Dining alone doesn’t need to be lonely. Often, it’s an easy way to try some of the most sought-after spots in Charleston. There are plenty of cozy bars and communal counters to visit — and plenty of friendly bartenders and servers if you want to chat. These restaurants make it easy for solo dining.Read More
9 Ideal Solo Dining Destinations in Downtown Charleston
Big bars, small plates, and communal tables make it easier to dine alone
Babas on Meeting
Time for wine? Or is it time for coffee? Babas on Meeting (and Babas on Cannon) can fulfill either craving, along with pastries, a ham on baguette sandwich, or a big salad. The Meeting Street location has more space, so a better chance of grabbing a seat at the handsome bar.
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The knowledgeable bartenders at Edmund’s Oast can steer you through the extensive, beer, wine, and cocktail lists to find a pairing for your order of spicy Korean meatballs, pickled shrimp, fried chicken dinner, or local fish with papaya salad. This spot has a little bit of everything and plenty of bar stools for single diners.
The Grocery excels in highlighting seasonal produce with small plate dishes, so it makes for the ideal place to order two or three items to sample what’s local and fresh. There’s a tucked-away bar and a communal table for diners on their own. Right now, chef Kevin Johnson is putting out barbecue-glazed squash, roasted okra, and green tomato carpaccio.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Rappahannock Oyster Bar not only has one of the best happy hours around but also one of the largest number of bar seats. Grab a stool and order $2 oysters and deals on drinks.
Lenoir draws from celebrity chef Vivian Howard’s home of Lenoir County, North Carolina, so it’s usually full of fans wanting to try her signature blueberry barbecue chicken wings and other fare, but there’s also a large bar planted in the middle of the dining room. Grab a seat at one of the cushy yellow stools and chat with a bartender about the menu.
167 Raw Oyster Bar
The wait for seafood restaurant 167 Raw Oyster Bar is usually long, but if you’re on your own, you can probably squeeze into the long bar for a plate of oysters, a dirty martini (they make their version with tequila), and a lobster roll. Raw bar items are priced individually, so you can build a plate according to your own hunger and preferences. One shrimp and three clams? Sure.
Fast & French
Longstanding cafe Fast & French is a great choice for solo dining because the entire restaurant is a maze of communal countertops. Ask for a seat and listen to the specials of the day (try the coq au vin if it’s on the menu). Most meals come with a soup or salad, so you don’t need a friend to share an appetizer with. The restaurant also stocks newspapers and magazines if you don’t bring your own reading material.
Reservations at FIG are almost impossible, thanks to its stellar reputation, but bar seats are always open for walk-ins. Try to slip in for a lone seat left by an uneven group or other lone customers. This way, you don’t have to share your ricotta gnocchi with lamb Bolognese.
Brasserie La Banque
There’s so many gorgeous historic details to ogle at French restaurant Brasserie La Banque that you won’t mind sitting at the stunning bar by yourself, plus you get to watch the chefs preparing your steak frites or bouillabaisse behind the counter.