Eat & Drink Your Way Through Charleston

Ask anyone who has traveled around the South what their favorite city is and chances are the answer will be Charleston. Why? Charleston has the perfect mix of history, lively culture and Southern charm that has permeated the hospitality industry and resulted in an eclectic and welcoming restaurant and bar scene. The breadth of food and drink offerings has put Charleston on the map as a foodie destination - one that you absolutely cannot miss!
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Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

A trip to Charleston isn't complete until you make a stop at Hominy Grill and stuff your face with their incredible southern standards. What sets Hominy apart though is that it also puts a spin on classic recipes to give their menu a fresh, modern edge. I'm still dreaming about their farro salad with shredded brussel sprouts, pumpkin seeds, feta and an apple cider vinaigrette over grilled butternut squash medallions.

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Market Pavilion Hotel

225 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401

This swanky hotel is one of my favorite places to grab a fancy cocktail, a seat in one of the rooftop corners and watch as the sun sets over Charleston. It's so peaceful! Given that it's a hotel bar, this is also a wonderful place to come if you are traveling alone, no one will bat an eye and there's some serious people watching to be had.

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Stars Restaurant - Rooftop & Grill Room

495 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 (Formerly Stars Restaurant - Grill Room & Rooftop Bar)

While their dinner menu is full of hearty dishes and plates made for sharing, they really excel in their all you can eat brunch that features shrimp and grits and fried chicken benedict. And mimosas are only $3 each! The Stars rooftop is not be missed any day of the week and it's location on King Street means it's in the heart of the Charleston nightlife scene.

The Gin Joint

182 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

Probably my favorite speakeasy style bar in Charleston. It's got a cozy yet mysterious vibe in part due to the dim lighting and abundance of nooks and crannies that you can slide into for anonymity. Happy Hour features generously poured classic cocktails for $5. Don't miss out on trying a Bartender's Choice - simply select two words from list provided and the bartender will whip up a libation specifically for you.

FIG

232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

FIG consistently tops the list of best restaurants in Charleston. They're one of the original farm-to-table establishments in the city and they place emphasis on serving fresh, local ingredients in every dish. Helpful Tip: If you don't have a reservation and want to avoid a lengthy wait, grab a seat at the bar where they also serve the full menu.

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Husk Restaurant

76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

I'm a huge proponent of coming to HUSK solely for the bar and it's menu of strong classic cocktails. One of the best Old Fashioneds of my life came from HUSK. The bar is quite small (it's in a 1700's carriage house) so it's not a great spot for groups, but it is perfect for a memorable date night as it's got a dark, intimate vibe.

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Blossom

171 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401

For whatever reason, Blossom always seems to have seating available, even in peak dining times when other nearby establishments have hours-long waits. Which is actually perfect! It means you can get in here pretty much whenever you want for a fine dining experience. If the weather is nice, ask to be seated outside and don't pass up the she crab soup!

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Lost Dog Cafe

106 W Huron Ave, Folly Beach, SC 29439

The breezy beach atmosphere of this restaurant will draw you in, the huge portions and spot-on decor will keep you here. Just a short drive from downtown Charleston, on Folly Island, Lost Dog feels like it's a world away and provides great low cost foodie goodness.

Closed For Business

453 King St, Charleston, SC 29403-6232

Once you figure out that this little bar is in fact, open for business, don't miss a chance to pop in for a drink. It's got a low key vibe, funky decor that will keep you captivated for hours and a huge selection of beer on tap, many of them local brews.

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Cypress - A Lowcountry Grille -- CLOSED

167 E Bay St Ste 200, Charleston, SC 29401

For a high-end meal that won't break the bank, Cypress is your best bet. The decor though is a little bit confusing with lots of neon lights, white linens and a giant floor to ceiling wine cellar. Pimento cheese and kale gnocchi here are spectacular.

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Recovery Room Tavern

685 King St, Charleston, SC, United States

When you tire of the Old Town/King Street nightlife scene, come to Recovery Room for a reprieve. This is where the hipsters hang; it's a dirty dive bar in all the right ways and is cheap as hell. PBRs will only run you $1.25 during happy hour and the place is so full of men in skinny jeans wearing beanies that you'll think you're in Oregon.

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McCrady's Restaurant

155 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

Make no mistake, a dinner at McCrady's will be a shock to you wallet. BUT, if you're a foodie looking for a unique and experimental dining experience, this is the spot. The seven course tasting menu will let you sample the full breadth of the menu, or opt for the a la cart tapas menu. The restaurant is set in a charming brick building that's made the historical registry and service is top notch.

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The Ordinary

544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Seafood and oysters your favorite? The Ordinary should top your list of restaurants to visit in Charleston. Set in an old bank, this bustling brasserie has soaring ceilings, two story windows and a massive marble bar. Even though there's constant activity here - drink shakers rattling, servers running around - it still manages to have homey feel.

Midtown Bar & Grill -- CLOSED

559 King St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

Midtown bar is one of those places that hasn't quite figured out exactly what it wants to be, which means that it can be pretty much anything you want it to be on any given day. Weekday afternoons it's a great place for a casual drink on the patio, weekend evenings it attracts a college-age crowd for cover bands and dancing and weekends during the day it's a solid choice for catching a game and eating some wings.

Elliotborough Mini Bar

18 Percy Street, Charleston, SC 29403, United States

EMB is a coffee joint by day and speakeasy-style bar night. As the name suggests, space here is at a premium, but it creates a very cozy and intimate feel that's excellent for after work drinks or a first date. It's a neighborhood spot that will give you great insight into the local atmosphere.

Baked

160 E Bay St, Ste 104, Charleston, SC 29401-2140

Baked goods mecca!! Grab a coffee and munch on a scone or muffin or pick up a gourmet cake or tray of pastries to go, either way you are in for a treat. All goodies are baked fresh daily in-house and will satisfy any sweet tooth. The lemon bars are pure happiness.

Virginia's on King

412 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

I found myself at Virginia's on King mid-afternoon and had no idea what to order; it was after lunch and far too early for dinner. I opted for a beer and an order of pimento cheese and could not have been happier. The interior is bright and open even though it has brick walls and the pimento cheese was some of the best I've ever had!

Griffon

18 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401-2114

The first thing you'll notice when you walk into the Griffon is that the walls and ceiling are covered in a shag carpet-like layer of dollars bills. It's odd and wonderful at the same time. Once you get past that, you'll find a great pub/dive bar that almost seems out of place in the heart of the city's tourist district. A beer and fried pickles here make for an ideal nightcap.

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Henry's Bar and Restaurant

54 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

Honestly, I would pass on ordering food here. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the food, but the reason to come is the cocktails - they're cheap and strong. The new Whiskey Bar is phenomenal and if you can get a seat on the roof terrace you'll feel like you're on cloud nine!

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Prohibition

547 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

The weekend evening crowd here can be a little on the bro-y side, but on weeknights it is bliss. The bartenders mix up strong craft cocktails ideal for warming you up from the inside out. Belly up to the bar and get ready to watch the bar keeps work their magic.

Persimmon Cafe

226 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401

This place may be located in a laundromat, but it slings some of best and most affordable lunch grub in Charleston. There's not a ton of in-cafe seating, so I recommend ordering your lunch/dinner to go and then heading to a park for a picnic! It's perfect for any budget without sacrificing portions or quality.

Black Tap Coffee

70 1/2 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC

For a serious jolt of caffeine, few place in Charleston are better than Black Tap Coffee. While they're mostly known for their pour-over coffees and lavender latte, you can't go wrong with their standard drip or espresso. It's a no frills, relaxed place that takes coffee seriously without being pretentious.

Sunrise Bistro Xpress

116A Spring Street, Charleston, SC 29403

If you head to Hominy Grill for breakfast and find the wait to be too long, walk a block north and try Sunrise Bistro Xpress instead. It's just good, affordable breakfast food made with fresh local ingredients. It's a very understated place that will most certainly surprise you when it comes to flavor, portion size and service!

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Swig & Swine

1217 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407

For the record, I'm a vegetarian. So why then would I recommend a BBQ joint? 1. Most people like meat and I'm told this place serves some of the best BBQ and briquet in the state and 2. I come here anyways for the mac and cheese, fried pickles and fabulous beer selection. Seriously, their taps are constantly flowing with an array of South Carolina beers you just can't find anywhere else.

Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer

4 Vanderhorst Street, Charleston, SC 29403 (Formerly Kudu Coffee House)

Kudu marries two thing that are near and dear to my heart - coffee and beer. Hip coffee shop by day and casual but serious-about-beer booze hall by night. Their patio is a welcoming beacon that features live music on the weekends and offers a quiet place to read, work or chat during the week.

Last updated at Aug 25, 2017