The Best Bars in Charleston
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
With lots of locally brewed beers and bartenders famous for their finely concocted cocktails on every corner, rooftop lounges, candlelit bistros, and deliciously divey bars, you'll never be far from a drink in Charleston.
474 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
The classic cocktail list at The Rarebit is hard to beat: Moscow mules served in gorgeous copper mugs, Manhattans with a touch of Benedictine. The food menu is composed of similarly solid throwbacks: a pork chop with mac and cheese and green...
205 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
The Thoroughbred Club is in the lobby of Charleston Place hotel, right in the middle of downtown Charleston. They serve up classic cocktails (try their gussied-up negroni) and also have a great tea service, with live music every afternoon and...
479 King St #200, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Once the hip newcomer, this craft cocktail lounge is now a King Street veteran that attracts a more mature crowd than the line-up-outside adjacent clubs catering to the college set. Locals meet here for half-price happy hour (Wednesdays feature...
10 Conroy St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Among Charleston’s two dozen thriving breweries, Revelry may have the best digs. It’s located in the peninsula’s NoMo neighborhood and sports a spacious, laid-back rooftop deck bar that’s perfect for viewing sunset over the Holy City skyline. The...
511 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
With its pressed tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and extensive cocktail menu, The Belmont could easily be mistaken for a bar in Brooklyn. But the laid-back vibe is pure Lowcountry. The Belmont is one of Charleston's first craft cocktail bars,...
251 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Cane's chef and owner Paul Yellin grew up on Barbados, and he drew on this experience while putting together this bar and restaurant: the menu is full of Caribbean dishes, and the space is decked out with palms, corrugated metal, and bamboo....
2169, 182 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
The Gin Joint opened in 2010 and was Charleston's first real dedicated craft cocktail spot. Five years later, it's still going strong with its creative drinks menu (including a "bartender's choice" option for the patron who wants a surprise) and...
106 E Hudson Ave, Folly Beach, SC 29439, USA
You may not expect to find the world's best frozen pina colada at a joint hidden behind a gas station and underneath a condo unit, but that's where to order the drink—lovingly dubbed the “Erik Estrada” and mixed with coconut milk...
700b King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Two sommeliers walk into a bar—it’s not a joke—and soon it’s the hottest spot in town to drink wine. Sure, it’s a wine shop, but the comfy, welcoming blue-leather booths beg you to pop the cork and stay awhile. Owners...
247 Congress St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Partly owned by part-time Charleston resident Bill Murray, Harold's Cabin is a nutty combination of Murray's sweetest comedic roles and Wes Anderson's cockeyed art direction. This former neighborhood corner grocery store (opened by the namesake...
1081 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
This cavernous brewpub has a wide-open kitchen, a long bar, tall communal tables, and a patio shaded by live oaks. If you can, grab a seat at the chef’s counter and watch the team spread creamy aïoli on locally made rye...
224 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
XBB, as locals call it, occupies a remodeled and brightly furnished former gas station in the Elliotborough neighborhood. Catering to its surfer clientele with Nicaraguan beer, the spot also offers a constantly changing menu of authentic Asian...
217 Huger St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
It’s easy to take kimchi beef and tempura avocado tacos for granted, now that fancy gringo taco joints are ubiquitous, but it was Taco Boy that brought the trend to Charleston in the mid-‘00s. The original location on Folly Beach stays busy with a...
970 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Come for the drinks and stay for the music at the The Royal American. This “hole-in-the-wall” bar along Morrison Drive gets you up close to hip bands while drinking a beer, a signature punch, or the house made cinnamon whiskey, and...
36-38 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
When Charleston's Blind Tiger opened in the late 1980s—long after Prohibition ended—its name, a phrase synonymous with "speakeasy," lent the Broad Street bar a delightfully naughty air. Not that the joint needs more atmosphere....
685 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
In its seeming pursuit for consideration as the Platonic ideal of a dive bar, the Rec Room ticks off many boxes: the bar sits in the grimy shadow of a highway overpass, prides itself on selling more cans of PBR than any other bar in the U.S., and...
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