Who doesn’t love a great cocktail? I’m a sucker for a mixed drink. Especially when a long work week was involved. Charleston, SC has some of THE BEST establishments where you can find one of a kind cocktails featuring unique ingredients. I’m doing a round-up today of our 5 top favorite bars in downtown Charleston, SC. These are our go-to haunts that are a MUST when we make a trip down south. It’s really hard for me to pick one as our absolute favorite, so instead, I’m giving you five and the reason(s) why it made the list!
The Bar at Husk | Next door to Husk Restaurant at 72 Queen St.
If I had to name one of the bars in Charleston as my husband Mike’s favorite, it would have to be Husk Bar. Whenever we are planning a trip to Charleston, we HAVE to stop at their bar almost immediately upon arrival.
The old, renovated, brick building is architecture eye candy for me. I love all the textures of the space. The rough-hewn wood beams, exposed brick, leather seating, and cozy vibe are my jam. We try to grab a spot at the bar, but if it’s packed, we head for their second-floor lounge area.
The bartenders are true mixologists. You can find a traditional cocktail from a
For a snack, make sure to get some of the salty, cured, ham. They’ll thinly shave it off the leg right at the bar for you! Their wings are also to die for and will have you licking your fingers for the rest of the night. The menu changes based on what is in season but you really can’t go wrong with any of it!
The Gin Joint | 182 East Bay Street
If you twisted my arm and I HAD to choose a favorite bar in Charleston, I would have to say The Gin Joint! It’s the bar that I grab Mike’s hand and happily lead him too next after Husk!
This small, little, modern bar is right up my alley. Depending on when you get there, be prepared to wait. If we are lucky enough, we try to grab one of the few seats at the bar. One long community table takes up most of the floor space. They also have a handful of booths and two tops, and a few tables outside on the front patio.
I’m a fan of gin and the menu at The Gin Joint is one of my absolute faves! The Gin Joint sources locally when possible. The menu changes with the seasons keeping it fresh and exciting for guests. They have a well-curated list of drinks but can mix up pretty much any classic cocktail your heart desires.
My absolute favorite part of their menu, though, is their unique take on Bartender’s choice. You choose between any 2 words from a list of 15. Words like herbal, tart, refreshing, and smoky, and the bartender will mix up the perfect cocktail to suit your mood. I love this option! I almost always get something I’d never pick on my own and I’ve NEVER been disappointed!
The bartenders then get to work hand-chiseling the perfect ice cube for your specific drink. Yes, they take their ice cubes seriously here when mixing up a delicious cocktail.
I also recommend grabbing one of their small plates and snacks to accompany your
The Vendue | Rooftop Bar at the Vendue Inn, 19 Vendue Range St.
An absolute MUST do is the Vendue Rooftop Bar at the Vendue Inn. Recently remodeled, the hotel has a boutique feel to it and is the only hotel dedicated to the arts. They have on display over 300 original pieces for guests to enjoy.
There is a separate elevator in the hotel for guests visiting the bar that takes you straight to the roof. Again, depending on when you go, you may have to wait for the elevator, but the wait is worth it.
This is one of THE BEST spots to come and relax on a warm summer night. The view of the city is incredible! My favorite time to go is early evening. I like to get there while it’s still light out for the fantastic views and to capture some pictures of the city. It’s also the perfect spot to be just before dusk to watch the
The Belmont | 511 King St.
My husband and I discovered this bar one night after a fantastic dinner at FIG. We had struck up conversations with two others eating at the bar with us. We decided to continue the party with some after-dinner drinks. The guy with us recommended The Belmont and off we went!
The bar is located on upper King and is further down the street then Mike and
The Belmont is in good company with neighbors like The Grocery and The
Bin 152 | 152 King St
At the other end of King, you’ll find Bin 152. This is a cool little wine bar conveniently close to a hotel Mike and I like to stay at.
On our last visit to Charleston, Mike and I were doing some shopping on Saturday afternoon. We were looking for a spot to grab a drink before getting ready for dinner. We stumbled upon this little wine bar with few people inside and decided to pop in.
The space was bright and rustic looking with a lot of wood, art, and some antiques. We parked ourselves at the bar and quickly made friends with the owner and a couple of other guys working. They were all super knowledgeable and friendly, guiding us through the 40 different wines they offered by the glass.
We both landed on a red. Mike prefers drier, more bold reds while I tend to like something more minerally and earthy. I also love a good meat and cheese board. We took some of their recommendations and created a board to snack on with our wine.
OMG, I was in heaven! They served a warm, french baguette with the most deliciously soft, spreadable white cheese. I think I could have stayed here all night! BIN 152 has quickly become one of our favorite bars in Charleston and I can’t wait to stop back for another pre-dinner snack!
If you’re a lover of great food and drinks and looking to get away, I hope my list of our top 5 favorite bars in Charleston helps you in your planning! We absolutely LOVE this city and are frequently dreaming about the food and drinks from our previous trips!
I would love to hear if you’ve tried any of the above bars on your visit. Let us know what your recommendations are for our next trip to the city!