History and a Bloody Mary at The Bell Tree Tavern - Southern Pines, NC


“Freeeeedooooom!”  Am I still in the South or did I enter another dimension as I passed through the whiskey barrel designed front door?  Whatever happened, I was pleasantly surprised at hearing one of my favorite movie quotes on such a dreary winter’s day.  I came in search of a Bloody that would portray this quaint early American town, as I see it my mind’s eye.  And, I did find that bloody at The Bell Tree Tavern.  But, I also found a whiskey drinkers whiskey tavern and a whisky drinkers whisky tavern.  If you don’t understand, let’s just say the Irish and Scotts are proudly represented here in Southern Pines, NC.

While Shaun and Stuart debated the authenticity of Braveheart at the bar, I found a small space in the corner where I could view all the happenings while enjoying a Bloody Mary and a bowl of the famous chicken vegetable soup.  To visit The Bell Tree Tavern is to take a trip back to yesteryear when prohibition was the rule of the day.  The tavern's name carries historical significance. As the story goes, thirsty travelers in search of a libation would ring a bell inside a hollowed tree to signal that they wanted a swig of moonshine. In a few minutes, moonshine would appear inside the tree.  Moonshiners used this method as a way of avoiding capture. And, thirsty travelers, would be thirsty no longer.

As the waitstaff approached and asked to take my drink order, I half expected Heather to tell me the Bloody contained both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky, but alas was relieved to hear that was not the case and in fact contained a familiar name, Tito’s.  When the Bloody arrived, I was not impressed.  I mean, it was plain.  While that is not a bad sign, I think these days with circus type drinks plastered all over social media, we forget that great drinks come in simple packages.  And, such is the case for The Bell Tree Bloody Mary.  

The ice-cold pint’s rim of celery and cayenne salt along with the garnish of lime was just short of boring. However, after the first sip I realized, through it’s simplicity, it contains a perfect blend of olive juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, fresh horseradish, farm fresh crushed tomatoes, and a secret ingredient that Heather was not allowed to disclose.  Although, I did hear it was A dash of 1 famous steak sauce.  On this dreary winter’s day, I found the perfect Bloody to warm my Scottish soul.

Why go:  Chicken Vegetable Soup and The Bell Tree Bloody, $6.50

The Bell Tree Tavern

155 NE Broad Street

Southern Pines, NC 28387

p: 910.692.4766

About The Author

Scott Moore is a 4th generation Texan. Retired from corporate life, he now spends his time as CEO of InsideOut Management Group representing music and fine artists, athletes, and the professional outdoorsman. 

Find out more at www.insideoutmanagementgroup.com