June 2020

21 Faces of Lowcountry Hospitality: Jim Lisenby

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

Jim Lisenby
Pool Bar Jim’s

Jim Lisenby said a friend of his told him to “find what no one else wants to do, do it well, and you’ll make a killing.” Evidently what no one else wanted to do on Hilton Head Island was make complicated frozen fruit concoctions 12 hours a day in the summer months for thirsty tourists coming up from the beach. Forty-two years and thousands (millions?) of drinks later, Pool Bar Jim is still serving those Lava Flows to the delight of so many return visitors. Last year he teamed up with Dave Peck and A Lowcountry Backyard to open his new location behind the SeaCrest Resort.

What is the most frequently asked question you get from our visitors?
Most of the time people just ask what to do while they are here. We give them the complete rundown of where to go and what to do. We tell them to make sure and go to Harbour Town, South Beach, and we suggest a lot of restaurants for people to try.

If you could advise our visitors to do just one thing while they were here, what would it be?
Go to the beach and come to Pool Bar Jim’s.

Out of all the amazing cocktails you offer, which one is the most ordered?
The Lava Flow, by far. In 1997 someone asked me for one, and back then, you couldn’t just Google what was in it. I asked them where they got it, and they told me Hawaii, so I took a trip there to find the recipe. Today, we sell thousands and thousands of them.

Which is your personal favorite?
The Painkiller, which is a recipe from my favorite place: the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands. I love going there, it’s a beautiful place with great people.

How long have you lived on Hilton Head Island and what do you love most about it?
I’ve lived here over 42 years, and I enjoy the people more than anything else. This island is such a unique and beautiful place, and we are lucky that there have been people who strive to preserve the character and beauty of it.

Favorite annual event or festival?
The Heritage is my favorite annual event. It’s such a great way to see everyone you haven’t seen in a while. We are a very close community, but everyone is working all the time. It’s a tie between The Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival and Wingfest for festivals.

Unofficial Poll: Where do most of our visitor’s hail from?
Well that’s pretty obvious. Everyone thinks Ohio. But we really get a lot of people from the Midwest and Northeast as well—and from Georgia.

  1. Great guy! We have enjoyed him and his lava flows since 2005 when we discovered HHI. Now we live here (Bluffton) and make pillows. Go figure, a retired teacher making pillows. Retired?

    — Mystic Mates    Jun 13, 09:19 am   

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