CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - It is the No. 1 dive bar in our state, and ranked in the top-25 bars in the entire nation.
If you have heard the slogan, “Beer is Love,” then you know we are talking about the Fat Pelican.
“The Fat Pelican was started by Jim Kelly in 1982. He set a shipping container on the ground it was a refrigerator, then he made it a wine and food store with 68 kinds of beer and probably 300 different kinds of wine,” said Danny McLaughlin, current owner of the Fat Pelican.
McLaughlin came in and turned the shop around after the owner owed about $36,000 in back taxes.
" I said I would take it over if I could own part of the business," he stated.
And that’s all she wrote. The storage container still stands. That’s the bar’s claim to fame, a place where you can walk in and choose from 400 types of beer.
The bar is literally a hodgepodge of oddities. No matter where you turn you, don’t know what you will see. From an old boat to old signs to head of zoo animals - McLaughlin says everything is made on site by him or donated.
“All the furniture I designed and we built here, that’s why it all has a lifetime warranty,” said McLaughlin as he chuckled.
McLaughlin shared a secret to the bar’s success.
“The first thing you have to do is make everyone feel safe, even by themselves," he said. "The next is to have a comfortable place to sit and be cool ,so you aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere. And the third thing is to give you so much to look at that even if you don’t have anybody to talk to there is plenty of stuff to look at and keep you busy.”