Being difficult to find is a badge of honor for a dive bar, a trait very much part of the appeal of Charleston’s Burns Alley Tavern. The Charleston dive bar has two entrances, one off the beaten path and around the corner of Burns Lane, the other through the back of neighboring Mexican restaurant La Hacienda. The dive bar’s motto of “if you find us, you won’t forget us” feels accurate upon walking in, entering through the sticker-laden front door or hidden back entrance to find an absolutely explosion of wall art, cardboard cutouts, beer signs and more stickers. The shopping cart suspended from the ceiling filled with crushed beer cans punctuates the interior décor.
Opened in 2006, the walls and ceiling inside Burns Alley Tavern feel like they get closer every day, the accumulation of decorations like barnacles on a dive bar ship. Confiscated fake IDs hang above the bar and lost items dot the walls, nights spent at Burns Alley Tavern eventually showing up on its walls. A well-covered bar lines one wall opposite a small stage that hosts live music on occasion. A small second floor interior balcony of sorts opens up a bit more drinking square footage. A self-proclaimed “prestige dive bar,” the distinction is hard to argue with, a pleasant counterpoint to more polished King Street drinking options nearby.