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Where to Drink in Charleston Right Now

Cool drinks go down easy in steamy Charleston. Madeira wine was the beverage of choice here during colonial times, and today, Charleston’s eclectic bar scene still brims with cosmopolitan glamor: over two dozen local craft breweries are well represented on taps, while bottles on bar walls often showcase the best of Kentucky or Oaxaca. The libations are right on par with the city’s stellar cuisine scene, and these 9 spots are among the best places to sip on a delicious drink.

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Stratton Lawrence
9 Restaurants
Updated June 27, 2022
Restaurants:The Darling Oyster Bar, Prohibition, Eleve Restaurant & Rooftop
Price Range:$$ - $$
Cuisines:Seafood, American, European
Neighborhoods:Downtown Charleston
A photo of The Darling Oyster Bar restaurant

The Darling Oyster Bar

$$$$
Seafood
Downtown Charleston
4.7
2786 reviews

The white tile and exposed brick at this King Street landmark immediately convey elegance. That’s part of why many passersby do a double take, then find themselves seated on a mint green barstool, happily chasing raw oysters with an old fashioned. The street-facing raw bar lures you in, and over-the-top indulgences like a bloody mary, festooned with a lobster claw, crab leg, and cocktail shrimp (with a hushpuppy garnish) keep you comfortably seated.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Prohibition restaurant

Prohibition

$$$$
American
Downtown Charleston
4.6
2091 reviews

Nearing a decade on King Street, this loosely Roaring Twenties-themed hotspot now feels like a stalwart of the city’s bar scene. It’s a casual place to hang for happy hour or dinner, but by late evening on weekends, a full-on club atmosphere takes over. Whiskey is the main event at the bar—choose from over 200 bottles that include Scotch and Irish whiskey, plus plenty of bourbon. Signature cocktails make good use of the extensive collection, looking to classic embellishments such as egg white, bitters and thyme. Wine and beer lists are just long enough not to feel overwhelming, covering a wide range of tastes with minimal fluff.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Eleve Restaurant & Rooftop restaurant

Eleve Restaurant & Rooftop

$$$$
European
Downtown Charleston
4.4
1103 reviews

Although the Wine Bar on the ground floor of the Grand Bohemian Hotel may be one of Charleston’s best value secrets—oenophiles can select from what may be the city’s largest by-the-glass selection—it’s the hotel’s rooftop bar, Eleve, that draws weekend crowds. Bold, modern colors and décor match the hotel’s art-forward vibe. Pair the contemporary digs with views of the historic Market area and a fruity signature cocktail.


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A photo of Stars Restaurant - Rooftop & Grill Room restaurant

Stars Restaurant - Rooftop & Grill Room

$$$$
American
Downtown Charleston
4.1
2139 reviews

At sunset and on weekend nights, the laid-back rooftop bar at Stars restaurant is in high demand. The contrast of a striking wood bar and wicker furniture embellish the view, which overlooks bustling King Street. A dozen wines are available by the glass, but it’s the signature cocktails, such as a frozen negroni and a three-rum punch, that shine the brightest. The restaurant downstairs helped forge the trend of open-flame cooking in Charleston—plan on dinner, and enjoy the rooftop as an excellent pre- and post-dinner hangout.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Husk - Charleston restaurant

Husk - Charleston

$$$$
American
Downtown Charleston
4.6
14043 reviews

Husk jumped to the top of most travelers’s itineraries almost immediately when it opened in 2010, courtesy of its trailblazing approach to Southern food. Given the difficulty of getting a table inside, locals quickly embraced the freestanding bar in an adjacent carriage house. This is the place to sample one of the city’s best bourbon selections while indulging in country ham or a decadent cheeseburger. Specialty cocktails vary, much like the seasonal dining menu, and many pay homage to the Lowcountry or the South. Behind the attractive ground-floor bar, a staircase leads to table and lounge seating on the second floor. In 2022, Husk opened up the restaurant’s full menu to walk-in bar patrons, meaning you can indulge in the daily changing menu without planning weeks in advance.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Maya restaurant

Maya

$$$$
Mexican
Downtown Charleston
4.7
350 reviews

From King Street, enter the dining room at this buzzy modern Mexican restaurant and keep walking through a narrow hallway until you’re out back. Here, you’ll find one of the city’s most idyllic garden patios, where mezcal enthusiasts flock for smoky cocktails and perfectly balanced margaritas. Choose from a seat at the comfortable bar, covered from the elements and surrounded by greenery, or relax in the open-air courtyard, where a velvet sofa hangs, inviting you to sprawl out and find some tranquilo.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Brasserie la Banque restaurant

Brasserie la Banque

$$$$
French
Downtown Charleston
4.6
433 reviews

There’s no secret password required to slip into this sleek basement lounge—a rare architectural feature in low-lying Charleston. It operates like an additional dining area for Brasserie de Banque upstairs. Order the steak frites or one of several seafood entrees worthy of a special occasion, though Bar Vaute is also a cool evening escape from the summer heat. The classic cocktails are expertly presented, highlighted by an “Old Fashioned, Your Way” selection that pairs a choice of spirits (whiskey, rum, tequila) with a sultry black walnut, almond, and hazelnut mixer. It’s also an ideal spot for non-drinkers, with several decadent spirit-free cocktails on the regular menu.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Bourbon n Bubbles restaurant

Bourbon n Bubbles

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown Charleston
3.9
928 reviews

For couples who don’t see eye to eye on what defines the perfect drink, this creative King Street spot strikes the perfect compromise. The bar’s wall of dark liquor features one of the city’s most extensive bourbon selections. Order hard-to-find whiskeys by one or two-ounce pours—or try a flight. In a separate room, where bottles reach the over-$1000 mark, Champagne takes center stage. Rest assured there are plenty of affordable by-the-pour options. And if you’re feeling indecisive, there’s a solution—the Charleston 75 cocktail mixes bourbon, elderflower liqueur, and sparkling rosé.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Kiki & Rye restaurant

Kiki & Rye

$$$$
American
Mount Pleasant
4.4
448 reviews

This Mount Pleasant spot, just off of I-526 near the Belle Hall subdivision, is a rustic-chic gem. The wood-fired oven sets a high culinary standard that supports the lively bar scene, brought to life by funk, bluegrass, and jazz bands on Sunday afternoons and occasional Thursday evenings. A lengthy cocktail menu leans toward warm weather refreshments, from a spicy margarita to a Peruvian pisco sour livened up with pineapple.


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