R Pub

West Ashley, 1836 Ashley River Road


Neighborhood Bar

“Just a cool place.”

With its casual, neighborhood atmosphere and a spacious lounge, R Pub is a good place to drop in for a beer. You’ll find fast, friendly service and a lot of people to interact with on any given night. Pool tables, darts, and video games keep the crowd busy.

PLUSES: $2.50 vodka on Thursdays, $1.50 drafts during happy hour, 18 TV sets, including one massive big screen in the lounge, Touch Tunes jukebox. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

Reel Bar & Sunset Deck @ Charleston Harbor Hilton Resort

Mt. Pleasant, 20 Patriot’s Point Road



A fancy “Captain’s tavern” tucked within a posh hotel on the harbor.

Follow the hallway from the front lobby into a cozy lounge decorated with vintage deep sea rods and reels and framed photographs of fishing champions from the 1930s and ’40s (both from Floridian Tom Rech’s collection). Swivel “captain’s chairs” sit at the simple but handsome wooden bar while plush chairs and couches sit to the other side of the room. It’s a light beer, gin, and scotch drinker’s tavern with a huge two-level terrace and deck with a yard full of palmettos overlooking the U.S.S. Yorktown and Harbor.

PLUSES: Although there’s no smoking allowed, Reel offers six gourmet cigars for sale; six draft beers available in frosty glasses (including Palmetto Pale and Warsteiner Dunkel), decent happy hour deals (5-8 p.m.) with a dollar off bottled beer and well drinks, the menu also includes fine scotches and whiskeys, cognacs, specialty frozen drinks, a spicy Bloody Mary, Grand Margaritas ($14), a rummy Harbor Punch, and Mojitos, extremely friendly service from locals clad in blue uniform polo shirts. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Richard’s Bar & Grill

Mt. Pleasant, 2237 N. Hwy. 17


Biker Bar

The most laid-back roadhouse east of the Cooper.

Flung out on the far side of Mt. Pleasant’s Highway 17 just across from Boone Hall, this rustic little tavern is a genuine redneck bar that welcomes all types — from local bikers and beach bums to neighborhood couples and barflies.

PLUSES: No happy hour (“Everything’s already so cheap!” says Jane), three domestic beers on tap, two pool tables, pinball, Galaga, one dartboard, brand new country ’n’ rock jukebox, greasy bar grub ‘til 10 p.m. or so, dusty outdoor seating off the gravel driveway. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Rooftop Bar

at Vendue

Downtown, 23 Vendue Range



Live music, overlooking Charleston Harbor.

The view here is great from any angle. The Rooftop offers perfect views of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s churches as well as most of East Bay and Waterfront Park and is a great location to map out your walking tour or just kick back and drop a two mini-bottle shot of “Rock Candy.” Noshes include beef tenderloin sandwiches, shrimp wraps, and BBQ pork. Heaters and outdoor fireplaces will get you through the cooler months.

PLUSES: Phyllis, “the fun mom-type, everyone loves her and she loves everyone” and Andrew, “smooth with everybody,” live acoustic rock, blues, and bluegrass, an ATM conveniently located on the bridge bar. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

Salty Mike’s

Downtown, 17 Lockwood Dr.



The place to go whether you’ve been out on the water all day or just wish you had.

The deck at sundown, with the water lapping at the rocks, and the boats in the distance: This is why you live in Charleston, right? People dropping by for a drink may have sailed in to deliver a boat or perhaps they’ve just finished their medical school boards. Salty Mike’s, with its premium location and laid-back appeal, remains an undisputed Lowcountry institution.

PLUSES: Bartenders Shawn and Rick are “the cornerstones of good service” and Jacob is the “go-to guy,” $4.75 Bud Light pitchers and $6 Yuengling pitchers, $1 mystery beers on Fridays, live music. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

Sand Shack

N. Charleston, 5090 Ashley

Phosphate Road


Neighborhood Bar

Young North Chuckians, no mullets, just shaved heads.

Up in the no-man’s land of Ashley Phosphate, nestled next to Frankie’s Fun Park, sits the Sand Shack. It’s a big space with a comfy black-lit bar, and lots of tables and chairs located strategically for taking in your favorite band or laughing your ass off at your best friend’s karaoke attempts at “Cheap Sunglasses.” There’s friendly bar service of your standard selection of beers and liquors to build your courage to grab that mic, too.

PLUSES: Southern Comfort shot promotion (SoCo & Bailey’s?!?), wings, sammiches, and poppers on the menu, three pool tables, karaoke, and disco dance lessons on Tuesdays. (—Scott Goodwin)


Downtown, 276 King St.



A great place to start your date.

Well-known for elegant and tasty dishes, Sermet’s also has a popular bar that’s perfect for waiting diners and for those who want a bona fide meal with their drinks. Many patrons come sit and eat at the bar, which is nice for those nights you want to go out solo and grab a bite. The restaurant is a great balance of casual and dressy, sans pretense.

PLUSES: A large wine selection and knowledgable servers, two different sets of food specials daily. (—Sara Miller)

Shem Creek

Bar & Grill

Mt. Pleasant, 508 Mill St.



Just up the lane from Coleman, this is a true creekside bar atmosphere for the genuinely “local” drinker.

Low-key hangout for older taverngoers, boaters, and people from the “true” Mt. Pleasant. The inside bar is shaped like the bow of a boat with three beers on tap and two TVs. The oyster bar in the back has more privacy than the restaurant bar and is decorated with various fishing and oarhouse gear. General Manager Steve Smith, a trained sommelier and Johnson & Wales graduate, runs a tight ship and offers a massive list of wines and specialty drinks. Just outside the oyster bar stands another small deck with a mini bar, open on weekends in warm weather.

PLUSES: Oysters on ice, great Bloody Marys and rum drinks (try a “Shem Killer” with pineapple and nutmeg), “adult milkshakes” with vanilla ice cream and liquors, well-poured pints, dollar off all beer and liquor during happy hour from 4-7 p.m. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Silver Dollar

Downtown, 478 King St.


Watering Hole

A big room that packs up quite nicely when the crowds are out.

The Silver Dollar is something of a Charleston legend, thriving for years before Upper King Street became the hot new district. It’s mostly a college crowd that fills this giant room (there’s no place to hide in here), coming for the cheap Jäger bombs ($7.50 with a half can of Red Bull), live music, and two pool tables in the back. There are no happy hour specials because they don’t open ’til 8, but they’ve got a good draft selection.

PLUSES: NTN trivia, which is free, and the distinction of being one of the few places in town with cider on tap. (—Sara Miller)


James Island, 1175 Folly Rd, Ste. G


Sports Bar

A serious sports bar with a sense of humor.

This small pub might be located in a strip mall, but it has personality to spare. Decorated with a score ticker board, a ton of bar games, and enough televisions to outfit all of Rhode Island, this is a place to watch the game — and maybe snack and drink a bit on the side. The live entertainment (karaoke, live music) is dictated by the game schedule, but you can always occupy yourself in the meantime by trying every shooter on the bar’s lengthy list.

PLUSES: Game schedule on the wall, South Park pinball, $2 rum on Wednesdays and $2 bourbons and vodkas on Tuesdays. (—Shawnté Salabert)

Snapper Jack’s

Folly Beach, 14 Center St.


Sports Bar

Two levels of sports action and post-beach babe watching.

If Folly Beach has a 20-something hangout, this bi-level bar is it. Downstairs, patrons sneak off to the semi-separate game room area or belly up to the bar to show off their tans and order from a summery shooter menu. In the balcony-like upstairs area, hungry college students and beachgoers snack on sushi three nights a week and watch the game on an infinite number of satellite-enabled televisions plastered to the wall. On either floor, the view is pretty interesting.

PLUSES: Sushi by Lisa three nights a week, $1.50 drafts during happy hour, shooter menu, sense of humor (bathrooms say “Buoys” and “Gulls”). (—Shawnté Salabert)

Southend Brewery and Smokehouse

Downtown, 161 East Bay St.


Neighborhood Bar

Spacious, beamed tavern and brewery featuring some of the cleanest hand-crafted ales and lagers in town.

Housed in a handsome, red brick building on lower East Bay Street, the upscale brewpub and restaurant really gets it right when it comes to hand-crafted ales and lagers. Brewmaster Jay Cook works from an impressive copper mash tun and lauter tun placed prominently in the middle of the main room (five handsome stainless steel holding tanks stand over the main bar). Inconsistencies in quality, especially with the lighter beers, have hurt the brewery’s rep, unfortunately. Plus, the emphasis these days from the nonchalant staff seems to be on tolerating tourists rather than serving the local beer fans.

PLUSES: Pints of malty, homebrewed beers (the darker English-style ones, anyway: Stout, Porter, India Pale Ale, and Altbier), a rotation of seven to eight beers on tap daily, seasonal styles, big dinner menu. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Sportz Cafe

N. Charleston, 3025 W. Montague Ave.


Sports Bar

A home away from home for the dedicated sports fan.

Sportz is a huge place, not so much a bar as a fantasy gymnasium for grown-ups (minus the annoying coach). There’s a central bar island with TVs mounted directly in each barstool’s sight line; this place actually has 57 TVs total, including five huge projection screen televisions. In case your team isn’t playing up to par, there are many other diversions in the dimly-lit alcoves — Golden Tee 2005, air hockey, foosball, Daytona USA, Shoot to Win, even an old Street Fighter II video game!

PLUSES: A free shuttle for customers to Coliseum events, food discounts with a Stingrays ticket stub, and AIR HOCKEY! It’s harder to find in this town than you’d think. (—Sara Miller)

Station 22

Sullivan’s Island, 2205 Middle St.


Neighborhood Bar

A brassy little lounge at the top of the stairs from Middle Street.

This cozy and relatively quiet U-shaped bar sits at the entrance to the seafood restaurant at the top of two sets of stairs and past the old waders and fishing nets on display. Named for one of several stops for the trolley car line that ran the length of the island at the turn of the last century, Station 22 keeps a traditional Lowcountry island bar atmosphere and clientele.

PLUSES: The bar opens at 5 p.m. and runs a simple happy hour until 6:30 p.m. with a dollar off everything, nice menu of martinis, scotches, ports, and brandies, Elvis Presley jukebox, hundreds of framed historic photos of Sullivan’s Island on the walls, ultimately a quiet destination for those who seek refuge from the louder bars up the block. (— T. Ballard Lesemann)

Sunfire Grill & Bistro

West Ashley, 1090 Sam

Rittenberg Blvd.


Neighborhood Bar

Sizzling hot bistro just a mile shy of the Cosgrove Bridge.

The patio and interior digs are smooth and polished: just the place for an after-work happy hour rest stop. The food and beverage crowd knows this one well. Sandwiches, omelets, and, no surprise, a full line of crash-hot grilled entrees makes this a great place to eat as well as drink. Look for “super server” Chad at your service behind the bar and Bobby, straightening his bow tie, ready to assist with his friendly, hands-on management style.

PLUSES: Acoustic guitar on Wednesday nights, bluegrass on Thursday, and a good local mix of bands on Friday and Saturday. Half-price appetizers and $2.50 house liquor during happy hour. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

T-Bonz Grill

Downtown, 80 N. Market St.


Neighborhood Bar

Where the pros on the bar staff make a tourist feel at home.

Just inside the Market Street entrance and past the antique wooden horse stands a nice, cozy bar area where patrons can get away from the din in the dining room and the crunch of tourists in the street. Genuinely helpful bartenders pour from behind the shiny wooden bar sitting beneath exposed brick and open beams.

PLUSES: Seven quality beers on tap, a nice variety of microbrews and imports, nicely presented cocktails, decent wine selection, happy hour from 4-7 p.m. features half-priced appetizers, $2.50 pints (including “house” ales contract-brewed in Myrtle Beach) and $2.75 well drinks. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

T-Bonz Grill — Mt.P

Mt. Pleasant, 1028 Johnnie

Dodds Blvd.


Neighborhood Bar

The place to go for cocktails and brewskis after a long day at the office.

A nice side bar adjacent to the busy steakhouse with a lot of elbow room and relaxed elegance, serving mostly professionals and neighborhood folks. They also offer daily specials, a half dozen high-quality beers on tap (including a homebrewed selection from brewmaster Dave Kasack), a variety of microbrews and imports, and a good wine selection.

PLUSES: Happy hour from 4-7 p.m. featuring half-priced appetizers, $2 home-brewed pints, $2.50 commercial pints, $3 bottled imports, and $2.75 well drinks, Thursdays offer $6 pitchers of house-brewed ales, full menu ‘til 10:30 p.m., breezy patio seating available all year. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

The Terrace

ON Marion Square

Downtown, 145 Calhoun St.



The premium place to take in the sunbathing sea of beauty at

Marion Square over drinks.

Up here — that’s where the music you keep hearing is coming from: take the lift all the way to the top for patio-style furniture and just enough cover overhead to keep you in the shade, should you prefer. Or take a seat in the full sun and lean back, drinking down your Southern Nights. Either way, the view is spectacular.

PLUSES: Sunday Blue Jean Brunch, “personable and energetic” C.J. serving up Terrace martinis and specialty drinks, black Angus, oyster poboys, and grilled shrimp pizzas, Chef Dave is always happy to work with a special order. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

Thee Southern Belle

N. Charleston, 2028-B Pittsburgh Ave.


Strip Club

The largest “totally nude” club in town.

This place is the size of a small airplane hangar. Situated in an industrial neighborhood up King Street Extension, there’s nothing fancy about the building’s facade. Things are well-kept inside, though. It’s a BYOB situation for patrons. There are three stages and plenty of “exotic” dancers.

PLUSES: Totally nude “entertainment,” campy tackiness, VIP rooms, parking service, black lights. Open until 3 a.m. on the weekends. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

TJ & Tommy’s Guitar Bar and Grill

N. Charleston, 6610 Rivers Ave.


Neighborhood Bar

Slightly steppin’ out neighborhood folks.

It was once Henry’s Uptown, then American Biker Bar, and now it may have finally hit its stride. Pre-gussied up with wood, good lighting, and classy tables and chairs, TJ & Tommy’s serves up drinks and grub with friendly, professional service from Craig, Shannon, and others, and reasonable prices. Music runs the gamut but mostly features rock on the heavier side, with a large stage in the middle of the place for the mostly local crowd to lounge and enjoy — what else? — lots of live music.

PLUSES: Bartender Craig, with tri-braided beard, and Shannon, full menu, and regular live music. (-—Scott Goodwin).


Downtown, 160 Church St.



Transcends its hard-earned rep as a tourist trap.

When there’s plenty of staff this is a welcoming pub full of character. Some locals swear by it, attracted by the layout, location, and live music. But when they get unexpectedly busy and overwhelmed, be prepared for bland food, dirty restrooms, and a surly server or two.

PLUSES: The site (handy for the Market) and the desserts, 16 beers on draft, menu of Irish specialties, and $1 off well drinks during happy hour (5-7 p.m.), Irish music courtesy of Steve Carroll and the Bograts (Thurs.-Sat.). (—Nick Smith)


Downtown, 545 King St.



The place to be if you are (or want to feel like) one of the beautiful elite.

The latest addition to Upper King Street’s evolving carnival of carnality, Torch feels like a singles bar and opium den sharing space with a high-end brothel. Velvet drapes, bed-sized couches, hookah pipes, antique mirrors, and a fashion-conscious crowd make for an urbane marriage of dark, decadent comfort and metropolitan sophistication. Svelte manager and bartender Jessica McGee sets the standard for her clientele: an ultra-hip set nodding to trip-hop, downtempo techno, and breakbeat, lounging at the long copper bar and dark back room beneath stylishly erotic artwork, sipping on champagne and specialty martinis like Original Sin and the Sextini. Still in college? Don’t expect to get in.

PLUSES: Pianist Todd Urban and honey-voiced chanteuse Erin Armstrong set a sexy, loungy mood on Tuesday evenings. You can also rent your own hookah pipe and tobacco in flavors like sour apple, mint, and mango. (—Patrick Sharbaugh)

Toucan Reef

Downtown, 360 Concord St.


Dance Club

New on the scene and already turning it out.

With Ras Dave running Thursday, DJ Moo Moo holding court on Friday, and Luigi Bravo turning everyone into crazed Latin dancers on Saturday, nightlife at this waterfront nightspot has exploded. With a distinctly Miami club feel and a whole slew of designer drinks, we expect good things from this newcomer for a long time to come. Given the drink called Antifreeze on their menu, nestled squarely between the Shipwreck and the Jamaican Ten Speed, reasons to frequent this hot locale are numerous indeed.

PLUSES: Dancing, waterfront patio seating, exotic drinks, and classy bar snacks like edamame ($5) and ceviche ($8). (—Ida Becker)

Trayce’s First String

West Ashley, 1561 Sam

Rittenberg Blvd.


Sports Bar

A modern, multi-purpose sports bar and game room.

On the fancier end of sports bars, Trayce’s features a roomy, sparkling main bar area of stainless steel and glass with high tables, plenty of elbow room at the tidy bar, comfortable benches, and an adjacent fun room filled with old and new-style games. The friendly bar staff in the black polo shirts work beneath three large plasma TVs and in front of a sizeable aquarium, and glass shelves filled with athletic figurines and paraphernalia.

PLUSES: Six pool tables ($1 a game), air hockey, shuffleboard, two dart lanes, Golden Tee, Turkey Hunting (video), Galaga, Ms. PacMan, live music five nights a week in the front foyer by the projected TV screen, karaoke on Wednesdays, good happy hour deals 4-7 p.m., eight beers on tap, bartender Matt says “Challenge me!” on a drink recipe. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Trio Club

Downtown, 139 Calhoun St.


Dance Club

This hip nightspot is hot with young professionals who want to unwind.

The club’s name — and reputation — comes from its triumvirate of distinct sub-clubs: the outside patio, the downstairs dance club, and the second floor lounge. All three offer a variety of music — dance/hip-hop DJs upstairs, dance/R&B bands downstairs. The crowd is always dressed up more than at the usual haunts and toward the end of the night you get the feeling that some of them can’t wait to whip those snazzy threads off.

PLUSES: Secluded patio, comfortable furniture upstairs, quasi-mod décor. (—Shawnté Salabert)


Downtown, 215 East Bay St.


Neighborhood Bar

An East Bay hotspot heavily geared toward the younger set.

If your taste in hooch leans toward sake shots, Natty Lights, and Jäger bombs, if you weren’t born anytime before, say, 1982, and if you think the U.S. Custom House is an awesome backdrop for a conversation, then you’re definitely in the right place. This sushi restaurant and bar is strong on the basics — a heavy regular college crowd, inexpensive drink specials, and a centralized location. But don’t go into Tsunami expecting to see anything exotic except for the fish in the large central tank and perhaps a few of the hot cocktail waitresses. Feel free to smoke up.

PLUSES: Happy hour 4:30-7 p.m. deals include 1/2 price sake, $1.50 domestic beers, $2 house brands, $2 Yuenglings all the time, $5 specialty martinis. Monday F&B night: 1/2 price all food for F&B employees; Tuesday & Sunday: $2 selected sushi specials; Wednesday: $1.50 vodka. (—Patrick Sharbaugh)

Upper Deck Tavern

Downtown, 353 King St.


Watering Hole

Never underestimate the power of theme nights and unpretentiousness.

The Upper Deck Tavern is located down a dingy alley and up some funky-smelling stairs, but like most of the best things in life, these outside appearances cloak a treasure. Welcoming freaks, geeks, losers, and the socially unacceptable with open arms, the Upper Deck is one of the most fun bars in town. Cullen, the lead singer of GNR Lies, slings drinks behind the counter and helped come up with some of the innovative theme nights; the last Wednesday of each month is Casino Night, featuring blackjack, poker, craps, roulette and prizes, plus the chance to win $100 in a no-limit Hold ‘Em tournament at the end of the night. On the last Sunday of the month, come out from 4-8 p.m. for half-price happy hour, 4 hours of unadulterated half-price bliss — every drink in the bar is half off, even the Remy Louis XIII cognac (normally $500)!

PLUSES: No social pressure, $10 pizza and PBR pitcher deals at happy hour, Tuesday DJ nights, Casino Night, monthly half-price happy hour. (—Sara Miller)

Vickery’s on

Shem Creek

Mt. Pleasant, 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane 884-4440


The elegant and relaxed creekside lounge and deck on a scenic spot.

Tucked back behind the Shem Creek hustle and bustle, this popular restaurant and lounge features a roomy, wood-paneled lounge and wraparound deck facing the creek and the marsh grass leading out to the harbor. The Shark Fin side bar sits across the other side of the busy restaurant. A smaller downstairs deck with oyster roast and grill facilities is available below the main deck. Beautiful and sturdy iron patio furniture lines the deck; plush red booths and seats surround the mahogany horseshoe-shaped bar. A young staff in black Vickery’s T-shirts serve from an extensive bottled beer selection, five drafts (Yuengling is popular), two dozen wines (red, white, and sparkling), and a healthy menu of rums, tequilas, and vodkas.

PLUSES: The happy hour — known as “Nasty Hour” — runs from 4-8 p.m. with $1.50 domestics and $2.50 well drinks, full menu ‘til 1 a.m., “beer of the month” specials, jazzy music over the stereo, mixed clientele of older and younger patrons, stunning views of the sunset. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

The Village Tavern

Mt. Pleasant, 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 884-6311

Music Venue

An unpretentious bar and grill that just happens to be one of the most vital live music venues in town.

Voted “Best Mt. Pleasant Bar and Staff,” the Tavern keeps things simple during the day with seven beers on tap and an extensive list of bottles, imports, and micros, plus food that brings the locals out for lunch. Sixteen bar stools line the V-shaped bar in the front room while tables and booths sit across the side music hall. Framed band posters and flyers are hung across the room. The VT is also a major supporter of live local and independent music.

PLUSES: Lots of parking, separate bar area away from the din, dozens of bottled imports and micro-brews, two pool tables, two video trivia games, PGA Championship Tour, Silver Strike video bowling, outdoor seating, pinball, Team Trivia on Tuesdays, “Mt. Pleasant Car Bomb” shooters for $8, great band schedule. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)


Downtown, 14 North Market St.



Long on style and taste.

From the saffron-colored walls and subdued female nudes adorning them, this urban oasis is off the beaten track. From behind the bar, owner Kevin dispenses choice vino recommendations (when asked) and subsequently pours some of the healthiest glasses of wine we’ve seen. Twinkling sounds of Ella Fitzgerald and the like dance through the air, while luxurious burnt orange column lights and white votives lend a soft and romantic hue to this intimate date location.

PLUSES: Wine, high quality meals, upstairs seating, live music on occasion. (—Ida Becker)

Wally Gator’s

West Ashley, 1662 Savannah Hwy.


Watering Hole

A loud and boisterous spot where West Ashley celebrates the end of a work day.

Located in the far end of the Olde Town center on Savannah Highway, this cool old tavern gets things going during happy hour and stays good ’n’ rowdy through the night, curse words and laughter fly in every direction. Wally Gator’s attracts a wide range of customers, both young and old, but keeps a working class vibe from week to week.

PLUSES: Open from lunch ‘til 2 a.m. every day, happy hour offers cheap domestics pulled from an antique ice chest “centerpiece” behind the horseshoe-shaped bar, greasy menus featuring various wings and fried fare, two pool tables, Golden Tee, weekly backgammon and dominos nights, live music twice a week. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)


Downtown, 61 State St.


Neighborhood Bar

Forget domo origato and konichiwa. All you need to know is banzai!

Paper umbrellas, Japanese lanterns, origami swans, and kimono-wearing college coeds give Wasabi a veneer of sushi bar authenticity, but the overwhelmingly college-age crowd (on evenings anyway) says all you need to know about this middle-of the-Market hotspot across from the Lil’ Cricket. Belly up to the sushi bar (conveniently situated next to the other one), where specials are scrawled on a blackboard in genuine Japanese, and scarf back a sake/sashimi combo to get your night started right.

PLUSES: If sushi, tempura, and Yuengling draft aren’t your thing, you can step across the street to the Lil’ Cricket for a Honey Bun and a Bud. (—Patrick Sharbaugh)

Water’s Edge

Cabana Bar

Mt. Pleasant, 1407 Shrimp Boat Lane 884-4074


A fancy but inviting little deck bar across from the roar of Red’s.

The Cabana Bar is an unbuttoned version of the formal bar just inside the Water’s Edge restaurant. The gray deck with wood stripes and a rectangular bar overlooks the creek directly across from Red’s Icehouse and draws a scotch and martini crowd of tourists, upper classmen, and country clubbers. It’s a warm accompaniment to the “casual fine dining” inside.

PLUSES: Terrific views of the water, laid-back bar staff, free parking (watch for potholes), happy hour from 4-7 p.m. with a dollar off most beers and cocktails, lengthy wine list (wine tastings on Thursdays), specialty martinis (the chocolate one is a hit in cooler weather). (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

West Wings

West Ashley, 1401 Sam

Rittenberg Blvd


Sports Bar

Upscale sports bar and restaurant, with a mix of West Ashley sports fans of all ages.

Hidden in a large shopping center on Sam Ritt, WW is a large, good-looking sports bar, with a huge menu, lotsa cold beer, good service, and enough TV acreage to find anybody’s game. This place is one of the few places in town with NTN “Texas Hold ‘Em” (no limit, natch) — you can play against your fellow bar patrons on the TVs with the trivia controllers of old. This place deserves to be popular.

PLUSES: 20 oz “pints”; $3.50 “mini pitchers” for happy hour. Large full menu, daily blue plate specials, wings, pizza, burgers, calzones, salads and more. Golden Tee 2005 and SilverStrike Bowling. (—Scott Goodwin)

WILD Wild Joker

Downtown, 1337 King St. Extension 722-9206

Strip Club

Going on 40, this “topless”

dance club is something of a

ocal treasure.

The little red ’n’ checkerboard building just up the way from upper King Street features topless dancers performing on two stages. It’s nicer inside than one might imagine, with a tidy checkerboard-mirrors decor, and a full bar to the immediate left from the black-painted entrance hall.

PLUSES: No dress code, cheap cover charge, Pam oversees happy hour from 4-7 p.m. with 75¢ Busch drafts and $3 well drinks, daily drink specials, video monitored parking, five small VIP rooms, video poker, video trivia, live DJs on at 8 p.m., always hiring “beautiful ladies!” (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Wild Wing Café — Market

Downtown, 36 N. Market St.


Neighborhood Bar

Get back to basics with an unpretentious crowd of booze lovers and live rock listeners.

Smack dab in the middle of the Market, Wild Wing’s specialty is about as difficult to guess as whether the Birkenstocked, ponytailed, low-slung jeans-wearing girl taking your order has a tattoo of a snowflake on her lower back. Wild Wing is the kind of restaurant that becomes a jam-packed bar once the evening kicks in. Best known as a place for beer (21 brands on draft), an aggressively casual atmosphere, and live local rock music, each location has a slightly different crowd.

PLUSES: No need for hair gel here. Catch acoustic rock every Monday and Tuesday, live local rock Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday is karaoke night. (—Patrick Sharbaugh)

Wild Wing Café —

Mt. P

Mt. Pleasant, 644 Coleman Blvd.


Neighborhood Bar

Great music, legendary wings … a Lowcountry staple.

This bar has it all — great food served late, live music, trivia, cold beer, drink specials, patio seating — a night out in Mt. P. isn’t complete without a stop at Wild Wing. Sports fans and shaggers alike will enjoy this all-around fun bar. Live music includes beach music, ’80s and ’90s cover bands and other local and regional acts. Extensive sports packages, like the NFL Sunday Ticket, guarantee your team will be on at least one of the bar’s many TVs.

PLUSES: Wild Wing is a favorite for hungry F&Bers, with a full menu served ’til midnight and wings and apps ’til 1 a.m. (—Kristen George)

Wild Wing Café —

N. Chuck

N. Charleston, 7618 Rivers Ave.


Neighborhood Bar

All-purpose restaurant, sports bar, music venue — you name it, they’ve got it.

It’s Wild Wing — you know they’ve got wings, as well as all the usual munchies, and the bar is an integral part of the experience, too. Eighteen taps and a bunch of bottles serve to wash down your “Chernobyl” wings or fried shrooms, with $1.75 domestics for happy hour and half-price apps. Eight TVs all but guarantee you’ll find your game, and there’s lots of live tunes for those off-season nights.

PLUSES: Happy hour (4-7 p.m.) features half-price apps, $1.75 domestics and $3 imports, live music, and wings in about a zillion different flavors. (—Scott Goodwin)


Isle of Palms, 1008 Ocean Blvd.


Music Venue

A longtime island hangout where you can have a “jam good time.”

Sixteen years after Hugo destroyed the original Windjammer, the resurrected version of the club is still kickin’ ass with a rowdy crowd of regulars and tourists. The roomy bar room is just up the steps from the Ocean Blvd. commercial scene. Bonafide islanders sling ice-cold beer and bourbon drinks from behind the long, zig-zag bar to the right. Live bands set up three to four nights a week on the stage to the left. Sand covers the worn, wooden floor beams.

PLUSES: A longtime supporter of live rock music, outside deck overlooks a beach volleyball court and the Atlantic Ocean, two Golden Tees, two pool tables, two dart boards, a “wall of shame” fake ID display behind the bar, cheap burgers and grub, an impressive display of autographed cracked cymbals hanging along a wall, killer happy hour beer specials. (—T. Ballard Lesemann)

Wolf Track Inn

West Ashley, 1807 Parsonage Road


Biker Bar

The Poker Run stop on Highway 61.

A parking lot jam-packed with Harleys lets you know when the boys (and gals) are back in town, sometimes for a live band, other times just to hang out on the patio downing a few cold drinks. A clean, sturdy, and no-nonsense place to enjoy good food and beverages while watching NASCAR.

PLUSES: The “little Spitfire” Ryner and “the quiet blonde bartender” Sarah handle the distribution of refreshments, daily lunch specials and live music three nights a week, open mic on Wednesdays. (—Jason A. Zwiker)

Yo Burrito

Mt. Pleasant. 886 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.


Neighborhood Bar

Cold beer, spicy food, and Ms. Pacman.

Hungry for a bit of Mexicana? Dos Equis drafts, killer fish tacos, and some of the best burritos this side of the border make Yo Burrito a perfect happy hour destination. “Extreme Happy Hour,” from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, features $1 Dos Equis and $2 margaritas. During the entire happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays), enjoy $2 Corona and Corona Light and $5 double margaritas served in Mason jars and take a trip back to your childhood with Ms. Pacman, Frogger and Tank Attack video games.

PLUSES: Low on cash? The Hall of Fame of Cheap Beers is calling your name. For just a buck, you can have your choice of several fine beverages, including Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Olympia, Shaefer, Old Milwaukee, and Miller High Life. (—Kristen George)