Charleston Dive Bar Guide

Beautiful, Historic Dive Bar Setting

Charleston is a city of immense history, but its reputation as food and drink destination is a relatively recent phenomenon. And with that notoriety, refined eating and drinking options have added to what was already a considerable set of upscale options throughout Charleston. But as always, hidden behind some of these glossy offerings lie the city’s dive bars that offer a counterpoint to some of King Street’s decadence.

Oldest among Charleston dive bars is Gene’s Haufbrau in the city’s Avondale neighborhood, an unassuming double storefront that happens to hold one of the biggest beer offerings in Charleston. Over 170 varieties across draft, bottle and can options pair with an impressive food menu and bar decorations that include an extensive set of vintage serving trays.

Its fortunes riding much of Charleston’s boom as a destination city, Burns Alley Tavern opened in 2006 just before the wave of exposure hit the city. The dive bar is satisfyingly difficult to find, one of its entrance down a small alley and the other through the back of an adjoining Mexican restaurant. Inside, an explosion of stickers, signs and even a collage of confiscated fake IDs awaits.

Not to be outdone in being hard to find, Cutty’s just north of downtown Charleston in the city’s Elliotsborough district has a Phillips Street address but a single-door, no-window entrance on neighboring Bogard Street. The draw is drinking in perhaps the darkest dive bar in Charleston as well as the selection of handwritten, self-proclaimed “sassy” signs dispensing dive bar wisdom.

Charleston is a beautiful city with a well-earned reputation for all things food and drink, but a set of dive bars just under the surface offers an alternative view of one of the great Southern cities in America.

Dive Bar Map

Charleston Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Cannonborough

Cutty's

227 St Philip St
Charleston, SC 29403
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Cannonborough

Recovery Room Tavern

685 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
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Folly Beach

Sand Dollar Social Club

7 Center St
Folly Beach, SC 29439
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French Quarter

The Griffon Pub

18 Vendue Range
Charleston, SC 29401
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King Street

Burns Alley Tavern

354B King St
Charleston, SC 29401
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West Ashley

Gene's Haufbrau

817 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
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West Ashley

Tin Roof

1117 Magnolia Rd
Charleston, SC 29407
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Other Dive Bar Options

AC's Bar & Grill

467 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
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Moe's Crosstown Tavern

714 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
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Planet Follywood

32 Center St
Folly Beach, SC 29439
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Salty Mike's Deck Bar

9 Lockwood Dr
Charleston, SC 29401
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The Bangkok Lounge

353 King St 2nd floor
Charleston, SC 29403
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The Mill

1026 E Montague Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405
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The Royal American

970 Morrison Dr
Charleston, SC 29403
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The Tatooed Moose

1137 Morrison Dr
Charleston, SC 29403
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

9 + 12 =

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