Pirate’s Quay | Nags Head Shopping

Pirate’s Quay Shopping Center, An Outer Banks Original

The original strip malls and shopping centers of our area have a unique architectural style that is distinctly an Outer Banks beach look.

Usually all wood construction with a wooden boardwalk, there are only a few of these early shopping centers left, but they have weathered the elements, and they often have some of the most genuine and iconic Outer Banks businesses.

That is certainly the case with Pirate’s Quay Shopping Center in Nags Head. Located on the Bypass just south of the YMCA, it is home to a diverse group of retail shops, restaurants and offices. Although anchored by a Super Wings that takes up the whole back area of the complex, everything else about the shopping center is a reminder of a different time and place on the Outer Banks.

Pirate’s Quay Shopping Center on a sunny summer day

Here are three businesses that we think will help to give a taste of Pirate’s Quay.

Cloud 9

We were trying to figure out when  Pirates Quay first opened, and although we’re not sure exactly when that was, but we do know it is at least 30 years old. That’s when Ginny Flowers opened Cloud 9—in 1988. Her store has been at the same location since the day it opened.

An eclectic blend of all things creative and artistic, Cloud 9 is a fun store just to enter. Paintings from talented Outer Banks artists line the walls, and there’s also metal craft and jewelry—much of it also from local artists.

A cute sitting area outside Cloud 9 in Pirate’s Quay

But if there is one thing that Ginny is noted for, it’s her beading. She has a remarkable supply of everything needed to make bead necklaces, bracelets or anklets. And she gives classes in how to create them.

The appeal of the store is the all things artistic nature of it. But we also should note that Ginny is part of the appeal—just one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And she’s great with teenagers and kids who might want to learn about beading.

Greentail’s Seafood Market & Kitchen

One of the best seafood meals we have ever had was at Greentail’s. The flounder—that’s what we tried—was obviously very fresh, the hush puppies fantastic, and the portion size very generous.

Diners enjoying a meal at Greentail’s Seafood Market

Greentail’s only sells what’s fresh, so although the flounder was great, it may not be on the menu next time.

What makes the restaurant standout is that they do some innovative preparations with their food. They will, sometimes, have ceviche on the menu. Other times seafood salads.

The indoor seating is limited but there are also picnic tables outside.

Greentail’s is a killer option for fresh seafood on the Outer Banks

In addition to being a killer restaurant, Greentails is also a seafood market, and they consistently have some of the freshest and best local catch.

They do close at 7:00 p.m. in the summer and off season hours are subject to change.

Waveriders Coffee Shop, Deli, Pub. 

Back on July 30 of this year, an espresso machine sparked an after hours fire at Waveriders, destroying just about everything inside the eatery.

Outer Banks coffee aficionados held their collective breath, wondering how extensive the damage was and when Waveriders would reopen. A month later it reopened, with an improved look inside, and everything was right in the Outer Banks world again.

Not that there aren’t some other very good coffee shops on the Outer Banks, but there is something about Waveriders that keeps bringing people back time and time again.

Waveriders Coffee & Deli

It is much more than just a coffee shop. The coffee and espresso drinks are excellent, but beyond the coffee, they offer some great breakfast and deli sandwiches as well as fantastic smoothies. And they have one of the best selections of craft beers around.

Waveriders Coffee & Deli

The seating area is very comfortable and after reopening post fire, it seems as though some thought was given to how to make it seem a bit more intimate or private among the chairs and tables.

A very nice touch—there is a small room with a sliding wooden door that is perfect for a larger group of friends, maybe 10 or 12, to gather.