Charleston is known for its food and drink. We have so many unique places to get a fantastic cocktail. It is hard to pick just a few. The list below is based on our favorites as well as other locals in CHS.
One of the original craft cocktail joints in town. A must when visiting Chucktown if you like a good drink. Our favorite is the Bells of Jalisco, which is tequila, jalapeno honey, and lime juice with a spicy pickled green bean. We like this so much; we make our own jalapeno honey so we can drink it anytime. The second runner up is their version of the Brown Derby.
Doar Brothers is a gem on Meeting St where Pinkney St meets it. A small gem in the middle of a touristy area, it has a mid-century modern vibe with lots of southern charm. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and make one of the best drinks in Charleston. They serve light fare, charcuterie, and some of the best mac and cheese in town (so I’ve heard). The bar is the center of attraction when you walk it, backed by liquors on the wall they use to create their incredible drinks. Stop in and have a Burnt District, or Bourbon and Clyde (2 of my favorites) or maybe you need a Death in the Afternoon. You will like them all. No descriptions, you will need to try them for yourselves. Don’t worry; if you don’t like these, you will find one that suits you.
The Living Room at The Dewberry
The Dewberry is one of the unique and adored hotels in Charleston. It has a very Mad Men vibe. If you don’t choose to stay here, I highly suggest heading over for a drink here at the Living Room or upstairs at the Citrus Club. In the living room, they take great care in their cocktails, down to the hand-stamped oversize ice cube with their signature D. Their cocktails are so handcrafted, you may want to grab a glass of bubbles while you wait and enjoy the show of their cocktail creations. The most famous of these masterpieces is their Manhattan. But they also make A LOT of Dark as Nightwhich has bright aromatics with notes of caramel, cigar tobacco, leather, and toasted baking spices. It is cognac, chinato (Barolo or Mancino), nocino (The Dewberry artists like Nux Alpina), simple syrup, and a garnish of an orange peel.thedewberry.com
Hall’s is another must for everyone, food and drink. Hall’s Chophouse is regularly voted one of the Top 5 in the country in restaurants overall in numerous lists including Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice, Open Table, Travel and Leisure Magazine, and US News. But before you sit down for what will be one of the most amazing steaks of your life with impeccable service, swing by the bar and grab the best dirty martini in town. Be careful; these things are more like doubles and go down well. After dinner, swing back by the bar and ask Justin to make you an Espresso Martini. He has this one nailed! They are not super sweet, smoother to truly enjoy the flavors within the drink. They are barely sweet at all, which I love. hallschophouse.com
The Cocktail Club
You might miss this little gem if you don’t know where it is. It is on King Street above The Macintosh Restaurant. It is what you think of when you think of a cocktail club. The building dates back to 1881, and they have used reclaimed wood from the original building throughout the lounges. Their signature drink is the Double Standard which includes House-Infused Serrano Gin, and Cucumber Vodka blended with Ginger, Cilantro, Lime Juice, Celery Bitters. thecocktailclubcharleston.com
You ask a local what to drink at Proof, and they will probably tell you their gin and tonic—known as the PGT (Proof Gin and Tonic) which includes Hendrick’s Gin, Lemon Bitters, and Cucumber. Proof is in a perfect location for a pre or post-dinner drink.
There is a reason it was given the title of “The Most Beautifully Designed Bar in South Carolina” by Architectural Digest. It is a must just to see this masterpiece. Vintage is known as one of the best places to grab a glass of wine, but they also have one incredible NY Sour. Their sour is made of Bourbon, Lemon, and a Red Wine Float. vintagechs.com
Honorable mention because their drinks are good, but the atmosphere is so unique is Camellias at Hotel Bennett for the design. I was told it is designed after a Faberge Egg, but I encourage you to grab a glass of bubbly and lookup. You tell me what you see. I see something different. Camellias is off the lobby in the Hotel Bennett. Camellias just won #2 Best Bar in the country. This bar and their lobby bar are great spots to start a night in Charleston. If you are driving downtown, you can valet there, pay at the front desk and walk pretty much anywhere from there you need to go.
The bar at HUSK bar is another honorable mention because of the relaxed vibe. This is a free-standing bar next to the restaurant. You do not need to visit this place only if you are eating at HUSK. I rarely eat there but have frequented the bar often. My favorite is the Midnight Run which is Bourbon, Fernet Branca, Bonal, Chamomile Tea, Cucumber, and Lemon.
Whatever your next adventure looks like, we would love to assist you.