*I put all of the places we went in BOLD for those of you who just want a list of spots to check out!
We arrived in Charleston at daybreak and drove straight to Battery Park. It was nice to finally stretch our legs and let Luna out to do the same. Battery Park is on the waterfront on the tip of the downtown Charleston peninsula. There are monuments, mansions, and you’re able to see some historical places in the harbor like Fort Sumter. A lot of people were out on their morning runs and walking their dogs even though it was about 30 degrees. The weather was definitely my least favorite part of our trip. We unfortunately arrived there during a cold spell, and they even had snowfall the week after we left!
The Mills House Wyndam Grand Hotel
Luckily, the hotel we stayed at (The Mills House) had a room available for us at 8am which was a major score since check in is usually at 3pm. It felt nice to take a nap and then a hot shower. Connor and I drove twenty hours straight, so we were pretty exhausted. 10/10 Would not recommend.
Goat. Sheep. Cow.
Once we were refreshed, we hopped in a cab over to Goat. Sheep. Cow. There are two locations in Charleston, we walked to the first and realized you we couldn’t actually sit down to eat. So then we headed across town to the second location which was very cute and cozy. It was perfect for the chilly day. We had a sandwich, broccoli and brie soup, and a wonderful charcuterie board paired with some wine of course.
We wandered down King Street, which is a main stop in Charleston. It’s where many of the shops are located along with the bars. Connor and I stopped in a few places, and I picked up a cheap pair of Aldo chelsea boots. I wanted something to walk around in that didn’t have a heel as there are not a lot of smooth streets.
We enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful architecture and wandered around some of the neighborhoods. We had a fun at the champagne hour at our hotel, and meeting some of the other people staying there. Everyone we met in Charleston were so lovely and happy to chat.
We ended our first day with italian cuisine at Juliet. Connor and I were the last customers of the night, so it was fun to have the restaurant to ourselves. The decor is very minimal with greenery here and there, it was dark but they had plenty of candles to keep the vibe going. First of all, our waitress brought bread asap so five stars out of the gate. Our food was very well prepared and so delicious (just look at those flakes of parmesan). We had meatballs, braised short-rib agnolotti, and margherita pizza, and it was just what we needed to refuel from the long drive.
Pounce Cat Cafe
Connor and I woke up early to go find a place to get some tea & coffee. While we were walking, we happened across Pounce Cat Cafe. We were curious and luckily they had two spots open. It cost $15 each and you get a drink and play with kittens and cats for an hour! A quite unexpected yet fun way to start the day. One cat kept pacing the room and then almost fell on a woman from the ceiling...he was my favorite. The cats are available for adoption too, so it was great to support a place that is doing good things!
We headed over to Folly Beach even though it was freezing, just to enjoy the scenery for a little while. The ocean always takes my breath away, and especially when those strong winter waves come crashing in. I would love to head back there in the summer, as there were a lot of fun beach spots and houses that we passed by.
Connor picked our lunch for the day and we went to Lewis Barbecue. Now I’m not a huge fan of BBQ, but this place made me rethink that. All of the meat was cut and prepared in front of us, we ordered a pulled pork sandwich, brisket, wagu beef ribs. Even the fries and mac n cheese sides were mouthwatering. We ate pretty much everything and were completely stuffed when we left, but hey it’s vacation! BBQ convert over here.
Grand Bohemian Hotel
We walked up Meeting Street (another central street with lots of hotels and art galleries located on it) and went to some galleries. We then decide to do Happy Hour at the Grand Bohemian Hotel. This was my favorite hotel we went to, because they had an art gallery in the entrance and an awesome bar/restaurant upstairs and wine bar on the main level. We had wine in their tasting room (they offer blending classes!), and went upstairs for some delicious cocktails. The upstairs is called Eleve and was pretty swanky. The decor is very trendy and they have a lot of art pieces all over the hotel.
Meeting on Market
We stopped to watch some sports and have another drink on the way back to the hotel at Meeting on Market. The place was bustling and had TVs every where you looked. It would be perfect for catching any big games with a beer!
The Cocktail Club
We stopped at the hotel to relax, then headed out to The Cocktail Club to hear some live music and obviously drink some fun cocktails! This bar/lounge is located on the second floor of building and is really just bare bones on the inside. There are a lot of sofas and chairs to sit on and of a main room with the bar. When it’s warmer there is an outdoor space as well. Connor and I ordered "After the Disco" and "Brown Derby" and really enjoyed our drinks. The David Higgins Band was so much fun and the two singers liked to wander all over the place and even climb onto the ceiling. I was trying to get a video on my phone and once I looked up, one of the guys was singing right into my face. Needless to say it was a really fun night with lots of great people watching!
Black Tap Coffee
I had tried to get a Chai multiple times during the trip and unfortunately they were closed or out of the mix. So we walked over to Black Tap Coffee. I should’ve known that they wouldn’t have it there either, but I had a little hope. Fortunately, Connor loves anything espresso or coffee related and he got a cool mint espresso drink! The place was pretty minimal and with a lot of natural light, and it seemed like a place where a lot kids like to study.
After that we walked up King Street once again, and when we were done we headed to 167 Raw. We had a few people recommend this place to us. We got there and there were a lot of people waiting outside which is always a good sign. We had to wait 45 min, so we just sat across the street and basked in the sun that had finally decided to show it’s face! The place seats maybe 20 people and Connor and I were sat at the end of the bar. Probably not great for a group over 4. I had the server pick to oysters for me, we ordered a swordfish taco, ahi tuna burger, and the scallop po' boy. This may have been the best meal we had in Charleston. The fish is so fresh, and everything just melted in our mouths. My favorite was the scallop po' boy. The servers were awesome guys, and one of them gave us a list of places to head to for the rest of our trip.
We headed back to our second hotel to relax before our last big night out. Connor and I decided to do our own bar crawl, because we didn’t want to miss out on anything.
The Living Room
We started at The Living Room which is located in The Drewberry Hotel. The whole places has a sixties vibe that will bring you back in time, while still being the very modern. Our drinks were made to perfection and it was fun to watch people come in and out of the lobby. Side note - it was recently named best cocktail bar of the year (here)!
Republic Garden & Lounge - PARTY
We then headed over to King Street to the Belmont, which is another cocktail bar. However, we noticed this place called Republic the night before and heard live music coming from their outdoor patio. This place is definitely where the party is at. They have a club that opens into a large outdoor space and people were getting after it early on in the night. The music was awesome here too. I wish we had more of this in Minneapolis!
The Belmont was another cocktail bar located on King Street. The bar isn’t very big, but they do have comfortable seating and a black and white film that is projected onto the wall. Our drinks were good, but it was most least favorite spot of the night.
The Vintage Lounge
The Vintage Lounge has more of a sophisticated look and menu. They specialize in wine and champagne and also had a chacuture and fondue menu. While we enjoyed ourselves here, it was really packed! The entire bar and seating area was full, and luckily we caught someone leaving. At one point this guy came with his entourage and tried to order shots (they don’t mess with that here) (but you could just order liquor over ice duh) and he ended up ordering Connor and I tequila on ice as well. Probably where things started heading downhill.
Bring on the dive bars!! We headed to the opposite of sophistication when we reached The Commodore. There was a line outside and made some new friends while waiting. We learned one of the guys Sal, has his own foodiegram @thegrubfather! Seriously follow him for some mouthwatering photos and he has really cool/inspiring insta stories! The Comodore is not on King Street, but only a 5 minute walk. This place has consistently good music, and the night we went did not disappoint! There is plenty of room for dancing and a bar in the back and front. There is even a fog machine to add to the vibe. I would recommend this if you’re looking to have a fun night out with friends.
The Palace Hotel
All I know is that I wish we had gone to this place first, because there are hot dogs in their instagram pictures that look amazing. Epitome of a dive bar, decor is fun - they have a back patio too!
I like to pretend that I don’t have regrets, but the next morning it was hard to hide them. We definitely overdid it, and I would have cut our bar crawl to three spots if I could go back in time. However, we did have the time of our lives and luckily hangovers do not last forever! I did have to drag my rough looking self to get some nourishment for my body. We decided to go to Magnolias which is a Charleston staple. The poor waitress could tell that I was non functional and yet still so kind to me so she gets five stars, plus her name was Ashley. I got a burger (duh) and Connor had their shrimp & grits which is a dish they’ve had on their menu for over twenty years. It's a nice spot, and we sat next to a fun party of 70 year olds celebrating a birthday. I hope I am able to enjoy my 70th surrounded by fun loving people some day. They were hilarious!
Our last stop was at Rainbow Row to see all of the beautifully painted homes. There are a lot of plaques outside of the places in Charleston, and I recommend taking time to read them. This city has so much history. The people are very proud of it, and they really do embody the "southern hospitality" that you always hear about.
WE MISSED THESE BUT YOU SHOULD GO
Husk - Recommend getting a reservation. | The Darling Oyster Bar & they have an awesome bloody. | Carriage Tour or Walking Tour - We bought tickets and didn't make it. :( They have so much history it's a MUST for next time.
Thank you to our friends who gave us great reccomendations! I hope you are able to visit this wonderful city sometime, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!