Celebrating 27 years, the Blue Crab Tavern
October 10th, 2020 Everyone Welcome!
Nestled on a tiny gravel parking lot sits a small cinder block building painted the color of a royal blue, happy sky. Even though this pretty little place outwardly exudes seaside charm and ambiance, it is the stuff of urban legends and scary tales from the redneck crypt. Some locals might shiver their timbers when the words “Blue Crab Tavern” are uttered, but visitors roll right on in and pull up a stool. From knife fights to bar brawls and murderous shenanigans, the Blue Crab Tavern has been the rumored scene for many of the larger imaginations roaming the beaches here on the Outer Banks. The truth is that there might be the occasional lover’s spat inside those hallowed blue walls, but anything beyond that is just an old wive’s tale. The Blue Crab reminds everyone of a hole-in-the-wall watering hole from back home. It’s got authentic charm.
The Blue Crab Tavern is ruled with the iron fist of it’s proprietor and unofficial therapist of Colington Island, Argie Shultz, since she bought the business in 1993.
Argie has been tending bar around these parts for as long as anyone can remember. Her first job slinging foam was at the Buoy 9, formally located on the beach road in Kill Devil Hills. After a few years she left the Buoy and started tending bar at the Colington Creekside, which later became the Blue Crab Tavern. She’s been burning up those floor tiles and swinging that long black ponytail of hers behind the bar serving the local community for a long, long time.
That cinder block building has seen a lot of traffic over the years. It was formally a fish house, then a convenience store and finally it found an atmosphere that stuck when it became one of the only taverns left on the entire Outer Banks. Argie remodeled the Colington Creekside decor back in 1994. She removed the old walk-in fish cooler and enlarged the bar, added stools, more television sets and new carpet. On any given day you can watch ballgames while never losing sight of what the seas and the skies are doing outside because the Weather Channel is always on too. Upgrades also meant new swag so she added beer huggies, stickers and lots of tee-shirts to the menu. Her daughter-in-law designed the logo for the bar and that logo is still being used today. It’s iconic and has been seen around the world.
Last year the bar went through another growth spurt with the addition of the gorgeous covered deck in the back. Built to last, over the sound, this deck is a fun venue all year round. Free Foosball and juke box music make this the spot to hang out and catch up with your friends. The windows are wide open when the weather is nice, and zipped tight to keep you toasty warm on those cool Autumn nights. The deck is also the best place to watch the sun go down on another glorious Outer Banks day. If you check out the Blue Crab Tavern Facebook page you’ll find oodles of sunset pictures worth framing.
The Blue Crab is also known for it’s cookouts and barbecues. Argie loves a party, so throughout the year she hosts several shindigs and invites everyone to come out. Her famous 4th of July pig roasts bring in a huge crowd every year! You can see the smoke rolling over that back fence around 5 am the morning of the party when the boys get the barrel grill fired up to cook the pig all day until it’s ready.
If you’d rather float to the party than drive, motor or paddle over in your boat and tie up to the ample dockside parking located right off the deck. The channel is well marked, so rest assured you’re headed into a safe harbor.
Every Tuesday night roasting free hot dogs has become a tradition for folks coming in for the pool tournament. This nine-ball, double elimination tourney has been happening at 7:30 pm Tuesday night for as long as she’s been in business. There’s a cash prize and a fabulous trophy for bragging rights. The pool table is still only 50 cents a game.
The Blue Crab also opens the door as an outreach for locals in need. Argie has hosted several fundraising parties when folks have needed a little extra to keep them going. You will always find a jar on Argie’s bar collecting coins for friends in need. Dig deep, give generously.
People say that the Blue Crab Tavern is the place to go if you want to see and experience a little bit of local color, and they’d be right. The fine patrons of the Blue Crab are usually responsible for that fresh catch you ate for dinner at the local restaurant, or the oysters you bought for your party. Watermen of all kinds, from deep sea scallop harvesters to flounder giggers, all stop at Miss Argie’s place for a cold one after a long, soggy day working the sea. The other half are the people building and keeping the Outer Banks residences and businesses in good shape. The painters, the carpenters, plumbers, electricians and cable guys all belly up to the bar on a daily basis. If you stop by early in the day you’ll be privileged to meet some of the famous OBX retirees. They like to sit around the bar and swap good stories or give advice on gardening and recipes sometimes.
One fella used to stop in everyday for a Pepsi Cola. His name was Dallas and his daddy was there the day the Wright Brothers got their funny looking contraption off the ground for the first time. He owned a shedder pier right next to the bar to harvest Outer Banks softshell crabs and worked until the day he passed on. Dallas is like so many of the Blue Crab regulars that have left behind a history of legacies and lore. There’s always room for more at the Blue Crab and there will always be someone to listen to your story and to share one of their memories with you.The next time you’re cruising down Colington Road and you spy that tiny, royal blue cinder block building just beckoning you to stop in, do yourself a favor, take a load off and do it. You won’t be sorry you did.
See you on the 10th of October!