When you step through the over-sized bay door into Poe’s Tavern your eyes are immediately drawn to the dark wooded décor and the paintings of Edgar Allan Poe that adorn nearly all wall space. A giant mural of the author himself is painted on an exposed brick wall and seems to stare at you no matter where you are in the restaurant.
To no one’s surprise, after adjusting to the lighting and taking a full five seconds to check out the interior, I headed to the bar. Greeted by two friendly and knowledgeable Wilmington natives, I looked over the tap list. The bar itself is large and two-sided with one side opening to the expansive deck. There are three large TV’s over the bar allowing you to grab some food, a couple beers, and watch an afternoon college football game. Looking over the tap handles to the deck you notice a mural on the side of the old MOI building depicting Wrightsville Beach glory days of surfing and the Lumina Pavilion. Charleston artist, Jaycie Rappold, painted that one summer in 100+ degree heat. She came back to Wrightsville Beach to paint the Poe mural on the back wall.
A few recommendations were made and I started with a Ballast Point Sculpin. 17 of 20 taps devoted to craft brews. Notable North Carolina favorites on tap include Lonerider Sweet Josie, Foothills Hoppyum, Red Oak (Reinheitsgebot!) , Carolina Brewing Sky Blue, Natty Green’s Southern Pale, and Highland Gaelic Ale. There was also a Westbrook White Thai to round out the Carolina tap showcase. Eastern NC favorites Duck-Rabbit and Mother Earth are also available in bottles.
Poe’s menu has several really good items but what you want are the burgers. A half-pound of medium-rare (or however you like them) delicious cow meat on a brioche bun. They can be made to order but I urge you to try one of the ten different Poe’s tavern styles. I was able to sample 4 different ones and they all were extremely tasty.
It has cheddar cheese, Applewood bacon, and a fried egg. Yep. A fried egg. I ate half of that one. I would apologize to the others tasting but I didn’t care. (Highland Gaelic)
No big deal. Just a crab cake on top of my burger with a house-made vegetable remoulade. It’s pretty much what you hoped it would be. The others got to this before I did. (Westbrook One Claw)
Garlic blue cheese and buffalo shrimp on my burger. The burgers are good but the buffalo shrimp were almost perfect. This is the first time that buffalo shrimp had been added to my burger. From this day forward all of my burgers should have buffalo shrimp. (Red Oak amber Lager)
I’m going to walk you through this. Take your typical half pound burger. Get rid of the bun. Put some delicious spicy fries under your burger. Dump a cup of chili over this. Add a fried egg on top of the chili. Cover in queso. Dig in. Die happy. (Carolina Brewery Sky Blue Golden Ale)
A true surprise was the yellowfin tacos that were cooked perfectly rare and had a spicy, citrusy flavor that paired very well with my Foothills Hoppyum.
General Manager Travis Wilson promised that having a local Wilmington brewery on tap is in the works and drafts would be rotated often. I definitely think a Front Street ESB, Broomtail Moe Brown, Check 6 Pope Imperial Porter, or Good Hops Topless Amber would be a perfect addition. Go by Poe’s and grab a delicious burger and a couple of tasty brews and then stop by Lighthouse on your way out to pick up something a little more adventurous.
Poe’s Tavern opens this weekend and is a great addition to the Wrightsville Beach area.