Gene's Haufbrau owner Jason Stalker said the Avondale establishment is Charleston's orginal dive bar | Photo by Ruta Smith

Sometimes being seated and served at a restaurant table just isn’t the vibe. Sometimes, sitting at a dimly lit dive bar with TVs glowing and music playing as you chat with the bartender is just what you need. 

Check out City Paper’s list of dive bars where you can get a cozy, no-frills meal:

A.C.’s Bar & Grill
467 King St. (Downtown) (843) 577-6742
Acsbar.com

A.C.’s is one of Charleston’s oldest and most notable dive bars. Filled with pool tables and drinks, A.C.’s is where you’ll find many food and beverage industry folks. And industry people know where to find a good place for food. 

Big Gun Burger Shop & Bar
137 Calhoun St. (Downtown)
(843) 789-3821
Bigguncharleston.com

Big Gun has “burgers” in its name for a reason. With unique burgers like the towering inferno made with beef patties, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, queso fresco and habanero slaw or a thin white duke made with mushrooms, bacon, swiss, onions and horseradish. Big Gun also offers non-burger items like hot dogs, nachos and some vegetarian options, too. Come for the burgers, stay for the vibe. 

Cutty’s 
227 St. Philip St. (Downtown)
(843) 724-4111
Instagram @cuttyselliotboroughbar

Cutty’s plays frequent host to local pop-ups, including Weems Ramen, Nixtate and more. It’s a place to find good drinks off the beaten path of King Street and to try new and upcoming food concepts. Follow Cutty’s on Instagram to find upcoming pop-ups. 

Gene’s Haufbrau 
817 Savannah Hwy (West Ashley)
(843) 225-4363

Gene’s Haufbrau celebrated 70 years this past month, and there’s good reason. Not only do they have one of the largest selections of quality canned beers in the area, but the food is also noteworthy. Try a blue plate special like the pot roast; it sounds strange to get pot roast at a dive bar, but you won’t be disappointed. 

Moe’s Crosstown Tavern
714 Rutledge Ave. (Downtown)
(843) 641-0469
Moescrosstowntavern.com

Another staple of Charleston dive bars, the best type of handheld food to eat while intoxicated is offered here: wraps. While Moe’s offers delicious options of standard dive bar food like chicken fingers, fries and burgers, its selection of wraps offer many different flavor combinations. On one hand, take a bite of the savory bronco wrap with fried chicken, ham, bacon, ranch, cheddar and monterey jack while sipping on a cold drink. 

Recovery Room Tavern
685 King St. (Downtown)
(843) 727-0999
Recoveryroomtavern.com

Recovery Room is one of the most popular places to snag a drink in town. Chances are, you’ve heard the name, especially if you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. But while Recovery Room is known for selling massive amounts of PBR, don’t skip out on the food, especially the tater tachos. The potatoes are fried to a golden crisp and drenched in cheese, peppers, onions and jalapenos. Each bite is a flavor bomb. 

The Royal American
970 Morrison Dr. (Downtown)
(843) 817-6925
theroyalamerican.com

The Royal American menu is loaded with fan-favorites like the magic wings (flavored like Cool Ranch Doritos), the pharmacy burger (a double cheeseburger with onions, frenchonaise and relish), chicken cutlet (served as a sandwich or with gravy). Rock out with the bartenders and the weekend bands while chowing down on delicious food. 

Tin Roof
1117 Magnolia Rd. (West Ashley)
(843) 571-0775
Charlestontinroof.com

In addition to Tin Roof’s artsy vibe and music is its delicious food. You can find a Nashville hot chicken sandwich sharing menu space with creative tacos like the loco bez taco made with Korean-battered grouper, gochujang mayo and cabbage.


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