My Charleston Recommendations

Charleston
Several Uber drivers have told me Charleston is “a drinking city with a history problem.” Take that as you will.

Oh, this post? This is for all the brides who are going to Charleston, South Carolina for their bachelorette party. I live in Charleston during the winter months, and I think it’s fair to say I’m madly in love with my second home. Like you might expect from your (Type A) girl, I keep a list of restaurants and bars I like, and I’ve passed this list on to who are going to The Holy City. I’ve shared this list with many an AB Beauty bride, and now it’s time to share it here.

I haven’t been everywhere in Charleston, but these are the bars and restaurants I recommend:

The Rooftop at The Vendue. Charleston has a lot of rooftop bars, but I think the one at The Vendue Hotel is the best. It’s got great cocktails, an awesome view, and two levels of rooftop-ness. It’s right on East Bay Street, near a bunch of other bars, restaurants and Waterfront Park, where you’ll enjoy plenty of photo opps with your girls.

The Vendue Rooftop
An afternoon with friends at The Vendue Rooftop. I wonder why we missed dinner that evening…

The Ordinary. Talk about a cool spot! This restaurant and bar is in an old bank. The knowledgeable servers, ambiance and perfect cocktails are what keep me going back. The Ordinary’s bar is big, so there’s space for a large group. It’s on King Street, right in the middle of downtown, so it’s a great starting point for your evening. (It opens at 5:00pm.)

The Ordinary Charleston
I mean, when’s the last time you drank rum in an old bank?

Prohibition. Another cool King Street spot with AWESOME cocktails. This place was modeled after a speakeasy. They have live music six days a week, and swing dancing lessons on Sundays. It gets pretty bumpin’ in Prohibition at night, so this could be a fun after-dinner spot with your girls.

Prohibition Charleston
Bachelorettes and speakeasies go together like primer and foundation.

82 Queen. If you can get on the patio for brunch, dooooooooooo it. They have delicious food and drinks. I love the Queen’s Salad, but people I have been with who don’t have food allergies have raved about the She Crab Soup and Southern Tomato Pie. 82 Queen is right around the corner from Lower King Street, so if you feel like eating then shopping, get yourself to this (reportedly haunted) spot.

The cute little patio at 82 Queen.

Basil. Great Thai food right downtown on King Street. I had my first spring roll here in 2017 (I know, how is that possible?). Like with any restaurant in downtown Charleston, if you are going there for dinner on a weekend, definitely make a reservation.

Basil Charleston
A solid downtown dinner choice.

Poogan’s Smokehouse. This East Bay Street restaurant is known for its barbeque, but let me tell you, the burgers are bomb too.  And the grits. And the service. If you’re looking for a casual lunch spot on East Bay (close to the Market) with great food, this is a solid choice.

I’m hungry just thinking about this place.

High Cotton. It’s a bit on the fancier side, but not stuffy. They have a great brunch (something you also need to make reservations for in Charleston) with live music. If you’re into Bloody Marys, most of the places in Charleston do them really well, and High Cotton’s Bloodies especially never disappoint.

High Cotton
You can’t go wrong with this place.

Blind Tiger Pub. Now, allow me to take you over to Broad Street. Blind Tiger was the first restaurant I ever went to in Charleston, so it’s got a special place in my heart. This would be a fun spot to go with a bachelorette, especially if you can sit on the patio in back. Some places in Charleston have what I consider weird hours–open for brunch, closed for a few hours mid-day, open again at 5:00pm–but Blind Tiger is open from 11:00am – 2:00am every day. It’s also supposedly haunted.

For extra credit, look up what “blind tiger” meant during the Prohibition.

Eli’s Table. I’ve been to Eli’s more than any other restaurant in Charleston. This is my favorite brunch spot and I take everyone who comes to visit me there. The food is delicious and consistent, and they seem incapable of making a bad drink. You’ll find fun, attentive, knowledgeable bartenders and servers at most restaurants downtown, but Eli’s excels in that arena. They have my favorite grits in Charleston, which is another reason I love this place. If it’s nice out, they’ve also got a patio out back.

Eli's Table
Everything is good here.

If you end up on Sullivan’s Island, you have to go to Home Team and get a Gamechanger. But just one! Those things will knock you on your ass, for real. Home Team is a casual BBQ place near the beach. It feels a little Nashville-ish, maybe because it’s always fun and always busy.

They don’t call it “The Gamechanger” for nothing! One too many will make it a day you’ll never remember.

Find yourself on Isle of Palms? The Windjammer is your jam. It’s quieter off season, but the perfect bachelorette spot during the warmer months (aka most of the year). If you’re looking for a low key brunch in IOP–maybe if you are staying there and are feeling a little hungover–I recommend The Refuge. They have great food and coffee, and my favorite Avocado & Eggs (with grits, of course.)

If you’re looking for a beach bar, look no further.

Want to go out in Mt. Pleasant? Shem Creek is the way to go. There are a bunch of restaurants in this pretty little subsection of Mt. Pleasant, where you might see dolphins if you are lucky. If you are looking for fun, waterfront bars, check out Red’s and Saltwater Cowboys.

Red's Shem Creek
Livin’ that Shem Creek life.

If you’re looking for something fun and different to do, try the Haunted Pub Crawl from Nightly Spirits. And if you catch yourself in The Holy City on the second Sunday of any month, 2nd Sunday is a cool, Charleston-y thing to do.

Also, I’d strongly recommend downloading the BarGlance app for your trip. It allows you to browse information for some of the most popular bars in the Charleston area, and they do a livestream video feed of those bars so you can see if a place is packed slow, poppin’–whatever.

Hopefully this post is helpful to anyone planning a bachelorette (or a trip in general) to Charleston. If you have questions, please feel free to comment.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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