Food & Drink

The Best Places to Drink in Charleston Right Now

Updated On 12/12/2017 at 04:13PM EST
Chris Watkins Photography

1Kept

Ansonborough

Trendy hotel restaurant specializing in Southern food & cold brew cocktails
1Kept may have only opened its doors earlier this summer, but it’s already made a big impact on Charleston’s dining and drinking scenes. It’s currently the only place in Charleston serving up cold brewed cocktails -- a slow-drip-infusion process that looks like a science experiment happening behind the bar, and it takes 36 hours to complete. The result is a flavor packed-cocktail that’s bright and refreshing and has absolutely nothing to do with coffee. Our favorite is the Charleston Tea Old Fashioned which features HillBilly bourbon, Charleston Tea Plantation Earl Grey, black cherry, and clementine peels.
 

Gin Joint

French Quarter

Cozy and romantic cocktail bar serving hand-crafted drinks
The Gin Joint offers up all the makings of a perfect romantic night out: softly lit, with unobtrusive music, and of course, sinfully delicious mixed drinks. The cocktail menu leans heavily on the eponymous spirit, but the bar is stocked with other popular liquors as well (just don’t ask for anything with vodka). Not sure what to order? Ask for the bartender’s choice for a one-of-a-kind cocktail crafted just for you.

Chad Klimaszewski

Cane Rhum Bar

Ansonborough

Caribbean-inspired bar with tiki drinks, snacks, and cold beer
Charleston might feel a little chilly outside right now, but inside Cane Rhum Bar, it’s like summer never left! The brightly colored walls, leafy green palm trees, and upbeat island-inspired music make you feel like you’ve jetted off to the Caribbean for the weekend. Rhum chef Paul Yellin has crafted food & drink menus with authentic island flavors and ingredients to chase the chill away. One solid, go-to drink is the Instant Vacation, made with lemongrass and ginger-infused Mt. Gay rum, Falernum, orange, lemon juice, and a house-made ginger beer topper.  
 

Bay Street Biergarten

Mazyck-Wraggborough

German-style sports bar with pour-your-own beer taps
Bay Street Biergarten is a lively, energetic beer bar inspired by German-style biergartens found throughout Bavaria. The outdoor patio features giant picnic-style tables, lawn games, and, when the weather’s nice, an almost constantly packed bar. Inside, you’ll find self-serve beer taps, comfortable booths, and a bar serving up local and regional brews and craft cocktails. Between the monthly pop culture-themed trivia nights, the puppy brunches, and broadcasts of the latest sports games, there’s always something fun happening at BSB. 

Recovery Room

Recovery Room

Upper King Street

Low-key dive bar known for cheap beer
We’re not sure there’s anything that could stop people from going to Recovery Room; it’s an evergreen haunt that Charlestonians will continue to frequent decades into the future. It’s like that little cockroach from Wall-E: the world might be completely deserted, but Rec Room will still be up and running, slinging PBRs to anyone who’s thirsty enough to want one.

Sydney Gallimore/Thrillist

Bar Mash

Eastside

Upscale cocktail bar with seasonally-changing drinks
The dark wood paneling, low light, and head bartender Teddy Nixon’s proclivity for whiskey-based cocktails — including a Low Country-inspired fall cocktail called the Fairgrounds (made with Woodford Reserve Double Oak, clarified apple juice, sherry, Cardamaro, tiki bitters, and salt) —give Mash a cozy, romantic feel. They also keep things lively and casual with an indoor bocce court, jukebox, and live music a few nights a week, making it an ideal spot for whatever mood you’re in.

Courtesy of The Cocktail Club

The Cocktail Club

Radcliffborough

Jazzy speakeasy with craft cocktails and a rooftop patio
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a classic Old Fashioned that will warm you from your belly to your toes. And when it comes to the perfect Old Fashioned, it’s hard to beat the one found at upscale lounge The Cocktail Club. The At a Time Like This (made with Tito’s Vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, cinnamon, thyme, and a splash of prosecco) is also a great choice if you prefer a non-whiskey-based cocktail. Obsessed with The Cocktail Club? Join the VIP list for all kinds of cool discounts and special events.

Closed for Business

Closed for Business

King Street Historic District

Casual bar with over 41 local and national beers on tap
Those of you who are really into craft beer should plan to spend a few hours at CFB. Sidle up to the bar or settle into one of the leather chairs near the (unfortunately fake) fireplace and try a liter of your favorite seasonal brew, or one of the 41 other beers on tap here. Pair it with the Pork Slap sandwich -- or one of the other delicious menu items -- and you’ve got the makings of a perfect night out. 

AC's

King Street Historic District

Dimly lit dive with cheap drinks and pool tables
Those looking to stay in comfy clothes like flannel shirts and jeans all year long will find their people at AC’s. Plan to head there for Sunday brunch, which celebrates a new theme every week (paying tribute to a wide range of pop culture, where everything from Golden Girls to Game of Thrones is fair game). The beers are cold, the mimosas are 98% Champagne, the shots are cheap, and the bartenders are efficient and no-nonsense.

Warehouse

Warehouse

Cannonborough

Minimalist bar and restaurant with cocktail pitchers
Warehouse changes up its cocktail menu on a pretty regular basis, depending on the season and what the bartenders are feeling at the moment. In addition to regular house cocktails, you’ll also find cocktails made to split (think: a pitcher of your favorite cocktail), two different sangrias, as well as the fusion of beer and liquor known as the “beer cocktail.” Here’s what you should drink if you’re feeling adventurous: the Back in Black, made with Holy City Pluff Mud Porter, bourbon, ginger snap, orange, and maple syrup. Oh, and did we mention that their cocktails are just $5 during happy hour?

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

Market Street

Ritzy steakhouse with modern cocktails and a generous happy hour
They say that some like it hot, and if you’re one who likes their cocktails with a little heat, then Burwell’s is the bar for you. The Mexican Campfire cocktail is made with Herraduras tequila, Laphroaig, Ancho Reyes, grapefruit, lime, and blood orange syrup, and it will tickle your tongue and give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. The bar at Burwell’s is trendy, yet comfortable, making it the perfect stop for an after-dinner nightcap.

Edmund's Oast

Edmund's Oast

NoMo

Contemporary bar & restaurant with house-brewed beers
Beer lovers will rejoice over the giant wall of beers offered at Edmund’s Oast. Whether you’re into something dark (like the Prairie Bomb! Deconstructed Chili) or a more unique brew (try the house-brewed peanut butter & jelly beer), you’ll find your perfect seasonal suds and unusual cocktails here. Pair it with some of the house-cured charcuterie, and you might never want to go home.

Jonathon Boncek/Thrillist

The Rarebit

King Street Historic District

Upscale, diner-style spot known for house-brewed Moscow mules
There’s something about a Moscow mule that appeals to every season, and the best mule in the Holy City can be found at Rarebit. The dark, comfy booths, retro-style lighting, and bartenders who make complicated cocktails at lightning speed all come together to make you feel like you’ve found an intimate escape, even when the place is at capacity (which happens pretty quickly).

Prohibition

King Street Historic District

Jazz-inspired bar/restaurant with creative cocktails and live music
Prohibition’s name might imply otherwise, but the cocktail menu is full of creative and unique mixed drinks that appeal to any palate (assuming that palate drinks alcohol). Try the Bourbon Thyme with Granny Smith apple-infused Jim Beam, lemon, Aperol, thyme, honey, and orange bitters for the perfect palate-pleasing drink. And if that doesn’t do the trick, get out on the dance floor. After all, what goes better with cocktails than dancing?

Proof

Proof Bar

King Street Historic District

Intimate cocktail bar with an extensive drink list
The craft cocktail and “real good beer” menu at Proof is one of the biggest in Charleston, which means the odds of finding a drink to match your unique personality are pretty heavily in your favor. Not finding exactly what you want on the menu? Not a problem, as owner/bartender Craig Nelson and company can fashion practically any cocktail your heart desires. Just tell them what flavors you like and they’ll make it happen. The space is intimate and dark and overlooks King Street, which makes it perfect for date night.

The Tattooed Moose

Tattooed Moose

NoMo & Johns Island

Casual, American-style eatery serving classic cocktails
Both the Johns Island and Downtown Tattooed Moose locations are just generally fun bars to hang out at and drink leisurely while getting your game on. In addition to board games and arcade games, the bar often features live, local musicians or broadcasts your favorite sports team. If the weather is nice, plan to sit out on the patio and enjoy your drinks al fresco.

Seanachai

Johns Island

Neighborhood pub serving Irish spirits, food, and beer
When it comes to darker liquors like whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch, you can bet that an Irish pub like Seanachai has a decent selection of all three. Order up some of that good stuff, or try your luck with the cocktail of the week, made with ingredients picked fresh from the Johns Island Farmers Market (or Seanachai’s own herb garden). Sip your drinks inside the warm Irish pub interior or take them outside around the fire pit (if there’s any room!). 

The Alley Charleston

The Alley

King Street Historic District

Energetic sports bar & bowling alley with themed parties and live trivia 
Whenever you’re not avoiding the outdoors in favor of Netflix, head over to the Alley for beer and/or cocktails and a rousing game of bowling (don’t forget to bring socks!). Whether it be for the Studio 300 party, the Big Lebowski Bash, or just for a fun night out on the town, The Alley is one bar you should definitely pin to your list for a strikingly good time -- sorry, but those puns were completely justified. Remember, they show bowling on ESPN, which means you can also count this as exercise for the day.

Craft Conundrum

Craft Conundrum

West Ashley

Industrial-chic beer bar with over 100 beers on tap
Although Craft Conundrum is a super low-key spot to hang out after work, beer is serious business here. You may truly have a drinking conundrum upon arrival, thanks to the more than 100 beers on tap, but the affordable drinks and staff who really knows their beer will quickly turn this confusion into a cause for celebration. The bar doesn't serve food, but if all that drinking works up your appetite, the bartender will let you order a pizza or bring in food from one of the many food trucks that often visit.

DIG In The Park

Park Circle

Sports bar with a lively patio and cold beer
Dig in the Park is arguably one of the most fun bars in all of Park Circle, and perhaps in the entirety of North Charleston. Anytime you walk by, the patio looks like a party you wish you’d been invited to, often featuring live music, trivia competitions, live sporting events on TV, or just a general air of camaraderie. Stop by for a happy hour drink (or two) during the week from 4pm-7pm for $2.50 select drafts and $3 house liquors!

Courtesy of The Business Company

Local 616

East Central

Mellow watering hole specializing in craft cocktails and mule varieties
Local 616 is a dive bar, but owner Dwayne Mitchell has created an atmosphere that makes you feel like your best friend (who’s great at mixing drinks) opened a bar and you’re their favorite customer. Although it’s definitely off the beaten path, Local 616 is definitely worth going out of your way for. As Dwayne would say: “Word.”

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Belmont

King Street Historic District

Chic and trendy cocktail bar serving up all the classics
The comfortable atmosphere at the Belmont seems to be magically appropriate for every season. We’re not sure if it’s the black & white movies projected on the wall, the fact that there’s a limit on the number of people allowed in at a time to give it more of an intimate feel (seriously), or the artfully crafted cocktails that make us love the Belmont so much, but they all work together to really get you in the mood of the season. Pro tip: pair your fresh-pressed mint gimlet cocktail with a house-made banana and Nutella Pop-Tart for a truly indulgent evening.

Jack of Cups

Folly Beach

No-frills, Asian-inspired restaurant and saloon
This unique locals’ bar/restaurant exists in an area most often associated with tourists and generic fried seafood. Luckily, Jack of Cups isn’t afraid to break the mold and be different, and it’s also got the best beer selection on Folly Beach, with both local and regional brews, plus a decent selection of red and white wine, at prices that’ll make your wallet (and taste buds) jump for joy.

The Barrel Charleston

The Barrel

James Island

Dog-friendly neighborhood beer bar with food trucks and live music
The Barrel was made for people whose love for craft beer is exceeded only by their love for man’s best friend. Featuring 33 local and regional beers on tap and a waterfront backyard that welcomes both humans and dogs (and the occasional goat), The Barrel is sure to become one of your favorite spots to spend an afternoon. And when the weather starts to get a little nippy, gather around The Barrel’s fire pit to stay comfortably toasty.

Husk Restaurant

The Bar at Husk

French Quarter

Rustic, two-story bar with premium whiskey and regional brews
Much like chef/owner Sean Brock, the Bar at Husk has a real passion for the brown water -- it features more than 50 premium bourbons, ryes, and Scotches that are delicious -- whether on their own or in one of the signature cocktails. The atmosphere is especially unique, capturing true southern essence with its faux-thatch roof and exposed brick walls that make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time a century or two. Pro tip: order the burger and a barrel-aged Manhattan for a truly transcendent experience.

Up Next
Courtesy of Bay Street Biergarten
Food & Drink

Charleston's Best Places to Watch the FIFA World Cup

Published On 06/08/2018
E very four years, soccer fever takes over the Holy City, and we spend our lunch breaks worshipping the FIFA gods by drinking beer, screaming at the television, and arguing over the rules of soccer. Even though the US didn’t make it into the World Cup this year, there’s still sure to be plenty of action, excitement, and soccer memes -- enough that you’ll get FOMO if you’re not watching live. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best sports bars in Charleston that’ll be broadcasting the matches and maybe even throwing a party or two during the month-long competition (from June 14 through July 15). We’ll be updating as we get closer to the kick off (that phrase works for soccer, too, right?) so be sure to check back so you don’t miss out!
My Father's Moustache

My Father's Moustache

Mount Pleasant

This British-style pub is the best and liveliest to watch Team England
If 2014’s World Cup games taught us anything, it’s that you’ll want to get to My Father’s Moustache as early as possible to get a good seat, because Team England fans don’t play around. That said, with many of this year’s games starting at 8am (thanks, Russia), you might want to just grab a tent and spend the night in the parking lot. Even when the games aren’t playing, this adult playground with pool tables, dart boards, and pinball is always a good time.

Courtesy of Bay Street Biergarten

Bay Street Biergarten

Wraggborough

Biergarten with patio & interior big screens showing every Team Germany game
You can bet that a place that calls itself a biergarten will be celebrating Team Germany’s journey all month long. They’ll be running food & drink specials during all the Germany games, which you can watch on many of their big-screen TVs both inside and out on the patio. The beer will be flowin’, so you can cheer Die Mannschaft with a full stein, the way Germany intended. Angela Merkel would be proud.

Courtesy of Madra Rua

Madra Rua

Summerville

Team Ireland’s HQ, and a great option for World Cup newbies
You don’t have to cheer for a specific team to have a great time at Madra Rua (especially since Ireland’s not playing); their Summerville location will be celebrating by giving you a chance to win a New Belgium bike during the finale. You’ll definitely be cheering for the drink prices here -- they’ll be doing 20-ounce drafts of New Belgium for $4.75 until the final game, and each one you drink will get you a ticket toward winning the bike! If New Belgium isn’t your thing, Blue Moon and Yuengling drafts are always $4.50, Fireball shots are $3, and every Sunday during brunch, you can get mimosas and Bloody Marys for just $3, or a beermosa with either Strongbow, Blue Moon, or Son of a Peach for only $5.

Local 616

Downtown

Cozy local dive that feels like watching the games with your best friends
Local 616 is one of the few bars in Charleston where you’ll find soccer fans watching games all year round, so you can bet they’ll be flocking there during the World Cup. This place really lives up to the “local” part of its name, as owner Dwayne has made it his mission to make everyone who comes into the bar feel like a regular (which is probably why Local 616 has so many regulars). Grab a beer or a craft cocktail, and settle in to watch a game or two.  

Charleston Sports Pub

Charleston Sports Pub

Various Locations

Lively bar chain with four locations in town, all showing the Cup
Any place that literally has “sports” in its name is a probably a safe bet for watching the World Cup, and Charleston Sports Pub is no exception. Yes, you can watch the games here, but the food menu’s varied enough for you to theme your to the teams that are playing: get nachos and tacos to support Team Mexico, fish and chips to support Team England, a large soft pretzel for Team Germany, hand-cut truffle fries to support Team Belgium, or go the United Nations route with a combo of all of them.

Courtesy of The Alley

The Alley

Cannonborough

Bowling alley with giant World Cup screens... and bowling
There’s never really been a sports game that The Alley didn’t celebrate with abandon, and the World Cup is sure to follow suit. You can watch the games on either of the two 160-inch projection screens, which are big enough to make you forget you’re watching the games at a bowling alley. This is the ideal location for lunchtime games; grab a burger or some loaded tots and a beer or cocktail, and top off your watch experience with a quick 10 frames before heading back to the office.

Courtesy of Frothy Beard Brewing Co

Frothy Beard Brewing

West Ashley

Craft beer on tap, multiple TVs, and old N64 games
It’s nowhere near as much fun to watch the World Cup without a cup of beer in your hand, and where better to cheer with a beer than an actual brewpub? The selection is fantastic, including a rotating selection of in-house drafts along with a few guest beers-- even better, though, is that you can play old N64 games on their TVs between matches, while downing a jumbo slice from Zombie Bob’s pizza. We can’t all be athletes; Frothy Beard lets you embrace that.

Courtesy of The Brick

The Brick

Mazyck-Wraggborough

Lively neighborhood tavern and sports bar
The Brick is the sports bar that rose from the ashes (literally, after the original location burned down a few years back) to bring downtown Charleston a traditional sports bar and tavern experience. They’ve done big parties for many big sporting events in the past, and the World Cup is likely to be no different. Enjoy watching inside at the bar or out on the patio, and treat yourself to some mac & cheese bites while you’re at it.

Three Lions Pub

Daniel Island

Watch the World Cup at a soccer bar... at a soccer stadium
Three Lions is the only true soccer bar in Charleston, as it’s the only bar that’s located within MUSC Health Stadium, where the Charleston Battery soccer team plays their home games. The 5,000-square-foot, English-style pub is a footballer’s dream, as it’s fully stocked with soccer memorabilia -- like signed game balls, jerseys, and pendants -- from around the world. Typically the pub is only open when matches are being played, but this year they plan to open for a few select games and the finale in July (full schedule TBD).

Kickstand Studio
Food & Drink

Charleston's New Cocktail Destination at The Dewberry Is All About the Details

Published On 12/13/2016