Our walking tours are the perfect way to see Charleston, but there is so much more to experience while you are here. Guests are always asking us what to do, eat and drink while they are in Charleston, so we have compiled a list of our favorite spots to help you enjoy our city to the fullest. We will be adding new categories of experience to this list regularly, so check back often or contact us directly for more recommendations.
Proof does a lot of things right - from attentive and snappy service, to their boiled peanut hummus. As gin fans, this is our usual order when we duck into the dark little bar to escape the bustle of King Street. Proof makes its own lemon bitters in-house and the unique flavor gives this cocktail a magic that will have you missing when you made your own G&Ts at home. Say hello to Craig for us!
This little troublemaker of a cocktail sounds innocent, but packs a surprising wallop. The Belmont is a real charmer, exuding old Hollywood class, and has long ranked among our favorite places to begin or end an evening out. Any number of the expertly-crafted cocktails on their menu will get your engine pleasantly humming, but we always return to this sweet-smoky concoction as the perfect sipper for Belmont's singular, polished atmosphere. It isn't always on the menu, but the lads will happily make it if you ask!
The Rarebit's laid-back bar, cozy booths, and simple eats are a great comfort if you happen to be suffering from too much fun the night before. Their mule is a city favorite and great refresher or perfect hair of the dog with its spicy ginger kick. We highly recommend a side of fried okra with remoulade to take the edge off.
Maybe we're a little obsessed with spicy cocktails, but the Double Standard is something special. Made with Serrano pepper-infused gin and magic, this cocktail arrives with paper-thin slices of jalapeno pepper floating atop delicate, mismatched glasses of elixir. The space itself feels like a secret hideout, but pop in early because the secret seems to get out quick, and a line will start to appear on King Street by 9 p.m. or so.
Minero does many things well, and atypical cocktails with unexpected flavors is one of them. Many cocktails here feature tequila's cousin, mezcal, and the resulting smoky, herbaceous flavor profile is a refreshing change from the sickly-sweet margaritas offered at your standard Americanized Mexican restaurant. The Mr. Niebla pairs mezcal with Jarritos Grapefruit Soda and Aperol for something refreshingly tart that pairs perfectly with their catfish tacos and the enormously delicious burrito.
With familiar springy flavors of cucumber, elderflower, and your choice of vodka or gin, the Witchdoctor looks delicious, but is pretty innocuous at first glance. Where things take a wild turn is with the addition of what Macintosh calls the "buzz button." This peppercorn flower bud is served as a garnish with the drink, and the drinker can choose (or abstain from) chewing the delicate bud before imbibing. The resulting sensation makes one feel as if the tongue is being gently electrified. The feeling is magnified by sipping the drink itself, and drinkers report feeling as if their tongues are dancing. It's Charleston's only "interactive" cocktail, and super tasty with or without the buzz button!
This unique cocktail catches the eye of many due to its nod to popular fantasy series "Game of Thrones," but has become beloved by Charleston cocktail enthusiasts for its fantastic flavor transformation. Described by Edmund's as a "shape-shifting old-fashioned", the Red Wedding begins as a bourbon-heavy sipping drink, but changes into a more floral, fruity concoction as its hibiscus tea ice cubes melt into the drink. Instead of diluting into a flavorless puddle, the melting cubes transform the drink into something else entirely - a less boozy, but more quaffable cocktail with a sweet, gingery warmth. It's like a magic trick in a glass, and just one of the many tasty beverages offered at Edmund's Oast.
Victor's is one the best stops in town for fans of fine rum and even finer decor. The high-ceilings offer an atmosphere of airy, coastal class that's unlike any other bar in town. We always catch ourselves staring up at the gorgeous paintings of marlins at sea while enjoying some of the city's finest rum cocktails. The Hemingway is a classic, and is done beautifully here. A far cry from the whipped cream-topped frozen daiquiris you'll find at any number of island resorts, Victor's Hemingway is a simpler expression of white rum, grapefruit, and lime, with a touch of Luxardo for an additional kick that doesn't overwhelm. We like to amble down Hutson Alley to this gleaming oasis and relax with the Hemingway before spilling back out onto the hustle and bustle of King Street.
In honor of the shuttering of Upper Deck Tavern, one of Charleston's most beloved dive bars, we've compiled a short list of spots where you can drink for cheap on the peninsula. None of them have the charm and long history of Upper Deck Tavern, but these spots are perfect for getting your night rolling for less than $20. We'll miss you, UDT!
Moe's has been slinging beers for as long as we can remember. The cozy little dive boasts a pool table, a rock-solid menu, and a staff composed of true old school veterans of the Charleston food and beverage scene. It's walking distance from beautiful Hampton Park, if you'd like to take a stroll below the live oaks before settling in for your affordable beers. Pro tip - don't be fooled by the trick door to the ladies' bathroom!
A.C.'s sign boasts that it's up late, and it's always rockin' until 2 a.m. when our local bars close. We really love A.C.'s for its themed brunches. Star Wars, Labyrinth, Evil Dead and Game of Thrones - it's always a fun surprise to see what the kitchen has come up with to fit every brunch's unique theme. Day or night, A.C.'s has some of the cheapest eats and drinks on King Street, with two pool tables to enjoy along with your pitchers of mimosas.
Can your local dive bar claim to serve more cans of PBR for four years running than any other bar in the world? Nope, only Recovery Room holds the trophy for global canned PBR consumption. Scoot up King Street to rub elbows with local kids and F&B staff, grab some tater tot nachos and help Recovery Room reach the five-year mark by throwing back a few cold cans of Peeb.
Established by Upper Deck Tavern's bartending veteran Dwayne, Local 616 is the place to go for fans of English club soccer. The scarves and banners of rival teams line the walls and Dwayne himself is almost always there to talk the beautiful game with anyone that cares to listen. Enjoy the chill atmosphere away from the bustle of King Street and grab a bite to eat at next door neighbor Spero while you're there.
Tiny space, cheap beer, and a pool table sums up Cutty's to a tee. As the newest dive on the block, Cutty's sits across Bogard Street from local pizza joint D'Allesandro's. It's the least spacious on our list, but a solid choice if you're trying to down a shot or two after your pizza date. You'll definitely encounter a good share of college kids getting rowdy in Cutty's after dark, but that's simply the price you pay for dirt-cheap brews.
We know visitors come to Charleston seeking the stunning array of local seafood and heirloom veggies and grains that thrive in the Lowcountry, but you might not know that our chefs are also masters of an American classic: the cheeseburger. We consider ourselves connoisseurs of the burger and wish to share our favorites with you!
Recently awarded Best Burger in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine, Little Jack's Tavern Burger is small, but immensely satisfying. The restaurant itself has a vintage character that makes you feel as if Frank Sinatra or Don Draper might be wandering in for a stiff drink at any moment. We like to belly-up to the bar and scarf down one or two of these stellar little burgers with their beautiful crudite and a classic Brown Derby cocktail.
Simplicity at its finest - we find ourselves craving Rarebit's Track Burger when we want something basic and unfussy. Nothing is stacked too high to fit into our mouths, and you can order the Track Burger with one patty or two, and with or without cheese. We almost always get their legendary Moscow Mule and fried okra on the side.
On the opposite side of the burger spectrum, the Oak Burger is a big boy, made with the finest-quality ground steak. It's a true carnivore's burger and the size makes it perfect for the hungriest of burger lovers. The pro-secret is to go during happy hour and get it half off at Oak Steakhouse's lovely bar, surrounded by business-suited martini-drinkers - or take it away to eat in the privacy of your own home, as messily as you please.
This is the one to beat, in our opinion. The Husk Burger is a phenomenon apart from the notoriously always-booked Husk Restaurant on Queen Street. Every element of the burger is made in-house, including its addictive special sauce and the bacon-heavy grind of the patties themselves. You can find it in the restaurant at lunch, if you've managed to secure a reservation. But a better bet is to slip into Husk Bar, a separate building from the main restaurant, on the early side and order one off of the bar menu. The bar will fill up quick, so claim your bar space and prepare yourself for a transcendent burger experience.
We fell in love with newbie Purlieu's burger on our first visit to the restaurant. Tucked into a cozy, quiet space in the city's West Side, Purlieu is a casual French dream, perfect for a low-maintenance date. The burger is a reasonable $10 and is Goldilocks-sized - not too big and too small. Like the space itself, the burger manages to simultaneously feel simple, impressive and super satisfying.
There are lots of burgers to choose from at Poe's, and any one of them would make you happy that you paid a visit. The restaurant is a dedication to melancholic king of literary horror, Edgar Allan Poe, a theme that works oddly well on the tiny beach community of Sullivan's Island. We love the Tell-Tale Heart with its slightly messy fried egg, but burger lovers of all varieties will find something yummy to order at Poe's. If you can, secure an outdoor table on the patio and watch Sullivan's Island roll by at lazy, Lowcountry speed.
In honor of Valentine's Day, we wanted to share our favorite places to spend a romantic evening with that special someone in downtown Charleston. May we also recommend a walking tour with your partner? Together, you will learn all about Charleston's long history, and can compare your impressions of the city over dinner at one of these extraordinary restaurants.
Rustic, authentic Italian food in an intimate setting. This is a low-lit, cozy atmosphere with some amazing Italian wines on the menu. Trattoria Lucca is perfect for a hot date, but be warned that you might feel more sleepy than sexy after eating their amazing array of pastas and classic Italian dishes. The space is small, so make a reservation early.
Classy, classy, classy steak purveyors that boast a quieter, more intimate experience than similar restaurants in the area. Their wine selection befits the elegant ambiance. The customer service will make you and your date feel close to royalty. Dress to impress and order the whole fried in-shell lobster to celebrate a special evening.
A historic space that hosted George Washington in 1791 is certainly Charleston's most notable date night spot. Walk down Unity Alley off of East Bay to find the brilliantly-composed offerings of one of Charleston's favorite chefs. Between the beautiful design, genius dishes composed of local ingredients, and ambiance that only a centuries-old space can provide, you will find dining here to be one of the most memorable experiences of your time in Charleston.
Top-notch service, a dynamic cocktail program and an ever-changing menu that can suit a wide range of tastes. Be brave and impress your date by ordering the bone marrow bread pudding. It is a luxury in and of itself. Desserts are always on point and worth saving room for. You are welcome.
So very French with a small menu that changes daily. Check their social media for the offerings du jour. A charming space in a restored "freedman's cottage" that makes you feel as if you were dining at an inn in the South of France, rather than South Carolina.
A little more casual, but just as delightful as our other picks. Rue de Jean has a menu that boasts Parisian brasserie-style cuisine, in addition to excellent sushi. We like to sit by the bar and start the night with champagne cocktails or sit out on the patio and watch Charleston wander past.
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