If the walls could only talk, The Cazbah's bar would have volumes to tell about the revitalization of Downtown Greenville. Established at a time when the city's revitalization efforts were only just beginning, The Cazbah has seen it all and quenched a lot of thirsts in the process. While beer offerings are minimal, the wine list is extensive and carefully curated and cocktails are always new and refreshing. Tapas cuisine like Lobster Cigars and Lamb Lollipops are Greenville mainstays and it is nearly impossible to leave without ordering a few extra plates of the goodies coming out of Downtown Greenville's smallest kitchen.
Recommended for Bars because: The Cazbah is a staple of Downtown Greenville and a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar is always a rewarding experience.
Brett's expert tip: The Lobster Cigars are the perfect snack and unlike traditional bar fare you will find anywhere else.
On game day, there is little debate on where to see your favorite team take the field. Hall of Fame Sports Bar has more television screens going than your local Best Buy sales floor and it is easy to get whiplash trying to keep up with it all. The full-service bar maintains a commitment to a quality craft beer selection, something that other sports bars can easily overlook. Additionally, it is easy to slack off on the food menu when you are catering to a predominantly captive audience but Hall of Fame does no such thing and kicks out some high-quality burgers, wings, and other sports bar cuisine.
Recommended for Bars because: This is the definitive sports bar, complete with more televisions than Best Buy and HHGregg's showrooms combined.
Brett's expert tip: If you are going on game day call ahead to reserve a table because this place is going to get packed.
If you want to go to a bar in Downtown Greenville that transports you to a place that is most definitely not Downtown Greenville, WXYZ Bar at Aloft is your ticket out of town. The ambiance at the hotel's bar is decidedly cosmopolitan and feels like something you would find in Manhattan or Chicago, not Downtown Greenville. That sense of big city Ritz makes WXYZ an incredibly fun place to visit for a late-night cocktail on a night on the town. Plus, if you have one too many, you can always check in to a room without even leaving the bar.
Recommended for Bars because: If you look up "swanky bars" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of W XYZ Bar at Aloft.
Brett's expert tip: Keep an eye on the concert calendar as you might be in for a great evening of music (or a distraction if you are looking for a quieter evening at the bar).
The Trappe Door is one of those places that just feels like a cool experience even before you set eyes on the place. As you descend down the staircase beneath Barley's, the vibe is both inviting and maybe just a bit dangerous. The ghosts of whatever occupied this space before are friendly and warm the room as you find your seat at the bar and face the tough task of deciding between the longest Belgian beer selection in town or some seriously creative cocktails. My advice is to plan to stay long enough to try a couple of each of them.
Recommended for Bars because: A classic Belgian beer bar with all the whiskey you could ever ask for? Sign me up!
Brett's expert tip: Visit during off-peak hours (before 7pm and after 9pm) as the bar seating is often full during dinner service.
For the quintessential dive bar, check out the Greenville institution that is Zorba's Lounge. Concealed by a windowless exterior, inside you will find a watering hole that looks and feels exactly as it did in the 1970s. The clientele is blue and white-collar alike, all walks of life deemed equal upon walking through the door. If you are in the mood for high-end craft brews and frilly cocktails, you are in the wrong place but sometimes you just need a Budweiser or a Jack & Coke and, for that, there is no better spot in town than Zorba's Lounge.
Recommended for Bars because: Zorba's Lounge is both a bar and a Greenville institution.
Brett's expert tip: The big wood door to the building without windows gives the sense of a private club but, rest assured, Zorba's is open to the public.
What location always makes a bar better? The one on the roof, of course. That is why Up On the Roof, perched on the rooftop of Downtown Greenville's Embassy Suites, is the perfect place to enjoy your next drink. Panoramic views of the city skyline and the mountains beyond make for a scene you could soak in all day and evening long. The fact that they offer a wide variety of both domestic and craft beers, wine, and cocktails means they have a little something for everyone and the full-service restaurant kitchen is kicking out some seriously good food while you are at it.
Recommended for Bars because: Greenville's tallest rooftop bar features great cocktails along with some stunning views of Downtown Greenville.
Brett's expert tip: It is a maze of elevators and staircases from the parking garage so don't be afraid to valet your car at the main entrance to make life easy.
The British have been gathering in pubs since before America was a twinkle in their eye. For that reason, the British public house is a classic environment to enjoy a drink with your friends and neighbors. The Velo Fellow was specifically created with that goal in mind and it satisfies in every way. A great craft beer selection is complemented by house-made craft brews made right on-site while the wine and whiskey offerings are extensive. Whether you are in the front room tipping one back with friends or enjoying a show in the listening room in the rear, the Velo Fellow is the perfect bar to go back to again and again.
Recommended for Bars because: The classic English public house vibe is the perfect place to get a drink.
Brett's expert tip: Get the fish and chips for the classic English public house experience.
Vault & Vator, the brainchild of the former owners of the beloved American Grocery, is the purest example of a bar in every sense of the word. The entrance is nondescript, the lighting is dim, and the speakeasy vibe transports you back to another era in American history. The cocktails are phenomenal and, while there is technically a food menu, this is not a place you come to hungry. Vault & Vator is for drinking and, to that point, drinking really, really well. There are some rules to the joint â" no cell phones, proper attire, and no Red Bulls â" and they are all tailored to maximize the experience of going to a bar where the drinking is taken seriously.
Recommended for Bars because: Nothing says "have a seat at the bar" like the throwback speakeasy ambiance of Vault & Vator.
Brett's expert tip: Leave your cell phone in your pocket… and make sure that pocket is not part of something excessively casual.
The Upstate award for cocktail creativity (if there was such a thing of course) without a doubt goes to Bar Margaret. The cocktail menu changes daily with the only regular entry on the menu being the Cola Fashioned. Try that one once and you will have no doubt why it is irreplaceable but, then, get a taste of the daily specials and revel in the fact that this just might be a one time experience, simply demanding you to come back the next weekend (or day, even) to see what else they are mixing up behind the eclectic but cozy bar. Bar Margaret's food menu is on point as well as the Damn Good Burger is both A) as advertised and B) the perfect balance to a couple of good drinks.
Recommended for Bars because: One could very well argue that the very best cocktails in town are coming out of the bar at Bar Margaret.
Brett's expert tip: The parking lot a block down (across from Naked Pasta) looks like a private lot but it is fair game any time you visit.
Society Sandwich Bar & Social Club is everything the name suggests. While they are serving up some of the best sandwiches in town, delicious cocktails and ales make it a libationary paradise. Whether you just want a great craft beer to wash down Friday's lunch hour or you crave the more party-like vibe of the evenings the upstairs bar has to offer, Society has a little something for everybody depending on the time of day or which of the two bars you choose. Beer drinkers will enjoy the IPA collaboration with Yeehaw Brewing around the corner and the drink menu is extensive enough to fit any mood.
Recommended for Bars because: Great drink and beer selection paired with a creative food menu make this a perfect landing spot for nearly every occasion.
Brett's expert tip: For food, the main floor is great but head upstairs for more of a nightclub vibe if that is your thing.