Drum & Quill
Come for the food, stay for the camaraderie
By RAY LINVILLE » Photos by BRANDON WILLIAMS
Built on the old Irish tradition of a public house, Drum & Quill is a cozy place to gather, drink, eat, talk, debate, sing, laugh and tell stories. The bar, once housed in a magistrate judge’s chamber, boasts over 150 spirits (the largest in the area) and an extensive beer list to wet your whistle.
The lively bar scene is just part of what attracts golfers and non-golfers, locals and tourists alike. At Drum & Quill, the pub food is the best in the Sandhills. “Casual dining deserves the same respect as fine dining. We’re taking it one step higher,” says Drum.
The famous Angus burgers are made from fresh, never-frozen certified Angus and served on a Martin’s potato bun. “Our beef never hits the freezer,” Drum says to emphasize the point of freshness.
The pub sandwiches are creative. My wife’s favorite is the Old Town Reuben, crafted with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese on rye bread.
The shrimp tacos with avocado slaw and lime make you think that you’re on the coast — at least they do for Drum. They remind him of fish tacos he always had at Pawley’s Island years ago. “I couldn’t get them here,” he says of why they’re on the menu. “They’re the best quality.”
Two spirits loom large at Drum & Quill. Both are represented in its name: Drum for Bob Drum, the owner’s father who was a famous golf writer, and quill for his pen that turned stories into legends. In 1960, his stories predicted that Arnold Palmer would win the top four major golf tournaments that year much like Bobby Jones had in 1930 — an achievement known then as the Grand Slam and attained by only Jones.
After Palmer had won the Masters and U.S. Open, he and Drum’s father were flying together to the next major, The Open Championship at St. Andrews. On that flight, they brainstormed about a modern Grand Slam that would include that event, the two that Palmer had won, plus the PGA Championship — and coined the term Professional Grand Slam (now just simply known again as Grand Slam).
The connection of Drum’s father to Pinehurst is also part of the story that the memorabilia on the walls tell. “He was preaching the gospel of Pinehurst and working in the trenches to get the U.S. Open here well before it was fashionable,” Drum says.
Enjoy a step back in time as you meander to see photos, letters, and memorabilia about his father’s journey as a golf writer and friendship with Palmer — and collections of articles, some by his father and others about him. They show that the unsung heroes of golf were the golf writers. “Writers helped to make golf great. We were reading exploits, not seeing them on TV,” he says.
With all his food dishes, Drum seeks the gold standard — just as gold as the letters on his large front window. “It took a week to put the gold-leaf lettering on the window,” which simply says Food - Spirits - Air Conditioning, “like they would have done it in my Dad’s era,” he adds. It’s just a small part of the scene that he’s been creating in the village of Pinehurst.
Sometimes it takes a newcomer a minute or two to realize that Drum & Quill is a golf writer-themed pub dedicated to Drum’s father. Then the ah-ha moment arrives as the ambience of the pub is appreciated more and more. For the design, Drum says, “I took the best ideas from the pubs I’ve seen in Ireland — the wood, steel, bricks.”
He takes the same caring approach with his cocktails as he does with his food. “They’re classic cocktails just like they were prepared in my Dad’s era,” he says.
Local music is featured regularly at Drum & Quill. Drum adds, “Our job is to support local musicians. On the first day we were permitted to use the outdoor space (when pandemic restrictions were eased), we hired a band.”
Top-notch food, drink, music, and service are the reasons why Drum & Quill is the winner of this magazine’s Best of the Best in the category of pub/tavern. Of course, being air-conditioned doesn’t hurt.
Drum’s middle name should be “Authentic” because his tavern is such an authentic classic. It continues the storied tradition of establishments where travelers were provided sustenance, drink, and music and sometimes food for a horse. All — well, except for equine food —are what make Drum & Quill great.
The quintessential tavern owner and small-town entrepreneur, Drum considers himself lucky to be in Pinehurst. “I have such a love of this place,” he confesses, a devotion that drew him to become a member of the village council.
Drum’s father is responsible for Drum & Quill being open seven days a week. “Dad would get so mad trying to figure out when a place was open or if it was closed one or two days a week. Plus we want to be an anchor business for the village. How can we be that if we close two days a week or take a week off?” Drum asks.
Since it opened on July 1 after the U.S. Open in 2014, Drum has been continuing to work on his vision of what a pub in the Home of American Golf should be. “I’ve been working seven years to get there. I want it to look like it belongs, like it’s been here 100 years,” he says.
Drum & Quill is also a great place to have brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. With $5 mimosas and Bloody Marys, it’s an occasion not to be missed, particularly during football season. If you’re Southern, try the fried green tomato Benedict, a creative spin on traditional eggs Benedict.
Also save room for dessert. The bourbon chess pie, made with Jim Beam, alone is worth a trip to Drum & Quill.