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Posh Emeline Hotel Opens a Hidden Martini Bar in Charleston

Plus all the other Lowcountry restaurant and bar openings this summer

A pink drink in a martini glass next to a light.
The Frannie’s Martini with champagne Jell-O.
Erin Perkins
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Having a tough time keeping up with all the new dining options? Welcome to the Opening Report, a regularly updated round-up of restaurant openings big and small across the Lowcountry. For all the restaurants in the spring of 2023, check out this list.

Yellow menu on a wooden bar.
The menu at the Den.
Erin Perkins

September 18, 2023

FRENCH QUARTER— The group behind the Emeline Hotel and Italian restaurant Frannie & the Fox recently opened the intimate (and slightly hidden) bar the Den. The space seats 30 and focuses on martinis, caviar, and Italian snacks. Seasonal flavors like a tomato martini with pepperoncini shrub share the menu with a classic service offered with various liquor and vermouth choices. The Den is currently open Thursday through Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. Go to the Frannie hostess stand to ask for a seat. 181 Church Street; website.

WEST SIDE — Free Reign Restaurants (Southbound, Community Table, and BarPizza) have a new spot named Honeysuckle Rose. The restaurant features an eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings for $250 a seat. In the kitchen is culinary director Italo “Tito” Marino (who once helmed Monza in its heyday). 237 Fishburne Street; website.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Chef Kevin Johnson of the Grocery in downtown Charleston has a new establishment named Lola Rose in Carolina Park. The menu is “coastal Mediterranean” with items like wood-fired pizza, pastas, local seafood, and seasonal salads. 3540 Park Avenue Boulevard; website.

UPPER KING — From the group that brought party club Republic to King Street comes reservation-only spot Lamar’s Sporting Club. The vibe is a boozy hunting club with a side of indulgent amenities. 570 King Street; website.

EAST SIDE — The team behind Sichuan restaurant Kwei Fei has a new downtown spot serving Cantonese and Chinese-American takeout classics. Beautiful South is a fun new space to explore menu items like crab rangoon, pork dumplings, and XO clams. 128 Columbus Street; website.

A wooden bar with a mirror behind it.
High Rise Dry Bar on James Island.
Mike Ledford

JAMES ISLAND — Want to experience the buzz of a bar without the booze? The group behind High Rise Beverage Company, makers of hemp-derived CBD and THC seltzers, set up the High Rise Dry Bar to showcase cannabis-infused nonalcoholic cocktails. 1989 Maybank Highway; website.

WEST ASHLEY — Food and beverage vets Danielle and Brent Sweatman recently opened Sweatman’s Garden in the South Windermere Shopping Center with fancy sodas, a full bar, and fondue. All of the sodas are nonalcoholic, but for an extra $5, the bartenders can add the customer’s choice of house liquor or a cannabis-based infusion. 90 Folly Road Boulevard; Instagram.

FRENCH QUARTER — The Habit is a three-story entertainment venue with dining on the first floor, live music on the second floor, and a rooftop bar on the third floor. The restaurant is open all day, and every menu includes caviar, like the hash browns and caviar at breakfast or the chicken bites and ranch caviar dip at dinner. Most of the dishes on the evening menu are meant to be shared, like lamb lollipops, tuna crudo, or poutine. But there’s also a smash burger, a crab cake sandwich, and a 34-ounce ribeye. 213 East Bay Street; website.

JOHNS ISLAND — Chef Alex Yellan (formerly Minero and the Tippling House) puts out the flavors of Mexico at Johns Island restaurant Colectivo. Start with the mariscos section and then move on to large platters of carnitas ribs, adobo lamb, and cochinita pibil, which are meant to be shared and heaped onto corn or flour tortillas with accouterments like pickled onions, salsa, and cilantro. 2901 Maybank Highway; website.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Sunsets Waterfront Dining has views of Shem Creek, along with seafood, sushi, and sake. 96 Ronnie Boals Boulevard; website.

JAMES ISLAND — Jack’s Cosmic Dogs has a new location on James Island. Look for all the same hot dogs the Lowcountry has come to love over the years. 801 Folly Road; website.

A woman holding a bagel with strawberries on it.
A bagel from Spread.
Spread Bagelry

AUGUST 1, 2023

WEST ASHLEY — Fans of Taste of the Islands on Ashley River Road have embraced the new location next to the West Ashley Piggly Wiggly. The Caribbean restaurant features generous portions of all the beloved staples — oxtail stew, curried goat, jerk chicken, and conch fritters. 630 Skylark Drive; website.

MOUNT PLEASANT — To add to the bagel boom in the Lowcountry, Spread Bagelry offers wood-fired Montreal-style bagels. The adorable cafe offers plenty of choices of flavors and spreads, but the stacked sandwiches are the way to go for a really filling meal — the melted pimento cheese with bacon and tomato is an ideal hangover cure. 1400 Shucker Circle; website.

EAST SIDE — Chef Bintou Ndaw couldn’t find the food of her homeland, Senegal, in the Lowcountry, so she created African restaurant Bintü Atelier. The petite spot on Line Street offers appetizers like beef suya; crispy prawns with millet and fonio grains; and supa kanja, an okra stew with red shrimp. Ndaw will keep a few staples on the menu, but she wants to rotate dishes to be able to highlight the different countries across Africa. 8 Line Street; website.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Owners of the petite wine bar with big plates, the Shellmore, have expanded their footprint with the opening of Saint Urban’s. The new shop offers customers a chance to enjoy great meats and cheeses with a glass of wine while waiting for a seat at the Shellmore — it also functions as retail for all those gourmet items as well. 357 North Shelmore Boulevard; website.

NORTH CHARLESTON — Sleek lounge Montague Room offers live music, cigars, seafood, steaks, and a dedicated martini menu with lemon drops and appletinis. 5060 Dorchester Road; website.

JOHNS ISLAND — Sommelier Jordan Hooker opened up Somm Wine Bar with charcuterie, cheeses, wine flights, and more. 700 Halcyon Loop; website.

CANNONBOROUGH/ELLIOTBOROUGH — Chef Nikko Cagalanan and Baguette Magic co-owner Paula Kramer have teamed up to make Filipino flavors a more permanent fixture on Spring Street with the opening of Kultura. In the mornings, the space offers coffee and pastries from Baguette Magic but with Filipino flavors, like ube lattes, guava “Pop-Tarts,” and egg sandwiches with pork belly adobo. In the evenings, the menu includes arroz caldo with smoked trout roe, pancit with lump crab, and a whole snapper curry. 73 Spring Street; website.

JAMES ISLAND — American grill comfort foods are key at the James. Think tuna tartare, chicken tenders, spinach artichoke dip, prime rib, Caesar salad, burgers, and appletinis. The restaurant wants to be a getaway for its James Island neighbors. 1939A Maybank Highway; website.