By land or sea, mobile pubs get groups out and about
Looking for a fun way to hang out with family and friends, see the sights, and get a little exercise (or not)? Try a pedal pub!
Pedal pubs originated in the Netherlands in the late 1990s and recently found their way to the Port City. While the term “pedal pub” implies that your experience requires a little sweat equity, that is not necessarily the case. All the local pedal pubs are equipped with engines that make pedaling optional.
Even though these are BYOB operations, they are not limited to an over-twenty- one crowd enjoying alcohol.
“We have quite a few family cruises, and I tell people that BYOB means bring your own beverage,” says Ashley Mann, owner and operator of Sea Legs Pedal Pub in Carolina Beach.
Here are a few options to see the area from a pedal pub perspective.
The BrewBoat cruises the Cape Fear River four or five times a day. The vessel features ten pedal seats and five sofa seats that accommodate up to fifteen people.
People enjoy the pedal seats because they like talking to one another across the bar, even if they’re not pedaling, says owner, operator, and captain Chris Haynes.
The 90-minute tours begin at Port City Marina and travel to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, over to the Thomas Rhodes Bridge, and back to the Isabel Holmes Bridge. Customizations for special events are available upon request.
The BrewBoat runs seven days a week from March 1 until as far into the season as people want to enjoy the adventure.
If you’re after a smooth ride with opportunities to spot dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and the occasional alligator, then check out Sea Legs Pedal Pub.
Sea Legs provides ninety-minute tours in both Carolina Beach and Beaufort. The Carolina Beach route travels from the town docks to Snow’s Cut, and back.
“It’s funny to see the kids’ reaction when we see the turtles,” Mann says. “And, we see turtles nearly every day.”
Sea Legs is available for private parties as well as public cruises. Mann also offers two-hour fireworks cruises on Thursday evenings during the summer and recently added a Wine Down Wednesday that features six bottles of wine for a full vessel.
Sea Legs’ season begins in mid-March and operates through the end of October, every day but Tuesday.
If you’re a landlubber at heart, then check out the Trolley Pub. This open-air trolley accommodates fourteen people on two-hour tours of downtown Wilmington. Tours start in the 100 block of Princess Street and stay within a half-mile radius. Routes are customized, and guests can select two or three bars or restaurants for fifteen-twenty minute stops during their tours. Like the boat pubs, an electric motor helps move the trolley along so that pedaling is not required.
The trolley also offers a ninety-minute Wheels & Brunch on Sundays.
Trolley Pub furnishes mixer tours for small groups as well as private events. “Dropping off a bridal party to the reception is always fun,” says Tom Griffith, of the Trolley Pub management team.
To view more of photographer River Bondurant’s work, go to riverbondurant.myportfolio.com.
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