This past weekend we took a trip to Charleston and I just have to share this amazing city with you all. Thankfully we are only two hours from the beautiful SC coast which means a trip to Charleston has been on our radar all summer. This was our third trip to the Holy City and there is still so much we haven’t tried. We actually got engaged in Charleston two years ago! See the post here.
Before a trip I love to research all the options for food and drinks in the area and to be honest Charleston can be a little overwhelming with so many amazing options. I highly recommend booking reservations at least a week in advance and two weeks for the more popular places. I recommend using Resy or OpenTable. Throughout this post, I will share with you the fantastic places we have tried and where we would if there was more time in a weekend!
This trip we stayed at a vacation rental off of Upper King Street that was a fantastic location for walking to restaurants and bars at night. When planning our trip, I made sure I chose restaurants within walking distance because parking in downtown Charleston is almost impossible. We have also stayed at the Homewood Suites right off King St, that was perfect for a group weekend. Also, upper King street had some amazing nightlife and was way less crowded than the Historic District and Bay Street areas during the day. I know that there are some fantastic places to eat in the surrounding areas, but I wanted to keep this post strictly for those planning a trip to stay downtown Charleston.
We kicked off the weekend with cocktails at Felix (pictured below) then made our way down King St for dinner at The Darling Oyster Bar. To be honest, we wished we had stayed at Felix for dinner and were quite disappointed with Darling. They did have $1 oysters though that were very fresh. Felix is a small plates and cocktail bar and everything there looked amazing.
Here are some other places with Friday Happy Hour specials that were next on our list:
- HoM– (Upper King) Sports Bar with food & drinks specials from 4-6
- Indaco – (Upper King St) Italian hot spot with half off pizza & drink specials M-F from 5-7pm
- Amen Street– (Bay St) M-F 4-7 at the bar only. Fresh oysters, bites, and drink specials.
- Canon Green- (Cannonborough) Wed-Sat 5-7 at the bar.
- Warehouse– (Cannonborough) Mon- Fri 4-7 $5 house cocktails & pints
- Felix– (Upper King) Drink specials at the bar only
- Pearlz– (Bay St) M-F 4-7 Oysters, bites, & drink specials
- Darling Oyster Bar- (King St) $1 Oysters & $1 off drink specials
- Uptown Social– (Upper King) 4-8 Half priced bar & bites
Love fresh Oysters? Here is a great blog post on the best oyster happy hours around Charleston! If you’re into views more than happy hours, check out one or many of the beautiful rooftops in Charleston like The Vendue, Restoration Hotel, Stars Rooftop, The Watch Rooftop, Citrus Club at The Dewberry, Pavillion Bar, or the ever so swanky Eleve Rooftop.
Brunch in Charleston
Brunch in the south is an absolute must during any weekend trip.
Saturday & Sunday Brunch
- Prohibition (Upper King) $$ 11-2 | Reservations
- Felix (Upper King) $$ 10-4 | Reservations
- Poogan’s Porch (French Quarter) $$ 9-2:30 | Outside Seating | Reservations
- Fleet Landing (French Quarter Bay) $$ 11-3 | Outside Seating | Reservations
- SNOB “Slightly North of Broad” (Bay St) $$$ 11:30-2:30 | Reservations
- 82 Queen (French Quarter) $$$ 10-3 | Outdoor Seating | Reservations
- Henriettas (French Quarter) $$$ 10-3
- Low Country Bistro (Market St) $$ 10-3
- 5Church (Bay St) $$ 10-4 | Reservations
- Uptown Social (Upper King) $
- Millers All Day (French Quarter) $ 7am-8pm
Sunday Only Brunch
- Blossom (French Quarter) $$ 10-3 | Reservations
- Darling Oyster Bar (King St) $$ 11-2 | Reservations
- Magnolias (French Quarter) $$ 10-3:30 | Reservations
- High Cotton (Bay St) $$$ | Reservations
- Five Loaves Cafe (Cannonborough) $ 10-2
- Husk (French Quarter) $$$ 10-2:30 | Reservations
- Canon Green (Cannonborough) $$ 10:30-2:30
- 39 Rue de Jean (Historic District) $$ 10-3 | Reservations
On Sunday we went to Five Loaves Cafe (pictured above). We had eaten here in the past and had to come back. They do not take reservations for brunch but they open at 10am and will likely be packed within 20 minutes on the weekend. The menu doesn’t show it but they do have mimosas, bloody Mary’s and a full juice bar. It is very casual and located a few blocks from King St and totally worth a visit! Not big on brunch? Grab a southern breakfast from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for a quick bite at this famous eatery.
Dinner in Charleston
Fear not, you cannot go wrong eating in Charleston. The real problem is choosing which restaurant you want to try in your short time here. Like I said above, if you have a group of people, you definitely need to make reservations for dinner or there will likely be a 2 hour wait. You might be able to to wing it if there is just two of you, but that’s up to you.
We have eaten at Poogan’s Smokehouse which was fantastic, PawPaw which had incredible shrimp linguine, and SNOB that is a classic Charleston favorite. We recently had the pleasure of eating at Husk for the first time and it was definitely an experience of southern hospitality. The portions are small, but the service and food are unlike any place else. If the weather is nice, hit up one of the rooftop bars before dinner. Here’s a great list of rooftop hot spots.
Here’s a small glimpse of some of the restaurants that have outstanding reputations in the area:
- Husk– (French Quarter) $$$ | Reservations
- Poogan’s Porch– (French Quarter) $$ | Reservations
- 5Church– (Bay St) $$$ | Reservations
- Zero Restaurant & Bar– (Bay St) $$$ | Reservations
- 167 Raw– (King St) $$
- LeFarfalle– (Harleston) $$
- Herd Provisions– (Citadel) $$$ | Reservations
- Indaco– (Upper King) $$ | Reservations
- Lewis BBQ (East Central) $
- Juan Luis (East Central) $
- 39 Rue de Jean– (King St) $$ | Reservations
- Xao Bao Biscuit– (Cannonborough) $$
- Chez Nous– (Cannonborough) $$
- Felix– (Upper King) $$ | Reservations
- Magnolias– (Bay St) $$$ | Reservations
- Blossom– (Bay St) $$ | Reservations
Planning Your Trip to Charleston
Just like planning a trip to New York City, you need to determine what area you want your base to be. While it is not quite as vast as NYC, Charleston is still pretty spread out and parking is impossible, so you are likely going to be walking to and from. From upper King St all the way down to The Battery is about 2 miles long. Another key detail for us women that love to dress up, a lot of the sidewalks are either brick, cobblestone, or just uneven. I really don’t recommend wearing heels if you’re going to be walking around the city. There are so many fun things to do and amazing things to taste there is no doubt you will have an amazing trip.
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