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A cocktail at Little Saint
A cocktail at Little Saint.
Mike Ledford

Where to Drink in Charleston Right Now, September 2021

9 of the city's hottest libation menus

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A cocktail at Little Saint.
| Mike Ledford

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Kingstide

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32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492
(843) 216-3832
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There’s plenty of bar space inside and outside at two-story, waterfront restaurant the Kingstide. Cocktails range from the Lowcountry Spritz with Aperol, Luxardo, lemon, and prosecco to the frozen Love Tide with Tito’s vodka, strawberry, hibiscus, and lime.

Mike Ledford

2. Park & Grove

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730 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 410-1070
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With the switch from Park Cafe to Park & Grove, this Rutledge Avenue restaurant redid its bar area to more like spot to saddle up for a cocktail, rather than a coffee bar. The wine list is interesting and the drinks lean towards the classics, with a twist, like the strawberry margarita with chili and Aperol.

Park & Grove bar
Mike Ledford

3. 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 Little Saint
A cocktail at Little Saint.
Mike Ledford

4. 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

5. Lenoir

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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. The Longboard

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2213-B, Middle St
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
(843) 868-8161
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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. The Kingstide

32 River Landing Dr, Daniel Island, SC 29492
Mike Ledford

There’s plenty of bar space inside and outside at two-story, waterfront restaurant the Kingstide. Cocktails range from the Lowcountry Spritz with Aperol, Luxardo, lemon, and prosecco to the frozen Love Tide with Tito’s vodka, strawberry, hibiscus, and lime.

32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492

2. Park & Grove

730 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403
Park & Grove bar
Mike Ledford

With the switch from Park Cafe to Park & Grove, this Rutledge Avenue restaurant redid its bar area to more like spot to saddle up for a cocktail, rather than a coffee bar. The wine list is interesting and the drinks lean towards the classics, with a twist, like the strawberry margarita with chili and Aperol.

730 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

3. Last Saint

472 Meeting St B, Charleston, SC 29403
A cocktail at Little Saint
A cocktail at Little 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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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