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The Best Bars for Foodies in Charleston

British colonists founded Charleston in 1670 in honor of King Charles II. Centuries later, the Holy City maintains its colonial charm as the oldest city in South Carolina, with so much to see and do. Charleston sure knows how to throw a party, from Lowcountry boils and country music jams served with craft cocktails and bottles of bubbly. But where are the smartest, savviest locals going out? Welcome to our Tastemaker List. Our team of experts brings you the best bars in Charleston to help revelers find their ultimate night out. Book a table at the bar tonight!

Dive bars downtown attract game lovers and those seeking a social nightlife. Amazing rooftop venues combine stunning views with masterfully mixed cocktails. Or how about a Bavarian-style Biergarten, just by the river? Find some friends, browse our list and book a table at one of the best bars in Charleston right now.

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The OpenTable Team
Updated March 14, 2022
A photo of Bourbon n Bubbles restaurant

Bourbon n Bubbles

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown Charleston
4.0
979 reviews
King Street is the ultimate destination for bar lovers, from the hip and trendy to dark and intimate craft beer dives. Bourbon n Bubbles has homed in on the hype and added a touch of exclusivity. They’ve introduces Charleston’s first members-only “liquor locker”. This allows privileged guests to keep their favorite tipple in stock at all times. These drinks range from some of the highest end champagnes to an eye-and-mouthwatering selection of bourbons. Add in food like cilantro wings, filet mignon, and even a bourbon milkshake for dessert, and it’s one of the most luxurious nights out in Charleston. Booking recommended.

A photo of Prohibition restaurant

Prohibition

$$$$
American
Downtown Charleston
4.5
2130 reviews
Billed rather sweepingly as a gastropub, Prohibition certainly has the right combination of great food and drinks to earn this moniker. It’s so much more, though, with a reputation as one of the best bars in Charleston for live music. Up to six nights a week sees bands from swing to acoustic take the stage, with punters dancing and singing along. Tuck into curried cauliflower or comforting shrimp and grits, then wash it down with some of the most creative cocktails on King Street. A night to remember.

A photo of Eleve Restaurant & Rooftop restaurant

Eleve Restaurant & Rooftop

$$$$
European
Downtown Charleston
4.4
1131 reviews
Head up to the fourth floor of the Grand Bohemian Hotel on Wentworth to discover Eleve. Inside, it’s chic and modern, with glam touches like huge chandeliers and ornate mirrors. The food is “French with a gypsy twist”. This means diners can expect oysters with a touch of ginger, lamb chops with tarragon and a heavenly espresso ice cream with a dash of liqueur. The rooftop area is a turfed affair with pale parasols and round wicker style sofas; the epitome of relaxation. Try their house cocktail, The Boheme, for a flavor explosion worth every cent.

A photo of The Establishment restaurant

The Establishment

$$$$
Seafood
Downtown Charleston
4.8
1904 reviews
This historic building on Broad Street dates back to 1791, and plenty of the original fixtures feature in the beautiful décor that welcomes guests upon their arrival at The Establishment. There’s a sense of grandeur here, from the huge horseshoe-shaped bar to the screen flicking between scenes of perfect serenity. Dive into sumptuous seafood, washed down with one of their popular signature cocktails- all very well priced during happy hour. A perfect place for some top Instagram shots. Booking recommended.


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A photo of Church and Union - Charleston restaurant

Church and Union - Charleston

$$$$
Unspecified
Downtown Charleston
4.5
6706 reviews
5Church is not only one of the best bars in Charleston, but the most dramatic by a long shot. Walking in here is a religious experience as guests take in the original stained-glass windows and huge, vaulted ceiling. Press hails the food as New American, which ranges from ramen to flatbreads to ravioli- something for everyone. Those just wanting to drink can pick from the extraordinary wine list or indulge in a sinful signature cocktail. Try the Garden of Eden at a special rate during happy hour: a feisty fusion of vodka, ginger, cucumber and lemon. “Take me to Church” just got a whole new meaning.


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A photo of Stars Restaurant - Rooftop & Grill Room restaurant

Stars Restaurant - Rooftop & Grill Room

$$$$
American
Downtown Charleston
4.4
2155 reviews
There’s a comforting, old school feel about Stars. Warm wood, a traditionally shaped bar and exposed, polished beams give the vibe of a 40s steakhouse- a theme which the menu echoes. Shrimp cocktail making the most of the local seafood, a house Caesar, plus the Stars Grill Room Steak, with truffle grits and seasonal greens; all the best in high-end comfort food. Head upstairs for what Stars claim is the best rooftop bar in Charleston. Enjoy unparalleled views of the city whilst sipping international wines, cocktails, or even craft beer. Stars has the whole night covered.

A photo of 39 Rue de Jean - Charleston restaurant

39 Rue de Jean - Charleston

$$$$
French
Downtown Charleston
4.2
4118 reviews
This classic French restaurant gets its name from its address, and that’s all the advertising it needs. Word gets around about the tuna-filled niçoise salad, buttery short ribs and the many variations of mussels- all perfect for pairing with a glass of bubbles. The bar offers an extensive wine list, including around 18 types of champagne and prosecco. Cocktails range from the Desperate Housewife to a Grim Mary, their own signature take on the brunch classic. Reservations recommended.

A photo of O-Ku restaurant

O-Ku

$$$$
Sushi
Downtown Charleston
4.7
2228 reviews
O-Ku is a downtown bar with a difference- it’s a sushi bar. O-Ku incorporates the ingredients and flavors of the South into traditional Japanese techniques, creating rolls with personality that keep guests coming back for more. Try the box style sushi, with quirky names like Green Eggs and Hamachi Hako, or keep it simple with tuna rolls jazzed up with a touch of spicy aioli. The bar staff are expert mixologists, creating a range of tempting cocktails such as the Asian inspired lemongrass gin and tonic. A journey to the East via King Street.

A photo of Maison restaurant

Maison

$$$$
French
Downtown Charleston
4.8
1204 reviews
Visiting Maison is like accidentally stepping into a Parisian bistro. From the bright, airy room to the black and white motif working its way through the room, there’s a sense of simplicity and care in every detail. The food follows this attention to detail, with expected classics like escargot and pate de campagne arriving with perfectly flavored herby butter and sharp cornichons. The bar offers more than just amazing wine to pair with the food. There’s an exciting cocktail list plus a range of aperitifs and digestif- French culture delivered via amazing alcohol.

A photo of Amen Street Fish + Raw Bar restaurant

Amen Street Fish + Raw Bar

$$$$
Seafood
Downtown Charleston
4.6
4253 reviews
Cumberland Street might be a bit of a hidden gem, but the popularity of Amen Street, the restaurant named for the original moniker of the street, has brought it right out into the limelight. Oyster shell chandeliers catch the attention while the long bar promises more than just premium seafood. As well as cold, fresh, oysters, guests can order up a range of beers, wines (part of the menu called “interesting reds” definitely bears further investigation) plus some specialty cocktails. Ask about happy hour and the Oyster Shooters.


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A photo of East Bay Meeting House Bar & Cafe restaurant

East Bay Meeting House Bar & Cafe

$$$$
Café
Downtown Charleston
4.5
305 reviews
East Bay Meeting House is one of those rare venues that changes throughout the day to match the needs of its customers. Head there first thing for bacon and egg croissants and coffee, or grab a club sandwich at lunchtime. In the evening, French-inspired mains start off the night which winds its way into fine wine, an astonishing range of martinis and carefully crafted cocktails. Look out for live music and even poetry events at this celebration of café culture in the heart of the French Quarter.

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