We’re not sure, but rumor has it Charleston’s nightlife began on a Friday night following the arrival of the first settlers in 1670. Since then, the nightlife scene has become legendary in its own right!
Downtown Charleston is a watering-hole wonderland. Every kind of bar or club you can imagine, live music, and, of course, great people. Charleston offers traditional restaurants and pubs and well as an extraordinary offering of al fresco alternatives – both street side as well as on rooftops!
The variety of places you can find downtown Charleston, SC for nightlife is endless. You can go to upscale fancy bars, dive bars, places with dancing, dessert cocktail bars, live music and even a spot where you can bowl if you feel like it. There are two areas of Charleston people generally refer to for a night out - the Market St. area and upper King St. The two spots are just a short distance apart making getting from one to the other part of the adventure!
A leisurely stroll is always the easiest choice in downtown Charleston and for a fun option, hail a bike taxi to take you between the two areas of town or even just to another bar nearby!
What sometimes makes a night go from good to great are the people that you happen to meet while you’re out! Charleston’s renowned affluent culture scene is casually complimented with the youthful zest of the young and lively students from the College of Charleston, Charleston School of Law, and MUSC. It’s invigorating being surrounded by people in their 20’s and 30’s without feeling like you’re strictly in a “college town”. There seems to always be welcoming faces when you walk into a place making it fun and effortless to have a great night out!
One of the best parts of the nightlife in Charleston is the number of places you can go within a relativity short walking distance from one another. The walk to the next spot is nice because you have the old southern feel of Charleston around you, usually accompanied by extremely nice weather - which is always a plus. It’s not uncommon to find a remarkable cocktail bar next to a craft beer spot all along upper King St. Each place has its own unique menu of delicious specialty cocktails which amaze your imagination! Beer enthusiasts will enjoy the selection at many of the bars as well. Choices range from tasty local micro-breweries like Holy City Brewing and Westbrook Brewing to flavorsome craft brews “imported” from the West Coast.
The bars around Market St. are located in the most scenic area of Charleston. As you stroll down cobblestone streets, you’ll find many bars and restaurants are located in old buildings which make for an awesome exterior façade and intriguing interior decor. One particular bar of note is Mad River, which is located in the building housing an old church. Stained glass windows and high ceilings define the décor of this amazing place.
If you’re a lover of live music I highly recommend an evening at Charleston’s Music Farm. It is a smaller music venue located near upper King St that boasts a variety of music types. With over 200 shows a year you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that will leave you with fond memories for years to come!
It’s this type of unique blending of style and character which Charleston manages to incorporate in so many of its restaurants and bars. The old southern charm of the town truly distinguishes it from other cities I’ve been out in.
The incredible scenery, tempting variety of offerings and the historic will never leave you without a topic for conversation in Charleston!
Cool (new/popular spots): The Warehouse, Oku, Vendue Inn Rooftop, Cocktail Club, The Rarebit, Charleston Distilling Co.- hasn’t opened yet but a lot of hype over this place
Different: The Republic because they had their interior designers fly in from Vegas. The Ordinary- fancy seafood spot located in an old bank. Kaminsky’s- small bar that serves desserts and desert drinks until late night
Entertaining (bars with live music): Oku, fish