Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in Charleston

Stephanie Burt Published On 02/23/2016 Published On 02/23/2016
Mood lighting at Indaco wine bar
Courtesy of Indaco

Wine bars might not be what comes to mind when one initially thinks of Charleston. Shrimp and grits or BBQ? Sure, we’ve got that covered. Dive bars? Yes, absolutely. But if you’re looking to sit back in a cozier setting, and even learn a little bit from the knowledgeable oenophiles who fill out the scene, then take a look at some of the best wine bars in Charleston. After all, they’re pretty deserving of some high praise… and our business.

Bin 152

Bin 152

French Quarter

If you're looking for a wine bar recommendation, chances are that locals will point you to Bin 152. We love the decor, the wine list (130 selections), and yes, the cheese selection. Granted, nothing is value priced here -- especially the wine and cheese -- but if you are looking to truly expand your palate, this is a great classroom in which to do so.

O'Hara & Flynn

O’Hara & Flynn Wine Bar

Ansonborough

Located just steps from the Belmond Charleston Place, this little nook looks like a library, but the shelves are filled with wine. Cozy, casual, and built for conversation, O'Hara & Flynn houses an interesting mix of tourists and locals. On weekends, you’re apt to find more locals because it's when they host live jazz, which makes this place even more charming.

Avondale Wine & Cheese

Avondale

As adorable as the neighborhood in which it sits, Avondale Wine & Cheese has a dash of funk just like its ‘hood with hand-painted accents and a very local crowd. Weekend antipasto specials are fun, and there is a focus on local partners for the bites -- from Swank Desserts to Charleston Cheese House. Plus, it’s always a great place to start a Thursday Avondale Bar Crawl with their $5 tastings. 

The Wine Bar

The Wine Bar

Mount Pleasant

In the suburban outpost of Belle Hall Shopping Center, The Wine Bar is the perfect place to stop after shopping. Just a warning: your visit may last well into the evening because the wine list is 100 strong. Of course, there are the cheese and snacks offerings, but they have something that is unique -- chocolate charcuterie. OK, it’s not really charcuterie, but a selection of six or 12 choices from a bark, bon bon, and chocolate cordial menu, all displayed for your pairing pleasure. Suddenly shopping got so much sweeter.

Accent on Wine

Accent on Wine

Park Circle (& other locations)

Started by and staffed with some of the former top-notch Woodlands Resort & Inn staff (now shuttered), Accent on Wine's true appeal comes with the knowledge of the employees. All of the retail wines are available by the glass, which makes picking a pairing for dinner foolproof... and fun! The staff loves to point you in the right direction for a pour that's just what you were looking for without exactly knowing it.

Stems & Skins

Stems & Skins 

Park Circle

Brand new and steps away from Accent on Wine in North Charleston is Stems & Skins. The bar has some Charleston F&B heavy hitters from Husk Restaurant and Bull Street Gourmet. What this means is excellent wine knowledge and good bite pairings. And yes, some personality... like spinning vinyl behind the bar. That’s so Park Circle.

Valerie Nelson/Elliotborough Mini Bar

Elliotborough Mini Bar

Elliotborough

This spot is tucked deep into a side street but just a short walk from bustling Upper King St. What you will gain from leaving those crowds is a calm respite that is still fun without needing the velvet ropes or loud music. And if Sommelier Kristen Bland is behind the bar, she will often enthusiastically offer you some sips and samples. It’s kind of like the best version of a home party, every night.

Ardoa Wine Bar

Ardoa Wine Bar

Mount Pleasant

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Elliotborough is Ardoa, located in Mt. P’s Seaside Farms. The space is full of the gleaming modernity of an interactive self-serve wine dispenser. That’s right, folks; with the push of a button, you can taste and sample a wide variety of wine, where you decide the depth of pour. Dispense with caution, though, because the bill (and your alcohol level) can elevate quickly. 

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Stephanie Burt is a contributor for Thrillist and other publications who enjoys a rich red wine with legs, any kind of bubbles, and a crisp white that tastes of limestone. Find her random musings and food discussions at @beehivesteph, or listen to her weekly podcast, The Southern Fork.

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1. Bin 152 152 King St, Charleston, SC 29401 (North Charleston)

Get your wine and cheese on. King Street's Bin 152 is a chill, rustic wine bar in the heart of Downtown Charleston. This cozy spot offers over 30 types of wine by the glass, and many more by the bottle-- over 140 from American, French, Spanish, and Italian producers. Bonus points for this extensive cheese and charcuterie options, as well: they've got over 40 kinds of fromage on dock, plus freshly baked bread.

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2. O'Hara and Flynn 225 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401 (North Charleston)

O'Hara & Flynn Wine Bar is a friendly, neighborhood spot in the heart of Charleston's Historic District. Part charming wine bar and bistro, part quaint local liquor shop, O'Hara & Flynn's diverse menu, spanning small plates and entrees, domestic and international producers, has something for everyone. You'll feel welcome in this bright, airy space and maybe even catch a show (O'Hara & Flynn hosts live local music regularly).

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3. Avondale Wine & Cheese 813 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

This quaint West Ashley wine bar and grocery shop offers a curated selection of vino, fromage, and comestibles. A retail shop and wine bar, Avondale Wine & Cheese hosts regularly tastings in store and the pleasant and friendly staff will ensure you go home with a bottle you'll love. Offering custom charcuterie boards and a wide variety of gift items, Avondale Wine & Cheese is a great place for Charleston foodies to stock up on gourmet goods.

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4. The Wine Bar 664 Long Point Rd Unit G, Mt. Pleasant, SC (Mount Pleasant)

The Wine Bar in Mount Pleasant is one of Charleston's best spots to cozy up with a glass (or bottle!) of vino. Offering a wide selection of wine by the glass (over 100 for those keeping count), The Wine Bar lives up to its name. The bar also serves craft beer on draft, plus cheese and charcuterie, chocolate, and hosts a nightly happy hour from 4-7pm.

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5. Accent on Wine 1056 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 (North Charleston)

Accent on Wine in Charleston's Park Circle is a cute neighborhood wine bar. Popular with locals and visitors alike, the approachable menu features something for every kind of wine drinker-- Accent's menu hosts a wide variety of beverages, divided into categories of adventurous, fruity, bubbly, dry, or full bodied selections. They've also got a nice array of craft beer on draft, plus artisanal cheese, charcuterie and pate.

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6. Stems and Skins 1070 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 (North Charleston)

This North Charleston spot is known for their varied selection of vino, craft cocktails, and Mediterranean inspired small plates. Named after the elements that give wine its flavor and texture, rest assured the selections here are top notch-- most wines in store are from global small-batch producers. The atmosphere at Stems & Skins earns bonus points for being upscale but not stuffy.

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7. Elliotborough Mini Bar 18 Percy St, Charleston, SC 29403 (North Charleston)

The Elliotborough Mini Bar is a hipster friendly enclave in the heart of Charleston, serving up Insta-worthy small plates and cocktails in a chic, relaxed speakeasy environment. Stop in for happy hour deals on their curated selection of fine wines and brews (you'll get a draft for $2.50 and a house wine for $5). This spot also hosts regular community events, live music, and open mic nights.

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8. Ardoa Wine Bar 1960 Riviera Dr, Ste D, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 (Mount Pleasant)

This cozy Mount Pleasant wine bar's got everything you need in terms of affordable, approachable fine wine and ale. Pick your poison from the self-service wine dispensers on tap and get comfortable in a velvet booth. This spot's dark, chic bistro atmosphere makes it a solid choice for a romantic date night or late night drinking with friends.

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