Every year, SEWE brings thousands of hungry tourists (and locals) to a festival packed with dogs, kids, and birds of prey. What may sound like a nightmare to some is apparently a heck of a lot of fun for most. While there will be chef demos in Marion Square throughout the fest — check out our top picks — sometimes you just want to kick your feet up in a bar or restaurant after a long day ogling cute dogs.

That’s where I come in. Hi, my name is Connelly and I will be attending SEWE this weekend — to ogle those cute damn dogs. A girl’s gotta eat, and when I’m done cheering on dock dogs and perusing wildlife art, I’ll be ready to chow down. Here’s where I recommend you hit up while in town this weekend.

Near … Marion Square

You’re in the heart of downtown, so the world’s pretty much your oyster here. While most bars and restaurants in the immediate vicinity will probably be packed, these ones should be fairly grab and go.

Kudu for coffee, pastries, a quick pint.

Playa Bowls for something resembling health food.

Chipotle for, well, Chipotle. When in doubt, though, choose local!

If you’re in it for the long haul, sidle up to the bar at Big Gun Burger for a good ol’ fashioned burger and fries. (And a solid craft beer selection).

For a bit of a walk, make your way to Persimmon Cafe (inside of a laundromat on Calhoun Street — an Instagram moment waiting to happen!), or, in the opposite direction, the newly refurbished pizza joint, Monza.


Near Brittlebank Park

Now this spot is not so easy for walking to food spots, so if you’re working with a gaggle of kids and dogs who don’t transport easily, might we suggest just hopping over to the nearest McDonalds?

If you can’t stomach a McMuffin or just don’t want to, go for a locally owned and operated breakfast spot, BKeDSHoP, located in new Brittlebank adjacent West Edge development — go for the truly delightful donuts, stay for the savory pretzels and cold brew.

Other than the donut hole in the wall, most restaurants (other than Mickey D’s, Taco Bell, and Hardee’s) are about a mile away from Brittlebank; you’ll likely be parking a bit of a distance from Brittlebank regardless, so wear your comfiest boots.

For a brisk jaunt you won’t regret heading to the Marina Variety Store for their breakfast, served from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (and until 3 p.m. on Sundays).

For an in and out sandwich or snack, I’d head to Bon Banh Mi or Gnome Cafe (warning, the latter is vegan/vegetarian for all you who lean more toward big game).

If you don’t mind driving over a short bridge then there’s a good chance heading over the Ashley to Waffle House will keep you away from too much traffic. If you’re already in your car, hungry, and headed in that direction, keep going for a treat of a breakfast/lunch at Three Little Birds. Open until 3 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sundays) this booze-free spot serves up some of the best breakfast food in town and is a quick drive from downtown. Early Bird Diner down Savannah Highway is another solid option.


Near the Gaillard Center and Main Library

You’re not far from Marion Square here, so access to chain restaurants and easy in-and-out spots is just a bit of a walk down the street.

If you’re ballin’ out, call Zero George and see if they can accommodate you — you won’t regret it, but your wallet might.

Nearby on East Bay Street you’ll find Saffron, an all-inclusive kind of joint that serves breakfast, lunch, and caffeine.

In a strip across from Saffron you’ll find the delight that is Ted’s Butcherblock (get whatever their special sandwich is) and local chain East Bay Deli (salads, sammies, you know the drill). While I cannot vouch for the sushi at Shi Ki Japanese, I have heard it’s kickass. So, that’s something.

Down to walk a bit? Call ahead to 167 Raw or Cru Cafe to see if they have any open seats; it’s worth it.


Near Belmond Charleston Place

So much of the festival takes place here and wouldn’t you know it, Charleston Place is home to three bars and restaurants: Charleston Grill, the Palmetto Cafe, and the Thoroughbred Club. While none of these options are cheap, they are all delicious. And to say you’ve had a drink at the Thoroughbred Club is, well, cool.

Charleston Place is home to lots of shops, too, so if you need something fancy, from sunglasses to ball gowns, you’re in the right place. Also in the complex is sports bar, Meeting at Market, which has loads of TVs.

If you’re wrangling kids, take them up Meeting Street to Sticky Fingers.

City Lights Coffee has you covered as far as caffeine goes.

And if you need a walk and a stiff, delicious cocktail, make your way to Doar Bros. on Meeting. Order the Bourbon & Clyde and thank us later.


Near the Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes has its own cafe, The Daily at the Gibbes, with grab and go food and drinks.

If you’ve got some time to spare and want a stiff drink, make your way to the Bar at Husk. You probably won’t want to leave.

Get everything from a light salad to a hearty stack of pancakes at Millers All Day, a bit down King Street.

Headed to Broad Street (it’s where a load of art galleries are, so you definitely should)? Go to Fast and French. It may be packed, and that’s OK. It’s as French as you’ll get in this town.

Blind Tiger is another Broad St. establishment worth your time.

East Bay Street is less than half a mile away, so don’t sleep on the offerings here: the burrito at Minero (drool), the oyster shooters at Pearlz (when in Rome), and the craft AF cocktails at Gin Joint.


Near Johns Island County Park

Johns Island is, indeed, an island, so if you’re headed this way for SEWE events, be sure to keep these local spots in mind:

Tattooed Moose is family and dog friendly and serves some of the best duck fat fries known to man.

Grab and go sandwiches and snacks at The Southern General.

Refuel with brews at Low Tide Brewing — check their social media to see what food trucks they may have on hand.

If you want a sit-down dinner, call ahead to newest island establishment, The Royal Tern. They’ve got raw bar offerings galore, friendly staff, and a libations list that will leave you wondering why you ever fought downtown traffic when a place like this exists.

Get your caffeine fix with drive-through coffee spot, Southern Brews Coffee.

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