the local girls’ guide to a night out in Charleston!

Just like they say in the real estate biz, going out in Charleston is all about location, location, location! Because there’s so many niche neighborhoods offering their own vibe and blend of urban southern charm, it helps to start with a tentative plan to hit multiple places in a night. Charleston is a surprisingly big city, so this is a great way to minimize the cost of Ubers or avoid walking in the blistering summer heat (or lately, the winter chill). In these Night Out Guides, we’ve selected a few restaurants close in proximity and uncompromisingly distinctive in what they offer, so you can enjoy a unique night catered to your mood and make the most of your time in the holy city.

48 hour charleston itinerary, what to do in charleston sc
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Upper King Street

Drinks: Felix or Bourbon n’ Bubbles

Appetizers: Wine & Co

Dinner: Fuji

Get rowdy: Uptown Social

Upper King is a special place. Nestled almost exactly between Cannon St and Spring St is an abundance of bars and restaurants, many of them having opened within the past few months! Get a drink at French-inspired restaurant Felix or bougy Bourbon n’ Bubbles (both complete with Happy Hours). Walk a block over to Meeting St and have a cheese or charcuterie board at Wine & Co, then back over to Fuji for sushi. The two light dishes fill you up perfectly so you can finish your night at Uptown Social. If they look busy, don’t worry—there’s a whole upstairs, including a rooftop bar.

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Wentworth Street

Drinks: Circa 1886 Restaurant

Appetizers: Basic Kitchen

Dinner: The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

If Circa 1886 looks a little far on Wentworth—it’s worth it. Get there early before this small bar fills up because their “$7 Before 7:00” happy hour is such a steal. Then head over to Basic Kitchen for amazing cocktails or appetizers like buffalo chicken cauliflower. Across the street, take the Restoration Hotel elevator up to their rooftop restaurant, the Watch (they have an amazing deal on Veuve Clicquot for Wine Wednesday) and enjoy the breathtaking views of Charleston.

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Market Street

Drinks: The Spectator Hotel

Dinner: 5Church Charleston

Get rowdy: Henry’s Restaurant, Bar & Night Club

Drink masterfully crafted specialty cocktails while sitting on the plush couches of the Spectator Hotel bar. Pick from a plethora of food options at 5Church under the cathedral ceilings. Then, you’ll never get bored at Henry’s as you choose between the leather-bound whiskey lounge, multiple rooftops, and bumping night club.

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Upper Upper King

Pre-dinner drinks: Graft Wine Shop

Appetizers: Little Jack’s Tavern

Dinner: Melfi’s

Dessert: Leon’s Oyster Shop

Get rowdy: The Recovery Room

Little Jack’s classic tavern is the king of small plates. Garlic knots, brussels sprouts, and more, and you can even get a mini 4 oz tavern burger. Cross the street and get carb-wasted at Melfi’s with bruschetta, pasta, and pizza. At Leon’s, order a typical Southern dessert of fried chicken and oysters. Wait, not everyone does that!? Don’t worry, you can also get a milkshake, soft serve ice cream, or a rosé slushie. Waddle over to dive bar Rec Room for the sticky floors and arcade games that locals flock to.

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NoMo (North of Morrison)

Drinks: Edmund’s Oast Restaurant

Dinner: Lewis Barbecue or Home Team BBQ

Get rowdy: Revelry Brewing Co

Chill on Edmund’s Oast’s delicately lit patio for a glass of wine or a cocktail. Then choose between two amazing barbeque places: Lewis or Home Team. Honestly, it may just depend on the night—Lewis has a different special every day and the wait for a table at Home Team can creep up easily! Either way, just walk a block down the street afterwards to Revelry Brewing for wine or beer at the close-knit bar or up on the spacious rooftop.

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Spring Street

Drinks: Josephine Wine Bar

Get rowdy: Warehouse

Drunk food: D’Allesandro’s Pizza

Start your night with a drink at Parisian, gold-inspired Josephine Wine Bar. Then get down and dirty at Warehouse. If you’re like me and trying to avoid the line, be sure to get there before 10. After you’ve danced and checked out all the cute boys, head up to D’Allesandro’s for the best drunk food in the city.

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Broad Street

Drinks: Gaulart & Maliclet (Fast & French)

Dinner: Oak Steakhouse or The Establishment

Get rowdy: Blind Tiger Pub

Feel like a Frenchie at Fast & French and get fondue with wine (or come back later for chocolate fondue). This place takes their European roots seriously—you don’t even have to tip! Then SPLURGE on a fancy steak dinner at Oak or seafood at the Establishment. If you’re not in the mood to spend the money, just go straight to Blind Tiger. They have plenty of plates, like the Pub Burger or Truffle Duck, in addition to their expansive courtyard bar.

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Johns Island

Drinks: The Royal Tern

Dinner: Wild Olive

Desert: Fat Hen

Get rowdy: Tattooed Moose

Or chill: Low Tide Brewing

This list is solely what I would do, but on Johns Island, you pick the order. Go to the Royal Tern for seafood, Wild Olive for Italian, or Fat Hen for French Lowcountry cuisine. It’s all about what you’re in the mood for that night, including what happens after dinner. Go to Tattooed Moose and write on the tables in Sharpie or chill at a picnic table at Low Tide Brewing. Charleston is your oyster!!