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A very large tiki drink.
The Mistletoe-to-Toe cocktail at Sippin’ Santa.
Sippin’ Santa

Where to Drink in Charleston Right Now, December 2021

11 of the city's hottest libation menus

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The Mistletoe-to-Toe cocktail at Sippin’ Santa.
| Sippin’ Santa

There's a wealth of opportunities for imbibing in Charleston, but where to find the latest and greatest? The newest and hottest? Here's an updated Cocktail Heatmap of places to visit for a down a few as soon as happy hour hits. While this map focuses on restaurants and bars that have opened within the past year, we've also included some older establishments undergoing a new heatwave thanks to recent changes to their cocktail menus or bar program.

We've also included some newer wine and beer bars for those not in need of a super stiff drink. Go out and try somewhere new this week — perhaps you'll find a new favorite libation or bartender in town.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Paddock & Whisky

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1074 E Montague Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 203-4238
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Brown liquor bar Paddock & Whisky now has a second location for fans of the original James Island address. The new outpost has loads of cocktails from beverage manager Caroline Woodruff and a larger food menu with pairable items selected by Home Team BBQ chef Taylor Garrigan. 

Outside of a building with Paddock & Whisky sign.
Outside the new Paddock & Whisky.
Paddock & Whisky

2. Last Saint

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472 Meeting St B
Charleston, SC 29403

Meeting Street bar Last Saint is quickly becoming the see-and-be-seen spot in Charleston. Fans of veteran bartender Joey Goetz (the Belmont and Bar George) pack the space for a chance to order a cold brew coffee cocktail with oat milk and Irish whiskey or one of the best martinis on the peninsula.

A cocktail at Last Saint
A cocktail at Last Saint.
Mike Ledford

3. The Tippling House

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221 Coming St
Charleston, SC 29403

Sommelier Matt Conway and fiancé Carissa Hernandez came to Charleston by way of New York and opened open wine bar the Tippling House. Billed as a “a wine place for everybody,” the menu allows customers to purchase any bottle by the carafe, which helps folks try new varietals that may not typically be sold by the glass

A round sign that says Tippling House
Signage at the Tippling House.
Mike Ledford

4. Sippin’ Santa

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549 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Limited-time pop-up Sippin’ Santa took over the former King Street Public House space. The bar offers Christmas-themed tiki drinks, like the Kris Kringle Colada and the Yule Log Grog. Sippin’ Santa runs until the end of December.

5. Maya

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479 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

The back patio of newcomer Mexican restaurant Maya is the new place to see and be seen on King Street. The resort-style space turns into a dance party complete with a DJ, frozen drinks, and swinging settee perfect for Instagrams.

Outdoor tables surrounded by greenery.
Patio bar at Maya.
Mike Ledford

6. Laurel

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161 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 974-5159
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Sleek new pintxo spot Laurel carries plenty of wine bottles from Spain and Portugal, along with a full bar. Pair those drinks with dishes like lamb meatballs, grilled octupus, and marinated mussels.

restaurant interior Mike Ledford

7. Lenoir

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68 Wentworth St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 534-9031
Visit Website

The bar is the main character in the Lenoir dining room with bright yellow seating wrapping all the way around counters. The cocktails are fun with plenty of Southern touches, like the Spittin’ Image, which is bourbon, blueberry barbecue shrub, and lemon, or a martini with pimento cheese-stuffed olives named the Backhanded Compliment.

8. Little Palm

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237 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

Located on the second floor of the newly renovated Ryder hotel, Little Palm greets guests with a vintage South Beach vibe. Fun tropical drinks are perfect for an Instagram photoshoot by the sparkling pool. The bar comes from hospitality group Gin & Luck, which are the same proprietors of world-famous Manhattan bar Death & Co.

Little Palm
Mike Ledford

9. Big John's Tavern

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251 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401

Dive bar Big John’s Tavern is back as a more grown up version of its original rowdy self. Now the bar offers sophisticated cocktails, local beers, killer food, and a soon-to-open speakeasy.

A Summer Zest cocktail at Big John’s.
Mike Ledford

10. Bar Vauté

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1 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401

There’s a hidden cocktail spot underneath the almost-open Brasserie la Banque. Enter the door on the East Bay side of the historic building at 1 Broad Street and go down the stairs to find basement lounge Bar Vauté. The Art Deco room houses an intimate bar surrounded by small tables meant for sharing drinks and food from the limited menu, like caviar service or steak frites.

Find Bar Vauté under Brasserie La Banque

11. The Longboard

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2213-B, Middle St
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
(843) 868-8161
Visit Website

A 9’6” turquoise longboard hangs over the U-shaped bar at Sullivan’s restaurant the Longboard to set the scene for a beach-y, tropical, boozy time. There’s everything from a frozen Painkiller to the Wadma-Law-Breaker with tequila and wtermelon agua fresca.

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1. Paddock & Whisky

1074 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
Outside of a building with Paddock & Whisky sign.
Outside the new Paddock & Whisky.
Paddock & Whisky

Brown liquor bar Paddock & Whisky now has a second location for fans of the original James Island address. The new outpost has loads of cocktails from beverage manager Caroline Woodruff and a larger food menu with pairable items selected by Home Team BBQ chef Taylor Garrigan. 

1074 E Montague Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405

2. Last Saint

472 Meeting St B, Charleston, SC 29403
A cocktail at Last Saint
A cocktail at Last Saint.
Mike Ledford

Meeting Street bar Last Saint is quickly becoming the see-and-be-seen spot in Charleston. Fans of veteran bartender Joey Goetz (the Belmont and Bar George) pack the space for a chance to order a cold brew coffee cocktail with oat milk and Irish whiskey or one of the best martinis on the peninsula.

472 Meeting St B
Charleston, SC 29403

3. The Tippling House

221 Coming St, Charleston, SC 29403
A round sign that says Tippling House
Signage at the Tippling House.
Mike Ledford

Sommelier Matt Conway and fiancé Carissa Hernandez came to Charleston by way of New York and opened open wine bar the Tippling House. Billed as a “a wine place for everybody,” the menu allows customers to purchase any bottle by the carafe, which helps folks try new varietals that may not typically be sold by the glass

221 Coming St
Charleston, SC 29403

4. Sippin’ Santa

549 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Limited-time pop-up Sippin’ Santa took over the former King Street Public House space. The bar offers Christmas-themed tiki drinks, like the Kris Kringle Colada and the Yule Log Grog. Sippin’ Santa runs until the end of December.

549 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

5. Maya

479 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Outdoor tables surrounded by greenery.
Patio bar at Maya.
Mike Ledford

The back patio of newcomer Mexican restaurant Maya is the new place to see and be seen on King Street. The resort-style space turns into a dance party complete with a DJ, frozen drinks, and swinging settee perfect for Instagrams.

479 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

6. Laurel

161 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403
restaurant interior Mike Ledford

Sleek new pintxo spot Laurel carries plenty of wine bottles from Spain and Portugal, along with a full bar. Pair those drinks with dishes like lamb meatballs, grilled octupus, and marinated mussels.

161 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

7. Lenoir

68 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401

The bar is the main character in the Lenoir dining room with bright yellow seating wrapping all the way around counters. The cocktails are fun with plenty of Southern touches, like the Spittin’ Image, which is bourbon, blueberry barbecue shrub, and lemon, or a martini with pimento cheese-stuffed olives named the Backhanded Compliment.

68 Wentworth St
Charleston, SC 29401

8. Little Palm

237 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401
Little Palm
Mike Ledford

Located on the second floor of the newly renovated Ryder hotel, Little Palm greets guests with a vintage South Beach vibe. Fun tropical drinks are perfect for an Instagram photoshoot by the sparkling pool. The bar comes from hospitality group Gin & Luck, which are the same proprietors of world-famous Manhattan bar Death & Co.

237 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

9. Big John's Tavern

251 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
A Summer Zest cocktail at Big John’s.
Mike Ledford

Dive bar Big John’s Tavern is back as a more grown up version of its original rowdy self. Now the bar offers sophisticated cocktails, local beers, killer food, and a soon-to-open speakeasy.

251 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401

10. Bar Vauté

1 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401
Find Bar Vauté under Brasserie La Banque

There’s a hidden cocktail spot underneath the almost-open Brasserie la Banque. Enter the door on the East Bay side of the historic building at 1 Broad Street and go down the stairs to find basement lounge Bar Vauté. The Art Deco room houses an intimate bar surrounded by small tables meant for sharing drinks and food from the limited menu, like caviar service or steak frites.

1 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401

11. The Longboard

2213-B, Middle St, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482

A 9’6” turquoise longboard hangs over the U-shaped bar at Sullivan’s restaurant the Longboard to set the scene for a beach-y, tropical, boozy time. There’s everything from a frozen Painkiller to the Wadma-Law-Breaker with tequila and wtermelon agua fresca.

2213-B, Middle St
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482

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