Downtown restaurants turn it up during Water Festival

‘It’s Water Festival time.’  That’s a phrase you’ll hear resonating throughout the Beaufort area for the next two weeks or so.  Every year the Beaufort Water Festival draws well over 50,000 people to downtown Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park to celebrate Beaufort’s love and adoration for all-things-water related.  It can be a boom for Beaufort’s local businesses of every kind; from our quaint retail shops to our larger retailers. Hotels and B&Bs will have no or nearly-no vacancies, and even our local marinas see an upswing in docking and other related traffic.

Shops bring in extra supplies to meet the demand because it’s Water Festival time.  Some businesses hire additional employees, reshuffle their staff, and even change business hours, because it’s Water Festival time.  With the increase of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, there’s an increase in local police presence as the Beaufort City Police Department assigns as many as 10 off-duty officers to the event.

You guessed it, because it’s Water festival time.

Shark Rodeo performs at Luthers.

Keeping in tune with the celebration are the restaurants in Downtown.  You see, they really look to ’ramp-it-up’ for Water Festival, and rightfully so.  Who’s going to feed all those people during Water Festival time?  Who’s going to quench all of the thirst?  Who’s going to help folks continue the celebrating after Water Festival ends for the night?

Panini’s on the Waterfront, Luther’s Rare & Well Done, Q on Bay, Hemingway’s Bistro and Plums…of course, are the answers to the aforementioned question.

And, they seem to pull it off pretty well too.

Noted as being the five places in downtown to enjoy some local nightlife along the Waterfront, dance, listen to live music, meet friends, and down a few pints, during Water Festival time you can look for bars to be setting up outside, entertainment schedules to be expanded, late-night dinner menus added or expanded, and more.

So, why leave downtown after the night’s festivities?

Panini’s is hosting it’s first ever Beer Garden during the Water Festival, complete with a cover and picnic tables. Look for it to be open at 4pm for Motown Monday, Time Warp Tuesday and each Friday and Saturday until the music in park stops. The owners of the breweries will be on hand in the Garden to fill your glasses and to tell you all about their breweries. Panini’s on the Waterfront is perhaps downtown’s most popular night spot.  With the downtown Waterfront’s only outside bar, Panini’s usually has live music or a DJ on the weekends on it’s expansive River Deck.  Look for Panini’s to keep the party going with a late night DJ during Water Festival.  Add food specials and late-night Panini’s pizzas, and you’ve got a great spot to continue celebrating.

Luther’s Rare & Well Done offers live music at it’s establishment usually three nights a week.  But it’s Water festival time, so look for live music at Luther’s just a little more often during the ten day celebration.  Add an outside bar at the rear deck of the restaurant, an expanded late-night food menu with special Water Festival-themed plates and you’ll be celebrating the Water Festival, Luthers-style, into the night. If you want to listen to live music and keep the party going,  Luther’s is a fantastic time!

Q on Bay, is quickly becoming a cool spot to be after dark in Beaufort.  Offering live music sometimes 4 nights a week on their regular schedule, look for added days/nights with even more, and an outside bar.  Expect a great mix of acoustic artists as well as some harder-hitting  rock on Q’s list of live music.

Plums Restaurant will host some live music and a dash of DJ’s and dancing along with some great Plum’s food and drink specials and you’ll find out that the experience of some thirty years of Water Festivals can make for a great atmosphere.


We all love Water Festival time.  We all love our town and love to celebrate it in every possible way. Simply put… It’s what we do.
Please enjoy yourself, and be responsible.  If you need a cab, any of the downtown spots you’re at will be very happy to call one for you.

Look for the full weekend area nightlife schedule every Friday in Beaufort After Dark, on