The Best Bars in Charleston
Collected by Angela Fleury, AFAR Local Expert
In Charleston, you can drink from the crack of happy hour until the wee hours. Whether you’re in the mood for elaborate cocktails, fine wine, or craft brews, you’ll find bars and lounges aplenty, many of which also offer delicious snacks to pair with your drinks. Settle in, take a sip, and let the gentle pace of tradition engulf you.
152 King St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Bin 152 is a sweet, cozy spot right in the middle of King Street's cluster of antique shops. Fittingly, the wine bar also serves as a market and art gallery. Convivial, quiet, and candle-lit, it's the perfect spot to catch up with a friend over a...
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....
453 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
This spot's playfully retro-kitch interior (wood-paneled walls, taxidermied animals) shouldn't disguise the fact that it takes its beer program quite seriously: Closed for Business serves dozens of draft beers and has new ones coming in all the...
547 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Prohibition serves great classic cocktails, like a Blood and Sand and a solid mint julep. The place also serves fancy comfort food (chorizo- and mushroom-studded mac and cheese, pork chop with a ginger-peach glaze), hosts live music and swing...
1070 E Montague Ave #B, North Charleston, SC 29405, USA
Just a short trip away from downtown Charleston, Stems & Skins is one of the area's best wine bars. The Park Circle spot focuses on natural wines, which means the menu sees frequent changes; it includes vermouths and sherries as well. Classic...
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,...
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...
18 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Tucked away on Vendue, The Griffon has been open since 1995 but feels like it's been around way longer than that. The walls are coated in dollar bills, and it serves classic bar fare like wings, fish and chips, and fried pickles. The beer menu has...
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...
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 dining on pub...
39F John Street, Hutson Alley, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
This gorgeous, high-ceilinged lounge serves small plates and cocktails with a Cuban twist. You can buy cigars at the bar and take in live Latin jazz on certain nights. The spot also pays homage to Ernest Hemingway, with drinks named for his books...
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