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Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Pack Up + Go and the Ryder Hotel! I recently enjoyed a Staycation experience with Pack Up + Go in Charleston and was able to enjoy a few of the bars on this list thanks to their curated itinerary and recommendations. As always, all opinions written here are my own.
Meet: Pack Up + Go, the Ryder Hotel, and the Little Palm Bar
Thank you so much to Pack Up + Go and the Ryder Hotel for sponsoring this blog post about the best rooftop bars in Charleston, along with other Charleston cocktail bar recommendations. Pack Up + Go is a Surprise Travel brand that plans trips all around the United States. They offer Plane Trips, Road Trips, and Staycations. I was fortunate to experience a Staycation with Pack Up + Go in Charleston, South Carolina… where I’ve been living for the past 1.5 years! Before my Staycation experience, I completed the Pre-Trip Survey to make note of the activities I enjoy and provided a budget. Pack Up + Go took care of booking everything!
Although I knew I was staying in Charleston for the weekend, everything was a surprise, including the hotel, dinner reservations, and activities. I was overjoyed to see one of the activities on the itinerary was a 60-minute massage! Pack Up + Go provides curated recommendations for each Trip, based on the Pre-Trip Survey answers that travelers provide. Each Trip is truly curated to each traveler’s preferences.
The Ryder Hotel ended up being the perfect “home away from home” for the weekend. It’s such a charming boutique hotel located right on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston. It had such chic decor, complimentary coffee and tea, and a fun pool deck where the Little Palm Bar is located.
The Little Palm Bar converts into the festive “Little Pine Bar” during the holiday season. During the month or so of this holly jolly pop-up, the bar hosted a Polar Plunge event series. I had the honor of attending and it was SO fun. Although a “polar plunge” in South Carolina is a far cry from the one’s I’m used to in New England, this event was super cool. Picture: cannonball competitions, festive cocktails, fake snow, giant ornament pool toys. If you find yourself in Charleston this winter season (or next), be sure to swing by this festive pop-up at one of Charleston’s cocktail bars! Whether you end up visiting Charleston with Pack Up + Go or not, also consider staying at the Ryder Hotel for your visit.
Best Charleston Cocktail Bars
Little Palm Bar
The Little Palm Bar is a breezy, poolside cafe and cocktail bar offering vibrant cocktails and small plates at the charming, boutique Ryder Hotel located in downtown Charleston. During the holiday season, this bar converts into a festive pop-up called the “Little Pine Bar” and hosts events like the Polar Plunge every year. I was lucky enough to check out this event for myself a few weeks ago and had a blast! More about the sponsor of today’s post, the Ryder Hotel, above!
Camellia’s Champagne Bar
If an all-pink champagne bar is on your bucket list, a visit to this place is a must. Located within the lobby of Hotel Bennett, this luxury champagne and cocktail bar is perfect for bachelorette parties and girls nights. They also do high tea ceremonies and even though this hour is costly, it was such a luxury experience.
Your classic cocktail lounge. Tucked up a set of stone stairs off King Street, Cocktail Club is similar to a speakeasy. It’s classy, a bit mysterious, and always has a fun crowd. There’s a small deck up here too, and depending on the night – the lounge area can get a bit rowdy. This spot is one of the best Charleston cocktail bars. Give it a visit, preferably on a Thursday!
Container Bar is exactly what it sounds like… it’s a bar… built out of shipping containers! They host trivia here on Tuesday nights at 7 pm. It’s dog friendly and most of the space here is outdoors.
Island Cabana Bar
For being a coastal city on a peninsula, Charleston doesn’t have nearly enough waterfront dining or bars. Luckily, Island Cabana Bar’s grand opening last year helped solve that problem! Located right at Independence Marina (yes, OBX was filmed here), this little boat shop / dock has turned into a bar offering frose, fried fish, and the best – beer buckets. You can mix and match your brews of choice right from their fridges. It’s so fun on a nice day!
This quaint cocktail bar on Upper King Street has my favorite cocktail in the entire world. Not to be dramatic. I love martinis that are a bit sweet but not overpowering, and the owner Mickey, nailed his delicious custom creation with the Lavender Cypress martini. Try this drink at The Belmont – one of Charleston’s best cocktail bars, you won’t regret it.
Best Rooftop Bars In Charleston
Located on top of the luxury Dewberry Hotel off Marion Square, Citrus Club is a bit pricey but is a vibe. The outdoor roof deck boasts string lights, pink couches, and yummy cocktails. Expect to pay around $15-$20 for a drink up here.
Pro-tip: This place is known for being one of the best rooftop bars in Charleston since it’s centrally located and you get a 360 view of Charleston’s peninsula up here. Be sure to include a visit here on your 3-day Charleston itinerary!
Henry’s Restaurant & Bar
This is no joke, my favorite bar in the entire world. First off, Henry’s is the oldest bar and restaurant in the city, so it’s super historic. It’s also centrally located right next to the historic Charleston market. What makes this bar a true gem, however, is its interior. Henry’s has three floors and 5+ bars. I HIGHLY recommend visiting here on a Saturady night so you get the full effect with all the live music.
The bottom floor typically has an oldies band in the back corner, and lots of dancers wrapped around the center bar. When you head upstairs, you’ll find a cozy Charleston cocktail bar to your left. This is the Whiskey Room – it’s complete with chandeliers that swing, a historic liquor bar, and a live saxophonist who plays every Saturday night. His name is Chris Williams and I truly believe I’m his biggest fan.
To the right you’ll find an outdoor deck and mini staircases taking you down into other bars, bathrooms, and a room that typically has a younger rock, pop, or country band. Upstairs there’s a giant roof deck, complete with more bars and a few swings. It’s such a vibe.
Red’s Ice House
Red’s is one of the best rooftop bars in Charleston’s well-known Shem Creek. It’s a dive bar, but don’t let that statement turn you away. It’s a super fun dive bar with one of the nicest views of the creek / marina. The upstairs bar is small but has the best rooftop bar views in Charleston. The downstairs bar area has the trivia, live music, and food.
Ritual Restaurant & Lounge
Located on the corner of King & Calhoun Streets, Ritual is a brand-new rooftop bar in Charleston that transports you to the heart of Tulum with its greenery, boho design, and modern menu. There’s a restaurant here, but I recommend enjoying the outside rooftop bar for a bird’s eye view over Marion Square, or dancing the night away to the DJ indoors after 10 pm.
Stars is actually a restaurant on King Street, but it’s more well known its rooftop bar than the menu; it has big bar on the roof with a deck that wrap around. Although the views are a bit subpar (Charleston isn’t exactly known for its skyline… Unless you like churches), this rooftop bar is one of the best in Charleston in terms of atmosphere. Plus, there’s no cover!
Vendue is another boutique hotel in Charleston near the waterfront. It has a lively atmosphere upstairs and is one of the best rooftop bars in Charleston. You can see views of the Ravanel Bridge from up here. They have a full bar and tons of tables to enjoy on a nice day.
Wine Bars In Charleston (+ Breweries)
Looking for a wine bar in Charleston, SC? This is the place for you! Located on Lower King, Bin 152 only serves baguettes, cheeses, and meats for food (plus a few truffles), but their wine list is truly never ending. It reminds me of Europe here!
Holy City Brewing
Holy City Brewing is located in North Charleston and is a great space for a date or an event. Each year, Holy City hosts a number of large events including markets, holiday parties, and Oktoberfest! I just went to Oktoberfest this past year and LOVED it. I was surprised how authentic it was for South Carolina. Check it out if you like beer!
Revelry Brewing is located on Upper King and is one of most popping breweries on the peninsula. They also have really great food here – try the sushi from the food truck on the lower floor! Surprisingly, this brewery is also one of the best rooftop bars in Charleston.
Pro-tip: If you find yourself in Charleston on a Saturday and LOVE beer you HAVE to do the Charleston Beer Trolley. It’s FREE!!! This historic trolley brings you from brewery to brewery in the area. Reverly is one of the stops halfway on the list – don’t miss it.
This is another one of the best wine bars in Charleston. Uncork is the only wine bar I’ve ever seen that has wine on TAP! You heard that right – upon arrival, you’ll pay for a debit card that can be used at self-serve wine taps. You just choose the wines you want, insert your card, choose your size pour, and… enjoy! This is a fun place to try new wines as they have an enter wall of reds, whites, and roses.
Wine & Co
In my opinion, Wine & Co is the best wine bar in Charleston. If you ever find yourself in South Carolina on a Tuesday, you NEED to visit here. Each Tuesday, Wine & Co hosts a wine tasting featuring a different region around the world. It rotates by continent and is hosted by an expert somalie, giving you an educational experience. Plus, their cheese boards are to-die-for. The best part? The tastings are only $10 and you can usually try 4-5 different blends.
Clubs In Charleston / Best Places To Dance
Dispensary is one of the top bars to visit in Charleston for bachelorette parties. This bar usually has a live band in the front room for dancing and a very social outdoor back patio to enjoy. There’s an outdoor bar in the deck and multiple palm trees – providing you with the perfect Charleston, South Carolina bar experience.
Prohibition is one of the best places to eat in Charleston, SC during the day and turns into a popping bar at night. Instead of live music, there’s usually a DJ here. Paired with the strobe lights and disco ball, Prohibition makes for the perfect hit-the-dance-floor night out. There’s a more chill bar in the back that is standing room only.
Pro-tip: Dispensary and Prohibition are only a few doors down from each other, so you can visit both! Plus, I’ve never had to pay cover at either. Although that may change depending on the time of year or size of your party.
Republic Garden & Lounge
Republic is another popular Charleston club. This one is located right on King Street and is fun because it has an indoor and outdoor area. Plus there’s a neon sign and string lights…
Pro-tip: If you’re celebrating an occasion, this is the club to pay for VIP in. VIP is the majority of the inside space.
Share House / Bodega
This new restaurant / bar duo was recently established in Charleston by the Uptown Social team (below). This place serves beach bites, cocktails, and has a coastal vibe. If you want to dance, Share House’s floor is the place to be. There’s usually a DJ here and lots of EDM.
Trio is a classic Charleston club. The top level typically hosts ticketed events, but the downstairs has fun DJs, a bar, and a big VIP section. This is probably Charleston’s best nightclub.
Uptown Social is a classic spot of college students, bachelor parties, and a GNO (girls night out). The downstairs has live music on weekends until about 10 / 11 pm when a DJ takes over and turns the bottom level into a Charleston club.
The top level is one of the best rooftop bars in Charleston, not in terms of views but atmosphere. It gets packed up here, always has a game on, and is super fun on Friday nights. If you visit this deck on a Sunday during the day you can also enjoy Uptown’s Sunday Funday.
That’s all for my list of recommendations for the best Charleston cocktail bars, rooftop bars in Charleston, etc. This was the second post in my Charleston Food + Drink series. The first was this best coffee shops + cafes in Charleston blog post, and the third is going to be a huge restaurant round-up, so stay tuned for that!
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