Best bars and lounges in Charleston
One of Charleston’s best-known cocktail bars, The Gin Joint is set off of East Bay Street through a courtyard. The intimate space is cosy but fills up fast, so get there early. Expect fresh, well-balanced drinks made by expert staff.
If you don’t know what you want, try out their system by choosing two adjectives to describe the type of drinks you like best.
Known for their jazz and funk music sets up to five nights per week, The Commodore is among the best of Charleston’s music and bar scenes. The intimate space hasn’t changed since the 80s and holds a stage, a dance floor and plenty of booths and seating for the wallflowers.
Whether you order a cocktail or beer at this dive, it’s sure to be good.
Among Charleston’s most beloved dive bars, The Griffon stands out with dollar bills stapled to the walls, columns and ceiling. The English pub near the Waterfront has no shortage of beer and a large menu to sop up any alcohol you may need help with.
The bar hosts dance nights and DJ sets, but the real reason to go is the laid-back atmosphere and the beer specials. They’re also serving tap wine and creative cocktails in the stylishly minimal space.
A relatively new lounge on King Street, this sleek, popular place is where you go to be seen. Space is limited both inside and on the patio, so reserve a table ahead of time if you do not want to wait at the door.
Though the wine cocktails are well crafted, enophiles can appreciate “The Blind.” This challenges patrons to test their skills. If you can identify the wine you were served, it’s on the house.
Nestled between the antique shops of King Street, Bin 152 is a wonderful hole-in-the-wall wine bar. Their selection of wines by the glass or bottle is unparalleled and means there is something for everyone here.
The Royal American is like an updated Recreation Room, a Charleston classic, but without the massive quantities of PBR. Expect a wide selection of whiskey, canned beer and live music most nights. The dive’s quirky interior isn’t well-worn yet, but it is comfortable, and who doesn’t want to sit in a chair fashioned from a whiskey barrel?