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Experience North Charleston's Dining and Drinking Hidden Gems

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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When it comes to hidden gems in North Charleston, the list of great places to dine or drink (or both) is formidable. But in this age of farm-to-table emphasis, why not visit the place where many of those eateries — and plenty of locals — get their fresh local produce?

Visiting North Charleston Farmers Market, located at Felix C. Davis Community Center in North Charleston’s popular Park Circle, requires good timing. The market is only open on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., March 11 through Oct. 24. With an abundance of vendors offering up fresh, locally grown produce, along with arts and crafts, kids’ activities, entertainment and — naturally — food for sale, this is a location you can easily spend a fast-moving few hours. Just remember to bring along reusable shopping bags to carry away your treasures.

For delights of the Atlantic Ocean, Marvin’s Seafood at 4334 Dorchester Road is another neighborhood market where you can dine on fresh shrimp, fish and other delicacies or take home prepared dishes or fresh-caught seafood should you want to try your hand at creating a feast. You can also pick up homemade seasonings for cooking — and don’t forget to look for delicious live crabs available in season.

If you're thirsty for local libations, where better to go than one of the local breweries? The greater Charleston area has more than 30 craft breweries, and North Charleston is the site of several of the best. COAST Brewing Co. is one of the oldest in town and offers tours of its facility as well as a large tasting room.

Another favorite is Freehouse Brewery with its scenic location on the Ashley River and beers fashioned with local ingredients. Holy City Brewing has a comfortable open-to-the-outdoors tap room and offers pub food, including boiled peanuts. This fun spot also offers Sunday brunch, brewery tours and live music.

Want a variety of beers to sample? Check out locally owned and operated The Brew Cellar, featuring a hand-selected inventory of bottled beers and beers on tap. Common House Ale Works Park Circle likewise has a tavern feel and a nice selection of beers on tap.

Not really a beer person? Not a problem. For lovers of the grape, there’s Stems and Skins, a high-end natural wine bar that’s earned recommendations from Bon Appétit for its naturally made wines and accompanying Mediterranean plates, cocktails, seafood and more. Accent on Wine is a wine shop and bar with 30 standby varieties. On Thursdays, the bar offers two new wines for sampling.

Also, a must-try for the spirits-loving crowd is Striped Pig Distillery, South Carolina’s first micro-distillery. Take a tour, then sample its variety of rums, whiskeys, gins and vodkas.

You’ve gathered local produce to take home, enjoyed a local seafood dinner and sipped local beers, wine and spirits. What’s left? Why, dessert, of course. The Park Circle Creamery is the perfect end of a culinary-infused day. You'll have your choice of 16 handcrafted flavors so, be adventurous!

Okay, maybe you need more than food and beer; maybe you want a quiet spot for a group getaway. Quarters K was built in 1937 as Charleston Naval Base housing for officers’ families. North Charleston acquired the property in 2013 and redesigned it to create a venue space for weddings, receptions, business meetings and retreats. The property features a full commercial kitchen and a fully equipped bar area; the entire space can be reconfigured to meet your meeting/gathering/retreat needs.

Yes, as with its cousin to the south, there’s more to North Charleston than merely eating, drinking and get-togethers. But those aren’t bad places to start.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.