Brett's Guide to Charleston!
Hey everyone! I've been having the time of my life since moving back to Charleston in 2015. I'm going to use this space to talk about the favorite things I've done, places I've been, and most importantly - things I've eaten!!
My husband, Brandon, and I live in Wagener Terrace with our Great Pyrenees named Brooklyn, so most of our favorite spots are in the Upper Peninsula/North Central/Half Mile North/whatever you want to call it area. Let me know if I'm missing anything crucial!
These are in no particular order. Except the top 3, which hold a special place in my heart.
This is my favorite restaurant in Charleston. We've been 10+ times and it has never wavered - always phenomenal service and food. The pasta dishes are incredible up and down the menu. And their carafe of house red is delicious and such a good deal! wildoliverestaurant.com
Hint - When the mussels are in season get 1 order for every 3 people at the table and round up. The best!!
This review could be two words - chicken sandwich. That would cover most of it but would not do justice to the incredible scene Leon's has created on Upper (upper upper) King. The place is always buzzing. Expect to wait for a table, which is not the worst thing in the world when there are open seats at the bar and you can sneak a cocktail and an order of pre-dinner oysters. leonsoystershop.com
Hint - The chicken sandwich can't be overhyped...think chick-fil-a on steroids. The asian cucumber salad accompaniment is a bonus.
This place has lasted 100 years for a reason. With a constantly rotating lineup of interesting craft brews and way above average bar food, it's the perfect place to grab a beer and a bite to eat. Their burger night is always slammed (Tuesdays - half off all burgers) and during football season it's always full of fans. Very fun place to hang out. moescrosstowntavern.com
Hint - Try to find the Barre South Easter egg while you're there!
Healthy, tasty, and gorgeous presentation - you can't beat it! Their juices and smoothies are great but if you really want to make everyone else jealous, get one of their Acai Bowls.
Hint - Don't miss out on the enchanting back patio/garden. You would never know it's back there and it is beautiful! huriyali.com
The Park Cafe is everything that is wonderful about living in Hampton Park! This cute little cafe is great for brunch, coffee before work, or a romantic date night. Their patio is beautiful and dog friendly. theparkcafechs.com
We love this new addition to the neighborhood! The environment is perfect for a date or for a group of friends. We like to go on Thursdays to take advantage of the $5 cocktail night. Another great option for Ladies Night is their half off wine night - all night on Tuesdays! haroldscabin.com
Hint - Get a forage board and order it when you sit down. It takes time to prepare everything but it is worth the wait!
Barsa is always on the short list for dinner options when we have friends in town. Order a paella for the table when you sit down and have other small plates come out while you wait. barsacharleston.com
Hint - Their happy hour is the best in town! $3 glasses of wine and up to $15 off paella - yes, please!
Pretty coffee drinks and some of the best avocado toast in town (that's saying a lot in Charleston). Their carefully crafted interior is beautiful, calming and welcoming which is crucial for a Sunday brunch after a couple of late nights. shopthedaily.com
Revelry was already awesome - making great beer in a skyrocketing section of town - but the new rooftop has sent it to another level! Catch a weekend afternoon on this rooftop and soak in the sun and unique views of the peninsula. revelrybrewingco.com
We were fans of the Sullivans location even before we moved back to Charleston. Imagine our surprise when we found out there would be one a bike ride from our new hood! This place is excellent for any occasion - lunch, happy hour, dinner, or late night. hometeambbq.com
HINT - They may be known for their barbecue, but these are the best wings in the state!
Welcome to the neighborhood Rodney Scott! I am pretty sure they had to Photoshop the line around the building out of this photo. The Carolina style pulled pork is mouthwatering - you can smell it smoking in the pit on your walk up to the building. We recently took a few pounds of BBQ and a gallon of the mac & cheese to a beach weekend and were the MVPs. rodneyscottsbbq.com
HINT - Get there at 11 am to be sure to avoid a long wait!
We didn't get a chance to stand in line for 2+ hours when John Lewis set up his smoker outside of Revelry Brewing, but the wait was worth it! I've yet to visit Austin (it's on the short list to visit) but from all accounts, Lewis has brought the best of what Texas barbecue has to offer to the Half Mile North neighborhood. I am never a brisket person and his brisket is some of the best food I've ever eaten. Melt in your mouth. lewisbarbecue.com
Taco Boy is situated right where the Ravenel Bridge lands downtown on Huger St. and boasts one of the peninsulas best outdoor seating areas. When the weather is nice (so like 10 mos of the year), there's no better place to enjoy some Mexican fare, a cocktail and the sun. tacoboy.net
Hint - The frozen screwdriver is a fan favorite but, if you haven't tried it, give the frozen sangria margarita a chance - I'm a convert.
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Chow Bow Biscuit (at least that's how it's pronounced/butchered in our household) is such a gem! The vibe is always on point and its location at the intersection of Rutledge and Spring makes for easy access to going out on Upper King after dinner. xiaobaobiscuit.com
Hint - GET THE CABBAGE PANCAKE (pictured). Ask for it dressed with pork candy and egg and thank me later.
How much more authentic can it get than Poe's Tavern? Located on the main drag of Middle Street on Sullivans Island, it's the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before hitting the beach. There is ample outdoor seating to allow you to take in the Sullivans vibe while you eat. They always have fun burger specials available but it's rare that I will stray away from the fish tacos - they're the best! poestavern.com
HINT - They always have fun burger specials available but it's rare that I will stray away from the fish tacos - they're the best!
We love Coop! The food is so good and the people are so friendly! My favorite move on the way to the beach is to swing into Coop and load up with sandwiches to put in the cooler and go eat them down by the lighthouse. Good on them for keeping it local, too! #local thecoopsi.com
This is the sister restaurant of our favorite, Wild Olive, so you know we're going to get along well! In fact, this held the top spot for us before being dethroned by its Johns Island sibling. The atmosphere in this place is so on point - rustic, classy, comfy and inviting. Love it! They've always got a chalkboard full of daily fresh caught seafood, and the main menu is bulletproof - no duds. theobstinatedaughter.com
HINT - Don't forget to grab some ice cream from Beardcat's downstairs after your dinner.
Things to do
Standing on Coleman Blvd looking over the busy restaurants and shrimp boats on Shem Creek is my favorite view in this beautiful city. It's iconic! Getting out on the creek by boat, paddle board, or kayak is always such a treat. Bonus points when dolphins join.
If you haven't already done so, get out on the pedestrian path along the Ravenel Bridge ASAP! What an incredible view of the harbor and peninsula! Great for a sunrise or sunset. Plus the fact that it is always packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists is a testament to the city's active culture. I love it!!
HINT - If you are considering doing to Bridge Run - don't think JUST DO IT!
We are so lucky to have this beautiful, spacious park in our backyard! It is so crazy how many people I meet that have lived here for years that have never visited this mini-Central Park nestled right downtown by The Citadel. The mile long track around the perimeter is always active with cyclists, joggers and mom's pushing strollers. What a great place to get some exercise and some fresh air!
Probably my favorite thing to do in life is hitting Sullivans after a morning barre class. I can get from the studio to the beach in less than 7 minutes! There are several different options - you can set up all the way down at Station 11 by Fort Moultrie to glean a view of the battery and the Ravenel Bridge, or you can choose to settle near the bars and restaurants by Station 22. You can't go wrong!
HINT - The Polar Bear Plunge here is my favorite day of the year! What better way to kick off the new year on the right foot!
The Sanctuary at Kiawah
I debated where to put this - Things to Do or Getaways - because it's so close to Charleston it didn't feel right to call it a getaway. Ultimately I went with Getaway because when you are there it feels like you are a million miles from home!
The facilities and service are truly first class! We are so lucky to have this resort so close - less than 40 minutes from downtown. kiawahresort.com
Hint - watch the extended forecast during the winter to take advantage of the off-peak rates. Brandon and I spent all Saturday and Sunday lounging by the pool in February in the 75 degree heat for a fraction of what it would have cost during prime time.