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The Happiest Hours: Cyndi Moran, Hot Fish Club

You may remember it as the “Hot and Hot Fish Club” or you may now know it as one of the best venues on the inlet to listen to some groovin’ tunes, but this gathering place is more dynamic than ever thanks to the current owners, Cyndi Moran and her long-time friends, Kathy and Phillip Bates. Originally founded in the late 1700s, the social club was dedicated to gourmet food, delicious beverages, and festive times. In spirit of those earlier revelers, Hot Fish Club (and all of its best traditions) was re-established in its current location by Morse Park Landing in the oldest existing restaurant building in Murrells Inlet.

As a co-owner for the last 11 years, Cyndi Moran is most likely the sweet and friendly face you see when you first enter the restaurant. As a life-long fan of live music, Cyndi loves a little bit of everything, but especially songs that get people dancing. “Growing up as an army brat, I moved around often, and I was so fortunate to live in Germany during my high school years.” Cyndi continued, “My friends and I would travel by train to see concerts in huge fields on the weekends. There was no drinking age, and we had a blast listening to some of our favorite bands like Journey and Lover Boy.” Luckily, the business Cyndi is part-owner of also features the liveliest entertainment every weekend in their Gazebo, just behind the restaurant overlooking the marsh. Regardless of which genre is playing for the night, the Gazebo will always be the place to be when you feel like getting down and letting loose.

More than awesome music, refreshing drinks, and insanely tasty cuisine, the hospitality and service of this business are immaculate. Just as the owners are all like family to each other, they feel the same way about all of their hard-working employees and their highly appreciative guests. While Hot Fish Club services include catering and private party planning, Cyndi also loves to celebrate her personal life with fine dining food. Spending time with her loved ones while also having quality eats and drinks is her idea of a good time. With all of the positive energy and admiring effort she devotes to taking care of others at work, a night off to be the one waited on for a change is well deserved.

Most recently, Hot Fish Club has become a triple threat now that they have opened a third bar. The Char Bar, short for Charcuterie Bar, is the perfect spot to wait for your table or have a unique dining experience. On top of their rotating selection of fabulous wines and smoked cocktails, their dynamic charcuterie boards are all the rage. Cyndi loves how dynamic the boards are as she explained, “In addition to the wide variety of cheeses (which is my favorite part), I also love the little jams and spreads too, like fig or pepper jelly, and you can never go wrong with adding a little chocolate.” Connected to the main restaurant, this intimate side bar can be entered from the front or back porch and is happily open from 4 ‘til whenever.

After you’ve worked up an appetite from the drinks and all the boogieing, the Char Bar has you covered with some late-night grub. Although their full kitchen closes at 9, they now offer finger-food baskets such as tacos, sliders, and chicken fingers from 9pm to 1am. The exciting atmosphere that these amazing owners have created is guaranteed to be an unforgettable time for friends and family to mingle and celebrate any occasion. Although the Hot Fish goers now may be different than those members of the original club on Drunken Jack Island…their time spent at Hot Fish Club can still be described as some of the “happiest hours of their lives.”

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