on vacation, I called up the Fat P (as the local's call it). I asked if they had 90 minute Double IPA by Dogfish Head. The guy on the phone was a little confused, and ended up saying that they "had Flying Dog, and all kinds of dog" and that the best way to see what they have is to come in. He didn't know what they had, just that they had 287 beers (mostly Basic American Rice beer). I was also saddened that their website link doesn't work.

Now Carolina Beach is part of a fishing island on the NC coastline just south of Wilmington. It's beautiful and the housing market just took off in the past 2 years where they now have multi million dollar homes 4 blocks off of the ocean now. With this influx of money, you'd think that the Fat P would have tried to shed their image and get some of that high end dollar (especially since NC just popped the cap on beer).

With that said it was just another smokey bar in a fishing town. I hear that their motto (or at least what the local paper reported the neighbors closest to the Fat P) as being "come on vacation, leave on probation". Just another great place to get into trouble at the beach. The best thing about it is that it is really close to Brits (a wonderful donut shop that is only open for the summer and closes in October).

For my money, go to Bud and Joe's near the Kure Pier. Yuengling is only two dollars (the best of their selection) and it's a little smokey, but you won't get arrested and after you finish with your beer, you can walk the pier (free) and people watch or pay $5 and fish.

We went back. If you know what you are going in to get, they have a good selection. Don't try to ask the help if they know anything about beer, but there is a sign that says "tips make me horney" (and I believe that the female bar-keep means it!). We got 90 minute and a few others (all had to be manually looked up before we could pay).

Bud and Joe's is under new management. I was not able to make it down that way this time out.

Also, don't smoke before you get there. Just stand around and you will get at least a pack's worth in about 15 minutes.

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The Fat Pelican in Carolina Beach, NC
3.85 out of 5 based on 15 ratings.
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