Charleston Nightlife

For a midsize city, Charleston has a surprisingly varied and sophisticated arts scene, though the city really shines during its major annual arts festival, Spoleto Festival USA. Still, throughout the year, there are ample opportunities to explore higher culture, from productions by the Footlight Players and PURE Theatre, to the concert schedule at the historic Charleston Music Hall.


nightlife scene is similarly comprehensive, with nocturnal venues for all ages and tastes. If your image of Charleston is a buttoned-down town with men in seersucker suits and bow ties, think again. That may have been an image of Charlestonians in decades past—and light blue seersucker still makes frequent summer appearances—but that oldster can probably still out-dance his fraternity son and knock down his share of bourbon along the way.

Although some of the nightlife can be rowdy and more youth-oriented, there are options from jazz lounges to dance clubs. And here the nightlife begins at happy hour, which can start as early as 4 pm. Several bars and restaurants have incredible happy-hour deals, and a night of barhopping generally includes grazing on small plates. If you see long lines outside a place, you can usually assume that the crowd is young. Long lines can also mean that there is a popular band playing, like at the Music Farm.

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Charleston Nightlife

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Southend Brewery & Smokehouse

  • Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

Towering over a bustling corner in prime tourist territory, this three-story brick restaurant has a lively bar serving beer brewed on...

Spirit of Carolina

  • Themed Entertainment

Dine and dance the night away aboard the wide-beamed, motor yacht Spirit of Carolina . Dinner is three or more courses and includes...

The Belmont

  • Bars/Pubs

This place doesn't seek attention—heck, it won't even list its phone number. But with a soaring tin ceiling, exposed-brick walls, and...

The Cocktail Club

  • Bars/Pubs

This establishment characterizes the craft cocktail movement with its "farm-to-shaker" seasonal selection of creative concoctions. The...

The Griffon

  • Bars/Pubs

Dollar bills cover just about every square inch of the Griffon, helping the bar achieve nearly legendary status around the city. It's...

The Rooftop

  • Bars/Pubs

Have a cocktail and appetizer as you watch the colorful sunset behind the church steeples. There are actually two bars at this venue...

The Royal American

  • Bars/Pubs

This place isn't really a dive bar—it just looks like one. The establishment features dim lighting and an expansive deck that backs...

The Windjammer

  • Music Clubs

An oceanfront bar with well-known rock bands performing on the raised stage, the Windjammer attracts a mix of young people just out of...

Tommy Condon's

  • Music Clubs

Enjoy Irish music by local group, the Bograts, on Thursday through Saturday at this rollicking pub. If you're hungry, dig into the Irish...

Trio Club

  • Dance Clubs

Funky sounds from the '70s and '80s mix with the latest club anthems at this perennially popular dance club. Listen to the cover bands...


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