Charleston’s Rooftop Bars & Restaurants
December 20, 2018
You can’t beat Charleston’s rooftop views. The city’s downtown is surrounded by water on three sides, which means it’s hard to find a bar or restaurant in the Holy City that doesn’thave stunning views. Check out some of our favorite rooftop bars in Charleston that offer great views, classic lowcountry food and refreshing cocktails.
The Aqua Terrace Roof-Top Bar offers one of the best views of the city. Located west of Downtown Charleston and overlooking the Ashley River, this rooftop bar is one of the best spots to head at sunset. Even if there’s a slight chill in the air, the fire pits and heaters will keep you warm as you sip South Carolina-themed cocktails, such as the Charleston sparkling tea and nosh on tacos, sliders and flatbreads.
Like the Aqua Terrace, the Pavilion Bar is located on the top floor of a hotel. This is the spot you head if you want to see and be seen. In the summer, the pool is open, and you can float during the day or relax with views of the Ravenel Bridge at night. Snack on jumbo shrimp satay, duck confit nachos and crabcake salad while you take in the Charleston night sky.
This 1930s-themed bar and rooftop patio offer 360-degree views of the city. Sip frozen Bellinis, frose and wildflower whiskey sours. Just because this bar is swanky doesn’t mean they don’t offer a great happy hour! Monday through Thursday you can snack on spinach and artichoke dips, crabcake sliders and baked oysters for under $10.
If you happen to be in Charleston during one of the few cooler months, head to Eleve. This rooftop bar and restaurant are located inside — but still offer great views of the city thanks to the glass windows surrounding the bar. If the weather does happen to be nice, you can opt to chill on the outdoor patio. You’ll enjoy a full menu here, including oysters on the half shell, carpaccio and seasonal fish dishes.
This rooftop bar offers possibly some of the most spectacular views in Charleston. Located in the French Quarter, the Vendue overlooks the harbor, Patriots Point and the Ravenel Bridge. Specialty cocktails include a Pimm’s cup, a cranberry Moscow mule and a moonshine margarita. The bar also features some light bites, including a Korean steak salad, shrimp sliders and deviled crab fritters.
This chic hotel rooftop bar features elevated Southern cuisine and classic cocktails. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating with a view, where you can enjoy a raw bar, salads and small bites. Menu items include deviled eggs, fried Brussels sprouts and smoked pork tacos. The bar also hosts a burger night on Mondays, live music on Tuesdays and half of select wines on wines-day-Wednesday.
This Folly Beach rooftop bar is all about ambiance. Though it may not overlook the water, its rustic low-key vibe offers the perfect place to continue a casual hang or a day at the beach. You can expect to watch all your favorite teams on the big screen TVs hanging over the bar. Or, just head outside for some great views of the sunset. Menu items include hush puppies, wings, homemade pimento cheese and peel-and-eat shrimp.
Most of the spots on this list cater to wine and cocktail drinkers. The Uptown Social is all about the beer — goodbeer. This alehouse has a rotating selection of drafts as well as a few favorites that are always on tap. Cocktail and wine lovers aren’t left out here, either. They serve up frozen slushies and offer wine and pizza specials all day Monday.
Another spot specially conceived for beer drinkers, the Pour Taproom features over 70 (7-0!) craft beers on their rooftop patio. You order by the ounce instead of the glass here, so you only pay for what you drink. Beers and wines are served alongside a limited menu of small plates.
Charlestonians head to Balao for their extensive raw bar and seafood menu. They also specialize in everything fried: green tomatoes, chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks top the menu. Located only a few blocks from the Historic Charleston Market, it’s easy to get to and has great views of the waterfront.
Sometimes you need a view without the frills. Red’s Ice House’s motto is “Keep it simple.” While the décor is rustic, the food is still darn good. Menu items include peel and eat shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops and fried green tomatoes.
When you want to feel like an A-lister, head to the Cocktail Club. This speakeasy will make you feel like you’re back in the days of prohibition. The house mixologist whips up creative cocktails with names like “Notcha Mama’s Latte” — bourbon, matcha tea, lime, mint and coconut cream. If you head here with a large group, you can even order a punch bowl to share.
Henry’s Bar offers great food, a bohemian ambiance — and (of course) great views. They’re also known for their live jazz music. The restaurant dates back to 1932 and is the oldest continuously run restaurant in Charleston. Their whiskey bar specializes in creative cocktails. Take a seat on the rooftop porch swing and you might think you’ve wandered on to a Charlestonian’s private deck.
If you’re heading out for dinner with kids, the Carolina Alehouse is the spot with a view for you. This Calhoun Street favorite features an extensive children’s menu that features cheeseburgers, wraps and nachos.
If you’re headed to the Isle of Palms for one of the festivals(or even just a day at the beach), make your last stop the Boathouse at Breach Inlet. This is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. The menu features fresh seafood dishes, like scallops and shrimp and grits. Enjoy great views of Hamlin Creek by day and whimsical twinkly lights of passing boats by night.
You can’t come to Charleston without taking advantage of the city’s stunning views. Why not do as Charlestonians do and enjoy them with a cocktail in hand and some classic lowcountry cuisine? For more great views, check out some of the best ways to see Charleston by boat.