I recently spent an action-packed weekend in the festive city of Charleston, South Carolina. Being a life-long Yankee (transplanted to California), I’ll be the first to admit that I never really gave the South much of a chance to impress me when it came to scenic splendor and, especially, beer culture. Of course these people know how to eat–southern dining is responsible for some of the most deliciously decadent dishes on the planet. But being known more as the land of Mint Juleps, Hurricanes, and Bourbon, I didn’t think the south knew how to do good, craft beer. My time spent in this hub of hops has helped humble my regional biases and opened my eyes to a land of spectacular fermented flavors.
In addition to housing some spectacular breweries (which you can read about here), the so-called ‘Holy City‘ is also home to some incredibly fun watering holes in which to imbibe these local specialties. Closed For Business (453 King Street) in the Upper King section of town is the scene of ’42 taps and counting.’ It’s a fun mixture of college kids and business suits alike. The bar is meticulously stylized with comfortable, leather couches, playful booths, and communal tables. A great place for tasty brews and unabashed people watching. Enjoy the well-heeled propriety of southern aristocracy with your crafty pint.
Coleman Public House (427 West Coleman Boulevard) in neighboring Mt. Pleasant refuses to do ‘light‘ beers. The only thing you’ll find on tap here are exclusive, beer-geek-approved microbrews. The unassuming, dark interior makes it clear that they’re not concerned with ambience. Their primary concern is great beer, paired with great food. Mission accomplished.
In the heart of the popular French Quarter is The Griffon (18 Vendue Range). The first thing you’ll notice upon entry is that the entire bar is wall-papered floor-to-ceiling in dollar bills, a tradition kept alive by years worth of faithfully generous patrons. 14 frequently rotating taps feature some of the region’s most acclaimed craft offerings. They also feature daily specials and an assortment of inventive house cocktails.
After a couple of days in Charleston, my only regret was not having nearly enough time to hit up all of the hot spots dotting the impressive, colonial cityscape. At least this guarantees many happy returns–something you’ll be aching for after a trip to this scenic southern wonder.