Charleston's Best Bars: Serving Craft Beer, Cocktails with Local Flair



It's not easy to narrow Charleston's best bars down to just 10 contenders, but somebody's got to do it. So here we present to you, our faithful readers, our best efforts at the Holy City's very best: bars big and small, rowdy and reserved, fancy and dive. Take our word for it–or anyone else's in town; Charleston knows how to tips a few back. 

Take Closed for Business, for example–our personal favorite. If you're a beer nerd, beer snob, or budding beer lover (that's everyone, right?) you're going to like this place. Take on nearly 50 beers on tap at CFB, or walk a half-block to Proof for a smaller but righteous selection, along traditional absinthe service and some killer cocktails. 

Beer bros (and gals) will also dig Bay Street Biergarten, an indoor-outdoor haus of communal tables, pour-your-own taps, and all of the sports on-screen. 

Classic cocktails more your speed? Try The Gin Joint before or after dinner on East Bay, or bounce between The Belmont and Cocktail Club on Upper King–laid back and energetic vibes, respectively.  For the freshest Moscow Mules on-peninsula, Rarebit's your place. They've got 'em on tap!

Everyone knows that drinks taste better outdoors. See for yourself at The Vendue Hotel's snazzy Rooftop (there's cover if it starts to rain) or the divey front deck at Royal American

Put one foot in front of the other down King Street and you'll be heading in the right direction. And feel free to carry us with you from bar to bar.   


The Belmont Lounge
Photo courtesy of The Belmont Lounge


The Belmont offers quite a lot in the way of curated cocktails, and a warm, sophisticated atmosphere--ideal for couples and small groups that actually want to hear each other inside the bar. Service is swift and knowledgeable, able to give...  Read More




The crew at Proof takes cocktails�and cocktail service�very seriously, evidenced by a traditional absinthe service and such classic cocktails as the Gin & Tonic, Clover Club, Pink Rabbit, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and more....  Read More




The Royal American can easily become your new go-to bar in Charleston. Strings of tiny Christmas bulbs provide some of the lighting, and one wall is made almost entirely of old National Geographic magazines. The menu includes homemade beef...  Read More




You deserve Moscow mules on tap (at least the ginger beer, anyway), and you definitely deserve late night breakfast food to close out your night. Sure, Rarebit's Moscow Mules draw a crowd--they use local Sweatman's Ginger Beer--but this...  Read More


The Gin Joint
Photo courtesy of The Gin Joint


It's safe to say that The Gin Joint has pioneered the modern craft cocktail scene in Charleston, serving as an East Bay staple for years. The Gin Joint bartenders are highly experienced and proud of their craft, ready and willing to mix up any...  Read More


The Rooftop
Photo courtesy of The Vendue


Recently rebranded, renovated, and remodeled as Charleston's Art Hotel, The Rooftop at Vendue has always been known for its expansive, unforgettable views of the Charleston Harbor and East Bay Street architecture. The Rooftop is a favorite spot...  Read More




Tucked into a historic building on the corner of Chapel and East Bay Streets, Bay Street Beirgarten isn't your traditional biergarten. This gathering place welcomes you into its interior expanse with high ceilings, communal tables and cozy...  Read More




It's no surprise that Prohibition makes our 10 Best list of live music venues in Charleston, as they have live bands in-house 6 days of the week! Prohibition's live musical lineup incorporates multiple regular and guest-star acts, as well as a...  Read More




Stepping into The Cocktail Club is akin to stepping back in time to Charleston of the prohibition era. Located just above The Macintosh at 479 King Street, The Cocktail Club prides itself on superior cocktail craftsmanship and service. This...  Read More




Closed For Business is undoubtedly one of Upper King's most popular hangouts, known for its extensive draft beer lists, rotating weekly or by availability. This local's bar offers 42 beers on tap, roughly 50 bottled beers, a seasonal beer menu,...  Read More


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Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare also ventured abroad to Spain and north to Boston before returning to Charleston and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown...  More About Clare

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