Charleston loves a good cocktail, and this town isn't lacking in options of where to find one. While most imbibers have their go-to tavern, it's always fun to try something new. Eater has round up a Heatmap of hot new bars (there weren't many this year), renovated drink menus, and exciting liquor combinations that may have slipped by the radar the first time they were released. It may only be Monday, but that's just as good as any other excuse to cheers in the week with a novel adult beverage. And, as always, if someone was overlooked, let us know. This list is presented in alphabetical order.Read More
Where to Grab a Killer Cocktail (or Three) in Charleston
The who's who upping their libation game in the Lowcountry.
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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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How can you not love a bar with a drink named "The Red Wedding?" Head drink master Jayce McConnell is always coming up with new and innovative ways to entertain guests and delighting the most discerning of palates.
Sure FIG is known for their amazing food, but did you know the cocktails are just as good? Let the bartenders suggest a pre-dinner libation or post up at the bar to chat about the latest flavors in mixology. The Daisy Cutter is a favorite off the menu choice made with rhubarb liqueur.
Bourbon, burgers, and antebellum punch — the Husk bar is a must visit for anyone wanting a one of a kind Charleston experience. The little house next to the famed restaurant on Queen Street is home to some of the most thoughtful cocktails in the Lowcountry.
Sage imbibers know to seek out bartender Ryan Casey’s avant garde libations at fine dining beacon McCrady's. There's a reason Casey brought home the 2013 Eater Award for Bartender of the Year — his drinks continue to wow crowds and evolve during his tenure at the fancy white tablecloth restaurant. Ask him about cocktail pairings for the snacks served at the handsome, dimly-lit bar.
Proof is a slight, unassuming bar from veteran bartender Craig Nelson located on King Street. The cocktails lean toward the classic and the snacks are eclectic (pickled eggs and meatballs?). Sit in the window and watch the passers-by as you enjoy a selection from their drink menu.
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Walk into The Belmont, and you feel instantly removed from the tempestuous scene of stumbling undergrads on Upper King. Owner Mickey Moran has created a sophisticated bar where cocktail nerds and novices can gather to taste new and classic creations. No matter your level of libation knowledge, Moran and his team can probably give you a taste of a novel creation or little-known liquor.
The Cocktail Club
When you enter The Cocktail Club, it's like you've been allowed to peek inside a super exclusive libation den. Exposed brick, dim lighting, and spacious leather couches give off a rich, members-only vibe. They've got an extensive liquor library and creative concoctions to choose from.
The Gin Joint
The Gin Joint is one of the first cocktail bars in Charleston, and they revamp their menu every season. This fall/winter, the liquid potions are divided into spirit types, with an entire section dedicated to absinthe-based libations for those looking for something a little different. If patrons aren't sure what they'd like to order, they can go with the "Bartender's Choice" and chose from a long list of adjectives, like "tart," "strong," and "fizzy," to describe the type of drink they'd like.
Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge
Tiki bars are making a comeback across the country, but Avondale's version has been around for a decade. Voodoo offers all sorts of island-inspired temptations as well as tasty bar snacks. You don't have to order the 32 ounce flaming punch bowl, but why would you not?
Co-owners of Warehouse, James Groetzinger and Joey Rinaldi, want their guests to have a good time, whether your idea of a fun evening is a rollicking DJ party or an easy-going dinner paired with thoughtful cocktails. Many menu libations utilize local spirits, like the Home Town Fizz, a combination of High Wire gin, Luxardo, blood orange, and a splash of Prosecco.
Go for the tacos but stay for the creative Mexican-influenced cocktails at the latest Neighborhood Dining Group restaurant Minero. Try the Mr. Niebla with mezcal, aperol, lime, and grapefruit soda. The frozen El Satánico hits the spot as well.
The Park Cafe
Co-owner Xan McLaughlin is a veteran of the Charleston cocktail scene and is using his years of experience to create thoughtful drinks to pair with chef John Amato's plates. Ask for a Apricot Sour, made with brandy, apricot liqueur, and a Malbec float.
Newcomer Union Provisions is anchored by one of the most fetching bars on King Street. The bartenders mix up the classics, like a Pimm's Cup or the Corpse Reviver #2. There's also a few newbies, like the Rum Refashioned or the UP Lemonade with a chamomile-infused tequila.
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