Starting with a piece of contaminated marsh land and a bankrupted South Carolina marina, Jean Paul Morsie, owner of Morsie's Beachfront Yacht Club, now enjoys the success of one of today's hottest ocean front bar and restaurant destinations.
With limited business credentials, including a six month stint as a fudge warmer in a Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream parlor and a failed attempt at door to door personal massager sales, J.P. Morsie has proven the "third time charm" theory with Morsie's BYC. "All it took was some dirt to fill in the marsh and a little paint on the boat house and we were in business", says Morsie. Since the original opening in 1980, Morsie's BYC has gone through three expansions including the addition of a teak wood oyster bar, restaurant, dance club, and dockside martini lounge.
"And he did it all on his own", says long time friend and British ex-patriot, Sir Wilfred Skoobington. "With money made from his days as a horticultural engineer at that dog food company, my mate Morsie has done pretty well for himself."
"It's amazing really", says Morsie, "How wonderful rutabaga acts as a filler agent for kibble. Though I still seem to have to explain to people around here", Morsie pauses for a moment, "that horticulture, was not a cultural study of prostitutes".
Since its modest opening, J.P Morsie became adept at drawing in local crowds. He was famous for a scuffle with the ACLU in 1997, which ultimately led to an out of court settlement. "We started with a banner saying, 'NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, FREE BEER', but we only intended that offer for the ladies, really. After the ACLU pigs stepped in, we had to cater to men as well, but we only kept that promotion going for a week. After that, we put up a new banner declaring that Bikini's Drink Free, but the dudes tried to weasel in on that deal as well. We'll still serve them of course, but that stopped pretty much the day we posted their pictures on the internet."
With growth and popularity comes adversity and change. The drink promotions and associated dress codes created problems for Morsie's BYC in 1999 when several patrons had to be turned away at the door. "First it was the Bikini Roll Rule. If you spilling out or rolling over your Bikini straps, you need to reconsider your choice of beach wear. I mean, I'll buy you the damn drink, just please, God, cover up", says Morsie. There were other incidents reported once word of Morsie's BYC had made it to Europe. "Yes, we had to institute the No Speedo rule in 2001. As soon as 70 year old guys with accents started showing up, sagging all over their spandex berry pouches, social decorum dictated we do something for the betterment of society", says Morsie.
Morsie's BYC was also the first bar to feature Bikini Shaken Martinis, which are still the number one seller at the bar. With a price tag of $17, one might question the value of such a purchase, that is until you witness the preparation. "Let's just say that the Martini shaker is strategically placed, and then well shaken. It's quite a show", says Morsie.
Morsie's BYC does not just cater to younger crowds, but boasts a regular clientele of retirees as well. Featured in back of the bar is a perfectly manicured bluegrass lawn buffeted by shaded picnic tables and three Bocce courts. "Sometimes they bring in their own lunch, sometimes they opt for our blue plate special, but it's all good. These were the people who helped me start the business", says Morsie. "Of course some of our gentlemen regulars wander into the bar for a Bikini Martini from time to time, but we always offer them the senior discount."
Morsie's Beachside Yacht Club. The shrimp are jumbo, the blue plate special isn't, the martinis are cold and so is the bartender's cleavage. Open seven days a week.