By Bartender Drew Childers
Living in Charleston has no shortage of perks. The weather is great, the beach is close by, the food scene is incredible, and the people are as friendly as you'll find. While hospitality is a long standing tradition here in Charleston, I've found in my twenty years in the bar business that having a drink or two certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to getting to know your neighbors, as well as welcoming people coming from all over to appreciate all that our town has to offer. So it helps that Charleston has great places to imbibe with friends new and old.
I've heard Charleston referred to as a drinking town with a history problem. I don't know about that, but I do know there are no shortage of great places to have a drink and let the stress and pressures of the day melt away, and no shortage of fantastic bartenders making fantastic concoctions for you to enjoy.
At Harold's Cabin, our cocktails, like our food, focus on seasonal fresh produce. We use whatever is coming out of the earth at any time of the year infused with spirits to create what we hope is a unique drinking experience that will keep you interested and curious all year long.
247 Congress Street, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.793.4440 | www.haroldscabin.com
CHARLESTON | A Drinking Guide
Bartenders are getting more and more creative with the cocktails they are serving these days and I'm always curious to see what my favorite women or men behind the bar have come up with next. The greatest cocktail in the world doesn't add up to anything though if the room you're sitting in has no atmosphere, ambiance, or whatever you want to call it. I need interesting people to talk to, or at least interesting people to watch. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite spots in Charleston. I'll see you at Happy Hour. Cheers!
Grab a seat by the window and watch the action out on King Street while sipping a cocktail. This is a great little oasis right in the middle of bustling Upper King Street. Owner Craig Nelson is constantly whipping up some really incredible cocktails, and I'm always curious to see what he's got up his sleeve when I sit down at his bar. Like many Southerners, I'm partial to bourbon and Craig is a master at working with this spirit. Try the De La Louisiane or just tell the staff your favorite spirit and trust them to create something you'll love.
437 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.793.1422 | www.charlestonproof.com
Just a block or so off King street, Warehouse is a great bar with good food and a solid cocktail list. James and Joey, the owners, have created a really welcoming, fun environment. There's a pool table, shuffle board, plenty of beers on tap and on weekends they have live music or DJ's spinning tunes. This is my number one place for Sunday brunch, period. It's hard to find a more welcoming spot. (Full disclosure: James opened a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle for us to enjoy at his Christmas party, so I may be a bit biased here.)
45 Spring Street, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.202.0712 | wearewarehouse.com
People sometimes forget about this little gem hidden away on Society Street and, as a patron, I'm ok with that. Muse is a restaurant and bar hidden away in what was once a classic Charleston single style home. The food is fantastic, but what really brings me in is their incredible wine list. With 80-something wines by the glass and who knows how many more by the bottle, this is my go to spot when I'm craving a glass of vino. Muse attracts a very eclectic and interesting clientele and with an intimate bar that sits about ten to twelve seats, expect interesting conversation as you enjoy thatglass of Ripasso or Sancerre.
2 Society Street, Charleston, SC 29401
T: 843.577.1102 | charlestonmuse.com
This place is relatively new to the scene and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. Their bourbon and whiskey selection is incredible and Teddy behind the bar is one of the best bartenders in Charleston. Whether I'm here with buddies drinking bourbon or with my wife having cocktails, Teddy always has great recommendations and creates fantastic cocktails. I advise just telling Teddy what you like and watch him go to work. You won't be disappointed. Add an indoor bocce court, arcade games, a free jukebox, jello shots (?!) and you're in for a great time.
701 E Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.793.2636 | www.mercandmash.com/bar-mash
This is my local spot and for my money there is no better neighborhood bar in all of Charleston. This is the place my friends and I go to watch any sporting event. The food, while basic bar fare, is great. They've got plenty of beers on draft and pour a generous shot of your spirit of choice.
What really makes this bar however are the people, both working behind the bar and patronizing it. The staff has been here forever and they always remember you and your drink of choice. You'll find everyone from "Joe Hardhat" to an attorney in a bowtie sitting beside each other at the bar. If Charleston has a Cheers, in my opinion, this is it.
714 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.641.0469 | www.moescrosstowntavern.com
They have forty-eight beers on tap, some of which they brew themselves. Head bartender Jayce McConnell is right there at the forefront of the cocktail culture in Charleston and I have never been disappointed when sampling any of his creations. Their wine list is also great. Put simply, if you can't find something you like to drink here, you need to take a good hard look at yourself.
1081 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403
T: 843.727.1145 | edmundsoast.com
This place is a relative newcomer to the Charleston bar scene and is quickly gaining notoriety for not only their stellar views of the rooftops and church steeples of downtown Charleston, but also for their craft cocktail selection. If you're visiting the Holy City, you owe it to yourself to see its beauty from one of our great rooftop bars and The Watch is as good as it gets.
75 Wentworth Street, Charleston, SC 29401
T: 843.518.5115 | www.therestorationhotel.com
About Bartender Drew Childers
Drew Childers is the bar supervisor at Harold's Cabin in Charleston. Childers says he enjoys giving people a chance to escape the stress of their everyday lives and relax with a well-made drink.
"I started tending bar twenty years ago in Raleigh, NC, at a local college bar. The owner of the bar hired me to help out college night. I moved to Dublin, Ireland, after graduation and tended bar at a couple of Dublin pubs for almost a year. After I came back to the States, I worked briefly as a paper salesman, then quickly came to my senses and started working at a club in Baltimore, MD, called Have a Nice Day Cafe. I moved to NYC in 2002 and continued working in the bar business, working in stints at bars such as Joshua Tree, Mercury Bar, St Dymphnas, and Brother Jimmy's. After moving to Charleston in 2013, I worked at Muse for three years before making the transition to Harold's Cabin."
Discover our 24-Hour FED Guides
FED Charleston Features