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This time of year is meaningful for many reasons: spending the holidays with family and friends, ringing in the New Year with a loved one, and watching the NFL playoffs with fellow fans. For hard-core football fans, the race to the Super Bowl is the real reason for the season.
Fortunately for NFL fans, you've come to the right place. Myrtle Beach is a melting pot of people from all over the country who vacation or relocated to the Grand Strand and bring their football allegiances with them. The town is crawling with fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and, of course, the home team Carolina Panthers, all of which are in the running for playoff berths this year.
While being away from home with your fellow fans might be tough at playoff time, there are plenty of sports bars where you can find folks wearing the same team colors on game day. It's even more fun to find fans of the opposing team for some good-natured trash talk during the games. Here are five places to enjoy the playoffs in Myrtle Beach:
* Broadway Louie's: Fans of all types show up at this Broadway at the Beach establishment, donning team jerseys and cheering for their respective squads. If you're looking for fellow fans to root along with, this monstrous two-story building is your best bet. Fans gather in groups and root loudly around the big-screen TVs that occupy virtually every inch of wall space. Hot food and cold beer are on the menu, and an arcade is located next door just in case your team isn't doing well and you want to take a break. For a more laid-back crowd, try next door at Chuck and Ducks.
* Bumstead's Pub: Located in the heart of the downtown district, this English-themed sports pub is all about American football. Known as a Washington Redskins hangout, the home team won't be represented in the playoffs this season, but that opens the door to fans of all allegiances. In addition to the many TVs on the walls, each booth has its own screen so you can watch the game of your choice. A wide selection of draft beers and the piled-high sandwiches from the adjoining Dagwood's Deli make this a great place to catch all the action.
* Foster's Cafe & Bar: This small but spirited neighborhood bar is home to die-hard NFL fans who turn up every Sunday to cheer for their teams. Located less than a mile from Ocean Reef, Foster's is ideal for fans from Pennsylvania. The owners are from the Philly area and cheer for the Eagles, but the majority of patrons hail from the Pittsburgh area and root for the Steelers. Food and drink specials are always offered on game days, along with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. There are plenty of TVs so you can get a good view of the games from any table.
* Pine Lakes Tavern: Located just a couple of miles south of Ocean Reef, this neighborhood bar goes all out on game days. Featuring TVs in the main bar area, the game room and even on the back patio deck overlooking Pine Lake, this gastropub also offers a wide selection of craft beers and a unique menu that offers lunch and dinner specials just for the playoffs. For example, an Eagles-Packers matchup might yield a Philly Cheesesteak and Bratwurst combo.
* Ultimate California Pizza Game Zone: This pizzeria/arcade is better known for great pies and video games, so few realize there is a spacious sports bar in the back of the establishment. This place doesn’t get as rowdy because of the family atmosphere, but it’s a great place to let the kids blow off some steam in the arcade while you catch a bit of the big game and enjoy a cold beer. Break up your nerves at halftime with a good old-fashioned game of Skee-Ball.