When co-owners of popular pizza place D’Allesandro’s (229 Saint Philip Street, Charleston), Ben and Nick D’Allesandro, purchased the small building at 638 King Street, they weren’t quite sure what they would do with it. Eventually, they convinced the previous longtime general manager of dive bar Cutty’s, Sarah Griffith, to transform the space into the bar of her dreams. Their only guidance was to make it like Cutty’s (also owned by the D’Allesandros), but make it “more adult.” What came is the best ever death metal bar out of King Street or, rather, the only one. Sugey’s is a bar dedicated to heavy metal bands, ‘80s horror films, and tiki drinks.
The bar is a reflection of Griffith’s personality. She says that she created a space that her teenage self would be jealous of. She spent hours scouring eBay for band paraphernalia and brought in items from her personal collection. Now the walls are full of posters from Motorhead and Judas Priest, along with fliers from various metal shows over the years. A disco ball sparkles overhead and old slasher films on VHS are piled under the television screens, ready to be popped into the VCR.
Behind the bar is everything one would expect from a typical dive, like PBR tall boys and Old Crow bourbon, but there’s also an interesting wine selection (rosé, tempranillo, and vinho verde) and tropical concoctions like the Pantang Painslayer (Griffith’s take on a Painkiller), and Jell-O shots.
Even if metal music isn’t your thing, Sugey’s is still a welcoming spot and adds a bit of variety to the other bars vying for college-aged clientele on Upper King. “When a city wants to become more metropolitan, it needs to have diversity,” says Griffith, “I hope this bar helps with that.”
Sugey’s is open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.