The Great Outdoors
Sit outside, have a few drinks and enjoy the weather at top-notch Lowcountry bars
By Denise K. James, Special to The Post and Courier
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I’m a sucker for a nice, breezy patio in the summer. Put a cool drink in my hand, some good friends around me, and it’s pretty much de rigueur for Charleston during this time of year.
I decided to do a little research on which places offer the best drinks in a sunny environment.
Fortunately, no matter where you live, from Sullivan’s Island to Hanahan, there is a friendly porch to enjoy the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Some offer live tunes, some even let you bring your pooch for an afternoon. These are some of our favorite spots.
Just remember the sunscreen.
East of the Cooper River is a no brainer for great outdoor seating. Between Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant and the awesome beaches, you won’t run out of waterfront views.
Huck’s Lowcountry Table
1130 Ocean Boulevard, Isle of Palms, 886-6772
This cozy restaurant faces the Atlantic Ocean on the Isle of Palms. It’s a great destination for good food as well as creative mixed drinks. Guests enjoy half-priced bottles of wine Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. The restaurant also infuses its own liquors, and makes Bloody Marys with its own vodka flavored with rosemary, peppercorn and jalapenos.
“Our liquors are all top shelf and we have some really great wines,” says Terri Crowe, one of the managers. “We try to do local, fresh food and great drinks in a beachy atmosphere,”
2210 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, 883-0083
Anyone who is familiar with Sullivan’s Island knows how awesome Poe’s is. Not only is it named after a brilliant writer, the food is delicious and the view of the island’s busy Center Street makes it great for people watching.
“It’s a neat atmosphere here,” says Teddy Carper, one of the bartenders. “As soon as people come in, they appreciate it. It’s cool for watching the city and it’s just a couple of blocks from the beach!”
Poe’s offers more than 20 different draft beers, according to Carper.
“You can sit outside with your drink, and from where we’re positioned on the street, we get a amazing cross breeze from the ocean,” says Jimmy Coste, one of the managers.
Red’s Ice House
Red’s Ice House
98 Church St., Shem Creek, 388-0003
Red’s features a ton of outdoor seating, even a tree house bar on the weekends, great for seeing the entire creek.
“We have a gorgeous view of the water and of boats drifting by,” says Barrett Perdue, the general manager.
“We’re also pet friendly, so bring your dog! And we’re boat friendly, so a lot of people arrive by boat.”
Red’s has lots of specials throughout the week, including a “Palmetto Breeze” cruise on Wednesdays that goes along the creek at sunset, complete with cocktails.
Tuesday is $2 vodka day, and there’s always live music.
Don’t forget happy hour, with $4 well drinks and $2.50 domestics, 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Water’s Edge Cabana Bar
1407 Shrimp Boat Lane, Shem Creek, 884-4074
Water’s Edge offers a more upscale dining experience on the water at Shem Creek. But don’t be fooled, there are great deals to be had as well. During happy hour, the bar menu’s prices are half-off; beers are $1.50; and well cocktails $2.50.
“We have over 450 wines to choose from,” says Jimmy Purcell, one of the restaurant’s owners. “We offer waterfront dining on both the main porch, as well as at the cabana bar. You can get anything off the dinner menu while you’re down there. We also have 80 feet of dock space for people’s boats. There’s plenty of parking.”
West of the Ashley
West Ashley is a friendly environment with some very reasonably priced patios. You’ll fit right in with the local crowd, and you’ll probably hear some great music while you’re at it.
The Tin Roof
1117 Magnolia Road, 571-0775
Everyone loves the Tin Roof. It’s got inexpensive drinks, friendly staff and the tunes are constantly rocking. The outdoor patio is one place your dog will feel at home, too.
On Wednesdays, The Tin Roof does a deck show, with the back bar open. On Tuesdays, patrons can sit outside and play trivia. Happy hour means beers for $2, and house liquors for $3. Or, if you feel adventurous, shots of Grand Marnier and Jagermeister are just $3 each.
“We’re pretty low-key about a lot of stuff,” says Shawn Krauss, one of the bartenders. “You can take your drink outside, have a smoke, and you’re not facing the street. It’s really nice that we have the room to offer that.”
Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ
1205 Ashley River Road, 225-7427
Home Team is one of those West Ashley establishments that all the locals know about. It has outdoor seating in the front as well as the back, and the back patio is a great place to bring pets and catch up with neighbors.
“We are working-man friendly,” says Tony McKie, the general manager and part-owner. “And the basis of our clientele is local to the neighborhood.”
Home Team is definitely a place for inexpensive entertainment, with an open jam by the Lowcountry Blues Club on Wednesdays and free bluegrass on Thursdays.
On Mondays, there’s an open microphone, and patrons can enjoy $1 PBR and $4 Jagerbombs.
“We encourage everyone to pull in after a bike ride and relax for a while,” says McKie. “Barbecue and the blues go together, and that’s our brand.”
Triangle Char and Bar
828 Savannah Highway, 377-1300
Triangle is known for a great outdoor patio right in the heart of the Avondale district.
Besides Triangle’s well-known Sunday brunch (featuring bottomless mimosas for $10), there is Taco Tuesday, with $3 tacos and $3 margaritas; food specials on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and happy hour all day Friday, which means $1.50 off house liquors, $1 off wines, and $2.50 off domestic bottles.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, enjoy live music on the spacious patio.
“We have a high-energy, fun atmosphere with great outdoor space,” says manager Adam Fetsch. “We like to think of ourselves as affordable but special.”
James Island/Folly Beach
James Island and Folly are definitely the places to be for a laid-back, good time in the sun.
Whether you’re looking for an oceanfront view or just an outdoor rock show, this is your area to find it.
The Pour House
1977 Maybank Highway, James Island, 571-4343
The Pour House is one of the Lowcountry’s more famed music venues. With a huge outdoor patio, stage and bar, it’s a great destination for summer fun.
“This is a one of a kind place, and no one quite does what we do,” says manager John Graves. “There is always something going on at the Pour House!”
On Wednesdays, visit the Starving Artist Craft Market for local goods for sale on the porch along with live Grateful Dead tunes.
Fridays are trivia nights, and Mondays are Carrie Ann Hearst with Michael Trent, one of the porch’s most attended events.
Bring your pet and enjoy happy hour with $2.50 liquors and $3 beers.
“We love hosting a wide variety of music,” says Graves. “It’s all genres here: bluegrass one day and rock ‘n’ roll the next!”
10 Center Street, Folly Beach, 588-2362
Snapper’s is a Folly Beach mainstay, offering plenty of outdoor seating. Choose from the second floor porch (where you can enjoy a family-friendly meal) or the rooftop (adults only, please).
“On Friday and Saturday nights the roof gets pretty packed,” says Cade Person, one of the managers. “People go up there to see the ocean and watch the sunset, and once the sun is down, the party starts.”
During the day, you can sit under the shady canopy to enjoy an ocean breeze. There’s a full bar, and happy hour features $1 off all prices. There’s live music on weekend afternoons.
Blu Restaurant & Bar Bar
1 Center Street, Folly Beach, 588-6464
If you’re smart enough to already be sitting on the beach, head up to the Blu Beach Bar for a frozen cocktail or a tasty draft beer in your swimsuit.
The outside deck is pet friendly, and features a full-service bar. There’s live music Friday and Saturday nights, plus during the day Saturday and Sunday.
The beer selection is sweet and summery, with choices including Sweetwater Blue, Blue Moon and other wheat beers.
“Our best quality is that we’re beachfront,” says Jessica Potter, one of the managers. “You can come right off the beach in your swimwear, grab a frozen daiquiri and enjoy live music.”
The North Area
Whether I go to work or visit friends, there are good options in Summerville and North Charleston for an outdoor beverage. We can bring Maggie the dog plus a big group of friends, and just hang out all evening.
The Dog and Duck
1580 Old Trolley Road, Summerville, 821-3056
I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant’s Summerville location. A nice, covered patio features full outdoor service, and they even have a DIY Bloody Mary bar on the weekends.
Happy hour is seven days a week with trivia on Monday from 7 to 9 p.m., so come in and win some house cash.
On Wednesday evenings, local bands provide customers with live music.
“We feature a lot of different flavored liquors, and all our draft beers are craft,” says Ashlee McClure, one of the managers. “We’re really a family pub. We see a lot of familiar faces and we know first and last names.”
Suite 310, 1000 Tanner Ford Blvd., Hanahan 553-2008
Just off North Rhett at Tanner Plantation is Bucca’s, a great local joint with a ton of outdoor seating.
“We’re like an adult Chucky Cheese,” says Sue Feher, one of the owners. “Our patio is large enough for big parties. We do a lot of reunions and benefits. We’re also a great spot for military, and we try to be military oriented. “
Bucca’s offers a Ladies’ Night on Wednesday, with half-price martinis. Happy hour is seven days a week, and Sunday brunch offers time to sit outside.
On Friday and Saturday nights, come listen to live bands playing anything from Motown to classic rock.
Downtown is the pulse of the Lowcountry, and its beauty is best enjoyed outdoors. Whether you’re with good friends or showing a summer visitor the sights of our Holy City, one of these locations will ensure a pleasant stay.
The Rooftop at Vendue
19 Vendue Range, 577-7970
The Rooftop Bar is one of the best views in the city. Situated above the Vendue Inn, it’s a breezy, picturesque way to spend an afternoon.
The restaurant has weekday happy hours, with $3 well drinks and plenty of inexpensive beer choices, both domestics and craft. Get $4 margaritas all day long, in various flavors. Wednesday through Sunday evenings, there is typically acoustic music.
On Monday evenings, play trivia for a chance to win $100.
“The great service and the view are the main reasons to be on the Rooftop,” says Jerry Kerwin, the assistant manager. “We have a 360-degree view of the harbor and of the city. You can watch the sun setting over the city’s church steeples, and the bridges.”
Fuel, in downtown Charleston
211 Rutledge Avenue, 737-5959
Fuel is one of the few places that can always suit a crowd. Located on the upper peninsula, it’s got a Carribean feel to the outdoor patio that can’t be beat in the summer months.
Fuel concentrates on creating warm-weather cocktails such as guava mojitos and cucumber-infused vodka cocktails. During happy hour, get $3 cocktails and $3 craft beers.
There are seasonal block parties that include food, drinks and music. And stop by 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch.
“It’s a good vibe here, you know?” says Alley Eglali, the bar manager. “We’re hanging outside, people can bring their pets, and the drinks are great.”
462 King Street Charleston, 722-7313
I’m going to admit that I adore Chai’s for personal reasons. I had a birthday there once, and it rocked my socks off. Its outdoor courtyard is upscale yet relaxed, and the happy hour menu offers half-price food, half-price mojitos, and deals on wines and homemade sangria. Chai’s also has good options for free entertainment. On Wednesday evenings, it features live reggae, and on Thursday afternoons, it’s Latin guitar.
“Starting this weekend, we’ll be open on Sundays. We plan to feature local music on the patio in the afternoon,” says Palmer Quimby, the general manager.