There aren’t many tall buildings in Charleston, but it seems like all of those that do exist are topped with bars. Because who doesn’t get excited about a rooftop bar? In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these bars will cost you a pretty penny per drink. So save them for a night when you really want to treat yo’self, or, if you’re a high roller, feel free to make yourself a regular.
The Rooftop at Vendue
Consistently ranked the Best Rooftop Bar in City Paper‘s Best of Charleston guide, The Vendue is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The Rooftop at the Vendue serves a full menu for lunch and dinner with views of Waterfront Park, the harbor, and the Ravenel Bridge. Take a seat at a table or in one of the cozy lounges and sip on a specialty cocktail, a craft beer, or one of the bar’s nearly two dozen wines by the glass.
The Watch at Restoration
Tucked just off of King Street, the recently renovated Restoration hotel offers a classy, seventh-floor food and beverage experience in the heart of downtown. Besides breathtaking views, The Watch delivers elevated Lowcountry fare, handcrafted cocktails, beer, and wine.
Though it doesn’t boast the views of some bars located closer to the water, Stars will nevertheless make you feel most like you’re on top of the world. The only covered space on the roof hangs over the actual bar, so all that stands between you and the sky is a whole lot of open air, so, maybe don’t go on a stormy night. If you’re making the rounds on Upper King on the weekend, Stars is definitely worth a stop.
The Pavilion Bar
The Pavilion Bar, which sits atop the Market Pavilion hotel, features a cascading pool that literally glows blue after dark. The views from the Pavilion are some of the most interesting in the city because of the hotel’s proximity to the water and the U.S. Customs House across the street, which gleams a brilliant white light at night.
Élevé is one of the newer rooftop bars in Charleston, and it’s a little different than the others. The main dining room is indoors with large windows so you can take in the view even if the weather is dreary. The large outdoor lounge features all manner of giant, cushy furniture and AstroTurf (yes, really) so that every part of your body has something lush to land on.
Henry’s House was the talk of the town from its opening in the ’30s through the ’60s, and in 2009 it was reinvented as a happening nighttime hangout. The outdoor area has several levels with plenty of seating and rugs that give the open space a surprisingly homey feel.