Élevé

Ansonborough

Élevé looks like it belongs in an Alice in Wonderland fever dream instead of in the middle of Downtown Charleston, but the art deco-look of the rooftop bar makes for a fun and unique ambiance not found elsewhere in the Holy City. The menu is pretty upscale -- though not terribly pricey, despite its location in the Grand Bohemian Hotel -- and it offers a healthy list of wine and specialty cocktails. It's a great spot for happy hour with friends or coworkers. Plus, being in a hotel, there's always the option to grab a room for the night (if you can afford it).

The Pavilion Bar

French Quarter

This rooftop bar at the Market Street Pavilion hotel offers some gorgeous views of both the Charleston harbor and Market St. With the infinity pool in the middle of the floor, tables setup with illuminated umbrellas, and doormen with top hats, this is definitely a bar worth getting dressed up for. Be sure to get there early to score a much desired table, but stay until after the sun goes down for the real show when the hotel puts plexiglass over the pool to create one of the coolest dance floors you've ever seen (!!).

Stars

Stars

King St Historic District

Craft cocktails by starlight. What could be better? This place is particularly great for groups, as it has a number of large tables and couches set up lounge-style outside on the rooftop bar. It's an extremely popular spot in town, so make sure to get there early -- otherwise you'll be waiting for a long while just to get in (and then again for your drinks). Stars' frozen Bellinis are hard to beat, so you can imagine your frustration if you're waiting f.o.r.e.v.e.r. just to get one.

The Rooftop at Vendue

The Rooftop at Vendue

French Quarter

The Vendue Hotel markets itself as "Charleston’s Art Hotel," so everything from the tile floors to the artwork on the wall is impeccably decorated. The rooftop was remodeled a couple of years ago, now offering views of the French Quarter and the Charleston harbor. There's also some pretty tasty specialty cocktails with fabulous names (lookin' at you, Takes Two to Mango).

Snapper Jacks

Folly Beach

When you're at the beach and want to turn up, Snapper Jacks is definitely the place to do it, as the oceanic-themed rooftop is typically hopping with live music and loads of fun. Keep it simple with one of the frozen cocktails (think: the Snappers Colada made with Captain Morgan, strawberry moonshine, peach, mango, pineapple, and a splash of lemon) or get rowdy with some friends and order one of the fish bowls, a giant mixed drink made to share.

Burwells

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

French Quarter

The only thing better than the steaks at Burwell's is the rooftop bar overlooking the Charleston harbor. It's a great place to enjoy some appetizers or have a few drinks while waiting for dinner. This bar takes some serious pride in its cocktail list, with each tasting better than the last. If you're looking for one to get you through a warm summer night, the Blueberry Mint Smash (Reyka vodka, ginger liqueur, lemon, freshly smashed blueberries, mint) is delightfully refreshing -- especially with that view.

Red's Ice House

Red's Ice House

Shem Creek

This place is one of those guilty pleasure bars where you can wear jean shorts unashamedly and eat your weight in fried seafood. Your best bet is to order a bucket of beers, climb up the stairs to the "crow’s nest" bar, and watch the boats go by on Shem Creek as country music is blasted at full volume. This is one of the more popular spots out on the creek, so, like many of these places, be sure to arrive early to avoid having to wait.

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

Harleston Village

Charleston's newest rooftop bar offers stunning views of the sunset over the city and some of the best bar snacks of any local rooftop stop. The grilled oysters, hushpuppies (served with house pimento cheese), and crispy fried-chicken skins are undoubted faves to go along with a number of wines and beers. And let's not forget the handcrafted cocktails "made from recipes passed down over centuries."

Aqua Terrace Roof-Top Bar

Aqua Terrace Roof-Top Bar

Harleston Village

This hidden gem is located on top of the Marriott on Lockwood. The rooftop bar was recently renovated with all new furniture and fire pits, so it's naturally become a hip spot to enjoy a nice cocktail with some friends. Stop by, take a seat (if you can find one), and order one!

The Cocktail Club

King St Historic District

Cocktail Club, aka bar-where-you're-likely-to-run-into-a-Southern-Charm-cast-member, is pretty well known for the fantastic cocktails and upscale vibe (note: it takes "upscale" very seriously, as it's one of the only bars where the dress code is strictly enforced). Less well known, however, is the rooftop deck where you can order a few cigars to smoke under a clear Charleston sky. While the interior of the restaurant is very dark, the rooftop is well lit and a great place to escape if it gets a little loud inside (or if T-Rav shows up and starts a ruckus).

The Boathouse at Breach Inlet

The Boathouse at Breach Inlet

Isle of Palms

Located between Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, the Boathouse at Breach Inlet offers fresh and tasty seafood and some breathtaking views overlooking the marsh and the Cooper River Bridge. You can order beer, wine by the glass, or cocktails on the roof before dinner, or just get a seat and enjoy the nice weather. Of course, if you're one of those people with a boat, feel free to park it at the dock and head to the Crow’s Nest for one of the best sunset views in all of Charleston.

Henry's Bar & Restaurant

French Quarter

If there's such a thing as a divey rooftop bar, Henry’s is it. It’s fun for when you want to enjoy the weather and have a few drinks with friends, but it does have some drawbacks: the interior of the restaurant is aged, the food is nothing to write home about, and the service is sometimes lackluster. But here's the truth: the rooftop patio is always a fun time. It's split into two different patios, so you get a variety Market St views as you sip one of the cocktails from the whiskey bar. On a weekend night, sneak over to NV, the nightclub attached to Henry's on the first level of the rooftop, and dance the night away.

Courtesy of The Kessler Collection
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1. Élevé 55 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401

Élevé looks like it belongs in an Alice in Wonderland fever dream instead of in the middle of downtown Charleston, but the art deco look of the rooftop bar makes for a fun and unique ambiance not found elsewhere in the Holy City. The menu is pretty upscale -- though not terribly pricey, despite its location in the Grand Bohemian Hotel -- and it offers a healthy list of wine and specialty cocktails. It's a great spot for happy hour with friends or coworkers. Plus, being in a hotel, there's always the option to grab a room for the night!

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2. Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar 225 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

This rooftop bar at the Market Street Pavilion hotel offers some gorgeous views of both the Charleston harbor and Market Street. With the infinity pool in the middle of the floor, tables set up with illuminated umbrellas, and doormen with top hats, this is definitely a bar worth getting dressed up for. Be sure to get there early to score a much desired table, but stay until after the sun goes down for the real show when the hotel puts plexiglass over the pool to create one of the coolest dancefloors you’ve ever seen.

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3. Stars Rooftop 495 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Craft cocktails by starlight. What could be better? This place, located in King Street Historic District, is particularly great for groups, as it has a number of large tables and couches set up lounge-style outside on the rooftop bar. It’s an extremely popular spot in town, so make sure to get there early so you can be on the only rooftop bar to have 360-degree views of the city. The place is even open in the winter, equipped with plenty of space heaters for maximum comfort.

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4. The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue 19 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401

The Vendue Hotel markets itself as "Charleston’s Art Hotel," so everything from the tile floors to the artwork on the wall is impeccably decorated. The rooftop was remodeled a couple of years ago, now offering views of the French Quarter and the Charleston harbor. It's the perfect place to sip a specialty cocktail and watch the sun go down.

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5. Snapper Jacks 10 Center St, Folly Beach, SC 29439

Snapper Jacks at Folly Beach has an oceanic-themed rooftop that's typically hopping with live music and loads of fun. Keep it simple with one of the frozen cocktails or get rowdy with some friends and order one of the fish bowls, a giant mixed drink made to share. If you're hungry, Snapper Jack's serves plenty of fresh seafood, from raw oysters to succulent crab legs.

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6. Burwell's Stone Fire Grill 14 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401

Burwell’s Stonefire Grill is a modern steakhouse that offers dishes that appeal to a more creative palate, such as deviled eggs that look more like artwork than they do food. The space itself is contemporary, and the rooftop bar is one of the best in the city with unique, artfully crafted cocktails and an extensive wine selection. For an excellent steak experience, be sure to try the “Rock Candy” and cook your own meat on a 700-degree hot stone.

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7. Red's Ice House 98 Church St, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Red's Ice House in Shem Creek is one of those guilty pleasure bars where you can wear jean shorts unashamedly and eat your weight in fried seafood. Your best bet is to order a bucket of beers, climb up the stairs to the "crow’s nest" bar, and watch the boats go by on Shem Creek as country music is blasted at full volume. This is one of the more popular spots out on the creek, so, like many of these places, be sure to arrive early to avoid having to wait.

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8. The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits 75 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401

This Harleston Village rooftop bar offers stunning views of the sunset over the city and some of the best bar snacks of any local rooftop stop. The relaxed and casual atmosphere of this restaurant attracts locals as well as tourists staying at the attached hotel for sunset drinks. There are great local wine and beer selections in addition to handcrafted cocktails updated from vintage recipes passed down over generations. Fresh, local seafood anchors the menu of Southern classics, where the shrimp and grits are as widely praised as the signature burger (served with truffle frites).

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9. Aqua Terrace Roof-Top Bar 170 Lockwood Blvd, Charleston, SC 29403

This hidden gem is located on top of the Marriott on Lockwood, offering river views on their spacious outdoor patio. Heat lamps and fire pits keep things cozy once the sun goes down, and this place gets so busy that even the ample furniture doesn't provide enough seating. You won't mind mingling with the clientele though, trust us. Great drink and food menus have you covered with everything from beer and wings to wine and cheese boards.

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10. The Cocktail Club 479 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Blending speakeasy ambience with contemporary trendy aesthetic (think wooden rafters, exposed brick walls, sleek black leather furnishings and industrial chandeliers overhead), The Cocktail Club is a upscale hotspot for those looking to imbibe on craft cocktails. There's an emphasis on making things from scratch here, with several drinks on the mixology-inspired menu featuring house-made infusions with market-driven ingredients (pro tip: you can't go wrong with the house Old Fashioned or the signature Double Standard). Combined with the rooftop terrace and menu of New American light fare, it's an ideal locale for intimate dates and group outings alike (as an added bonus, the bar also serves craft cocktails by the punch bowl).

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11. The Boathouse at Breach Inlet 101 Palm Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

Located between Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms, the Boathouse at Breach Inlet offers fresh and tasty seafood with some breathtaking views overlooking the marsh and the Cooper River Bridge. A cozy neighborhood joint, the Boathouse has survived almost 20 years worth of hurricanes and tourist frenzies to bring you the best in Lowcountry seafood. You can dine in the bright and airy dining room, on the waterfront patio, or up on the roof where the best views are to be had. Beer, wine, and specialty cocktails with local liquors and house-made mixers are also available.

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12. Henry's Bar and Restaurant 54 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401-2003

If there's such a thing as a divey rooftop bar, Henry’s in the French Quarter is it. It’s fun for when you want to enjoy the weather and have a few drinks with friends in a casual, relaxed setting. It's split into two different patios, so you get a variety Market St views as you sip one of the cocktails from the whiskey bar. On a weekend night, sneak over to NV, the nightclub attached to Henry's on the first level of the rooftop, and dance the night away.

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