SOHO Café & Bar

SOHO Café & Bar

February in Myrtle Beach is a gift to those of us who live here – now we can experience all this beautiful city has to offer without the hustle and bustle of the tourist season. While out and about, Sasee stopped by Soho Café and Bar and had a lively chat with general manager Lawrence Decker while sitting in Rooftop21, the only rooftop bar along the Grand Strand.

The urban, intimate décor of Rooftop21 gave me the feeling of being in a much larger city. During the cooler months, the open air seating is enclosed with heavy plastic sheeting and the area is warmed by overhead heaters and fun fire pits. We sat on comfortable couches and watched the sunset – the city lights after dark are beautiful and, in my opinion, the best time to visit this unique bar. There is room for big groups to sit together, but also quiet corners for more intimate gatherings.

While we enjoyed a glass of wine (at great happy hour prices from 4-7 pm), Lawrence talked about his life and work. Lawrence, a mixologist who has won 28 awards, moved to Myrtle Beach from Pennsylvania to work at the House of Blues after vacationing here and falling in love with the area – and the weather. From the House of Blues, Lawrence moved to Bistro 90 and on October 11th of last year, he took over management of Soho Café and Bar.

“This building was completely remodeled before we opened last fall,” Lawrence began. “It has quickly become a local’s favorite. We’re busy every night! I think the best way to describe us is Miami chic meets New York – it’s a very unique place.”

Meet Lawrence Decker, General Manager, Soho Café & Bar

Meet Lawrence Decker, General Manager, Soho Café & Bar

While he works long hours (110 hours one week soon after the new restaurant opened!), Lawrence does find time for fun occasionally. He and his partner of 13 years live on the northern end of Myrtle Beach on a golf course with their three cats. “I don’t have time to play golf, but I do like the driving range!” His friends are always happy when he plans a party at home where he cooks amazing dinners from scratch.

Every spring, Lawrence travels to Augusta, Georgia, to work in the VIP tents at the Masters Golf Tournament. One of the few, elite restaurant professionals chosen, it is one of the highlights of his year. “I grew up around celebrities, so that’s not a problem for me. My dad worked on television sets doing lighting – he worked on the set of “CHIPS” when I was growing up. For 15 days every April, I help manage the tents set up for green jacketed guests only, who pay $17,000 each for the privilege. There are twelve bars and four sandwich shops. Last year, I met Condoleezza Rice, who was the first woman and African American to have a membership. It’s a lot of work, but I love it.”

Lawrence’s partner works for Delta Airlines, and he can travel anywhere he wants for free. “Last year I flew to London, Paris and Amsterdam. I have family in Atlanta and will fly down to have dinner with them and fly back the same day – it’s great!”

I asked Lawrence about the food at Rooftop21. “We have a wonderful tapas menu that is mostly local, wild caught and organic. Our guests can also order from our sushi menu – my favorite roll is the Dancing Eel, but actually they are all wonderful!”

When you stop by for a drink at Rooftop21, if wine or beer is not your thing, try Lawrence’s favorite drink, a Brazilian cocktail called Caipirinha 21. Sasee may be “Out and About” most anytime over the next few months – let us know your favorite places!

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