Nightlife with a touch of refinement is what you'll experience when you frequent Charleston's best cocktail lounges. These upscale places lend themselves to sophisticated evenings out, and their stylish furnishings and interiors promote conversation and relaxation. For a taste of what Charleston offers, visit Purple Tree Ultra Lounge, which is known for its inventive cocktails, or lounge about in First Shot Lounge and discover the ambience that 10Best users appreciate. A great place for a date or an after-hours business meet-up.


Stunning views of the harbor and the skyline greet patrons of this fabulous rooftop venue, located on the upper floor of the Market Pavilion. A large, open space, complete with a swimming pool in its midst, establishes a romantic, upscale setting wherein folks can sip champagne or indulge in a well-crafted cocktail. Container plantings also set a refined scene, and twilight is especially beautiful. A menu of gourmet appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and desserts provide sustenance when needed.

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This appealing brasserie practically recreates Paris in the Lowcountry. Its warm decor, zinc bar, and even an outdoor terrace speak of Gallic comforts, and the food follows suit beautifully. Traditional – and affordable! – fare includes such classics as steak frites, steamed mussels, duck confit, escargots, and bouillabaisse. A great burger is also a strong draw. Plus, the bar scene is a lively event, as folks gather amiably to indulge in a cocktail, a terrific bottle of wine, or simply to people-watch from the patio.

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Dine on inventive Nouvelle cuisine in a place that really gives you the Charleston feel with its potted palms, ceiling fans and mahogany shutters. Starters such as buttermilk-fried oysters with arugula and Green Goddess dressing are sure to please the palate. For mains you can't go wrong with BBQ-spiced Carolina trout or bourbon-glazed Eden Farm pork with white cheddar jalapeno grits. At brunch, meanwhile, there's the shrimp and lobster crêpe or the BBQ duck hash, and you haven't lived until you've sampled High Cotton's heavenly praline soufflé. Their bar boasts several wines by the glass, great cocktails and nightly live music.

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This impressive London-style lounge – with its silky curtains, red pendant lights, intimate cafe tables and wing-back leather couches – certainly captivates the imagination and stimulates the senses. Velvet's sultry attitude appeals to the haute tastes of Charleston's young and trendy crowd, offering them everything from exotic hors d'oeuvres to impressive selections of cocktails, martinis, champagnes, sparkling wines and hookah. Until 10pm, cool lounge music is played at a low volume; afterwards, reins are turned over to a DJ. Keep your eyes peeled to the event calendar for their themed parties, which often become quite the scene.

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Located in the historic Mills House Hotel, this prestigious lounge beside the Barbados Room Restaurant attracts some of Charleston's most distinguished guests. Savor the view of the picturesque courtyard with a classic cocktail, and if needed, a tantalizing bite of low country fare.

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Devour a tasty Southern meal or raise a glass while enjoying live piano music at this restaurant and bar, located in the stately Francis Marion Hotel. From fried green tomatillos to Charleston fried chicken, stuffed with spinach and Farmers Cheese, the menu offers an array of regional delicacies.

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