There are places to find great craft beers, wines and spirits. There are other places to dine on terrific food, whether gourmet or classic diner fare. And more and more, there are places that do both, and do it extremely well.
In South Carolina, finding a location with that combination is becoming easier as more and more restaurants combine with local breweries, wineries and liquor providers/distilleries to offer a complete dining and drinking experience. Why settle for getting a drink somewhere and then moving on to a place for dinner when favorite eateries now can provide one-stop shopping?
Here are some of South Carolina’s best destinations for great … well, everything.
A whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant located in the historic Brennan Building near the SC Statehouse, Bourbon’s specialty is what its name implies: more than 150 bourbons and whiskeys, plus craft cocktails. The Louisiana-themed menu features shrimp creole, Winter Squash Jambalaya, Vegetarian Gumbo and Shrimp and Tasso Ham Etouffee, plus an assortment of steaks, chops, chicken and quail. Lunch sandwiches include muffuletta, the Bayou Burger (with three cheeses including Creole Pimento), catfish, shrimp and pork Po’ Boys and the intriguing “Debris Po’ Boy.” No reservations taken.
An open, airy dining area features booths, tables, communal tables and the Chef’s Table, offering a view of the kitchen. Specials include charcuterie and cheese plates, Lowcountry farm-raised beef and poultry, plus catch-of-the-day fish dishes that change depending on supply. Edmund’s Oast’s on-site brewery produces a variety of beers, among them Lord Proprietor’s Mild, Cognac Barrel Aged Olde Ale, More Bitter More Better and Carolina Farmhouse Ale. Growlers are available for takeaway orders. Check the website for what beers are brewed and/or kegged each day. Reservations recommended.
Located in a 19th-century hardware and feed store a block off Main Street in downtown Greenville, Barley’s originally opened in 1996 as the second Barley’s (the first is in Asheville, NC). Sold in 2003, it now boasts of offering the largest craft beer selection in the southeast with 72 beers on tap plus 200-plus bottled beers. Since 2000, the pizza and sandwich, calzone, pasta and salads lineup has been expanded, and Barley’s has won annual awards for best pizza, beer list, bar and poolroom (six regulation tables, plus darts, foosball and shuffleboard).
Myrtle Beach’s first gastropub features handcrafted cocktails along with a varied, sophisticated menu of American fusion and Southern “comfort food.” Specialties include Duck Confit Nachos, Pulled Pork Poutine, Crawfish Hushpuppies and Seafood Charcuterie.
Located in an aged, two-story brick building, this eclectic brewpub is a casual gathering spot for University of South Carolina students and professors (USC’s historic Horseshoe is a block away), young professionals and longtime regulars. Owner Kevin Varner opened Hunter-Gatherer in 1995 and has brewed beer there for 20-plus years after learning at Hales Ales in Seattle, which in turn owes its English-style roots to George Gale & Co. and Gales Brewery in Horndean, England. A regular lineup of in-house beers includes Pale Ale, Wheat and ESB varieties. Food choices range from appetizers (black bean dip, hummus plate, ESB cheese spread, mussels, sausage balls) to sandwiches, burgers, steaks, duck, pizzas, and shrimp and grits.
The heart of this 1950s-style cocktail bar with its full menu of diner favorites (chicken noodle soup, patty melts, triple-stack burgers) is a long, marble-topped bar, seafoam-green paint and green-and-black plaid seats in the booths. Cocktails include such classics as Sazerac, Manhattans, Dark & Stormy, mint juleps and Moscow Mules served in copper mugs. Other options include lager, pilsner, IPA and seasonal beers on tap, bottled beers, a house-made ginger beer and house-made sodas, as well as wines. For early risers, there’s a breakfast menu with steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and French toast – all served all day.
Located in the Five Points entertainment district, Publico specializes in exotic fusion tacos, side dishes including chips and guacamole and corn on the cob, plus a wide selection of craft beers, with 54 taps including a variety of SC-produced brews. Tacos range from traditional Mexican to pork, seafood and even Korean-themed. Seating is at tall tables and booths, and a garage-style front door/window can be raised for open-air dining.
With two Charleston locations, the Moose on Johns Island has been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Both sites offer a wide selection of beers on tap and bottled beers, including local Charleston breweries’ brands. Sandwiches, the house specialty, include Mike’s Famous Duck Club, plus hot pastrami, Lowcountry Cuban, the Tattooed Moose Burger and an array of appetizers.
Opened in November 2007 by Josh Quigley and Michael Benson, Quigley’s features house-brewed beers including Longboard Lager, Shakedown Wheat, Peach Whest, Neck Red Ale and Swamp Fox IPA, with eight beers always on tap. Menu specializes in Lowcountry-inspired comfort food, with all fresh, house-made dishes. Daily entertainment specials include discounted drink and food specials, all-you-can-eat shrimp specials, team trivia and karaoke. Happy hour (4-7 p.m.) specials complement waterfront dining on the patio.
Reopened in a new downtown location in April 2016, Blue Ridge continues to operate from its 308 Trade St. address in nearby Greer. Founded in 1995 by Bob Hiller, the bar and restaurant features in-house beers (Kurli Blonde Ale, Colonel Paris Pale Ale, Hurricane Hefeweizen, XXX Total Eclipse Stout, Rainbow Trout ESB) and Southern comfort food, from fried chicken and meatloaf to salads, appetizers and Lowcountry shrimp and grits, chicken perlou, pecan-crusted trout, grilled tuna steak and fish and chips.
A Belgian-style bar, offering an array of Belgian beers, Trappist ales, plus pales, blondes, witbiers, dubbels, saisons and triples. Food options range from unique appetizers (blackened crab and blue cheese fondue, duck spring rolls, wild mushroom Vol Au Von, and lamburger sliders), plus soups, salads and entrees from braised short ribs, sautéed duck breast, steak frites and walnut-crusted pork loin.
Located between US 17 Bypass and 17 Business at Market Common, with a full kitchen and a lineup of in-house brewed beers: regular offerings include Golden Export, Marzen, Hefeweizen, Czech Pilsner and Schwarzbier, all brewed to German Purity Law standards.
A combination “restaurant, bar and live music venue in downtown Charleston,” the décor has tiny Christmas lights and one wall made up of old National Geographic magazines. Food choices include homemade beef jerky, muffaletta sandwiches, Fritos pie and a fried bologna sandwich. A variety of beers are available (cans, bottles and on tap). Budget diners appreciate the brunch menu with most items under $7.
Located just blocks from Conway’s river walk, Crafty Rooster features tap takeovers, live music, weekly trivia, beer festivals and the in-house beer club. More than 100 craft beers are available, with 13 on tap at any time and rotating daily. Full kitchen offers local favorites and Southern cuisine, and the bar has become a neighborhood gathering place.
With one of Charleston’s best rooftop bars, Stars has great views and a lineup of craft beers, wines and cocktails. Another larger bar caters to the downstairs crowd. The menu includes items from a live fire grill and rotisserie, plus local favorites she crab soup, lobster and grits and truffle-chicken pot pie. Popular with young professionals, reservations are recommended.
Named after a village in Germany, the décor has a European influence that is apparent when entering the restaurant and descending the stairway. A simple menu focuses on comfort food that pairs well with in-house beers and wines. The chef and servers offer upscale service to pair with fine dining options.
This historic building at the corner of Chapel and East Bay streets is not a typical biergarten, with high ceilings, communal tables and cozy booths. The menu focuses on German fare (schnitzel, for instance) and beers, plus a solid lineup (24 taps at the bar, 70 overall) of Charleston brews. A favorite snack is Bavarian-style pretzels and mustard, plus any of the wide selection of kolsch beers. A high-tech feature is iPad-equipped “tap tables” for placing orders. Cries of “Prost!” and German singing have been known to break out.
A standard lineup of Mexican dishes including tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like, but the big draw is a huge collection of tequilas in five categories and specialty margaritas.
This intimate location offers a varied menu, featuring such specials as fried green tomato appetizers, shrimp and grits, burgers and sandwiches and items such as hummus appetizers, plus a selection of beer, wine and spirits.