Keep Palm and Carry On

In Do, June 2022 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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No matter what kind of vacationer you are (shopper, eater, beachgoer), you’ll thrive in Charleston.

Whether you’ve been a hundred times or haven’t been in a while (or have never been!), there’s plenty of new reasons to make the drive down 95 to Chucktown. 

Before our April press trip, I’d only been to Charleston once (#SpringBreak2016, baby!)—in college (aka college broke) and below drinking age. Ergo, I didn’t do Charleston right. Meanwhile, my EIC had frequented the Holy City—and even almost moved there. And, for both of us, the wonder of returning to the charming coastal oasis with its walkable cobblestone streets, slate sidewalks, steeple-dotted skyline and revered architecture (the city itself is a museum without walls) was awe-inspiring—a nod to the city’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) that serves to oversee that this Southern jewel remains authentic.

While that rich history, purposefully preserved character and Southern charm is what drives us to keep coming back, Charleston is also a veritable playground of happening new hot spots worth your return.


Lewis Barbecue, Andrew Cebulka

Lewis Barbecue

First things first, you should know that the line is going to be long. Every. Day. … But, believe us, pitmaster John Lewis’ Central Texas barbecue—prepared in massive custom-made smokers welded by Lewis himself—is worth it. Order your meats by the pound—and since it’s Carolina, you’re obviously gonna wanna try the pulled pork—but the melt-in-your-mouth brisket, saucy ribs and juicy Austin-style sausage are definitely worth a splurge. Just don’t forget napkins! And when it comes to sides, the green chile corn pudding will change your life (not an exaggeration).

Rancho Lewis

John Lewis’ (of Lewis Barbecue fame) newest concept is an interpretation of the food he grew up eating in El Paso—aka “border-food-meets-cowboy cookin’”—feat. ingredients sourced directly from the Northern Rio Grande Valley. Grab a seat on the covered, light-strewn and greenery-filled patio for freshly made guac, red chile beef enchiladas, chiles rellenos and old-fashioned tacos; then wash everything down with an extra-cold marg or a Mexican martini—made with 100% blue agave tequila, lime and olive (there’s a two-drink limit on this bad boy). Ay caramba!

The Longboard

Seas the day at this Sullivan’s Island mainstay placing an emphasis on cuisine and cocktails inspired by coastal regions around the globe, including the Caribbean, where the first Longboard location was actually born in 2015. You’re gonna wanna pop a squat at the bar—made of real sea glass and oyster shells—for oyster happy hour (weekdays 3–5pm; weekends 2–5pm) and a well-balanced drink from one of the helpful, friendly bartenders.

HERD Provisions, Andrew Cebulka

HERD Provisions

If you haven’t herd of this, you’re in for a real treat. What rolled out as a food truck is now a rustic bistro dishing casually elevated fare—from burgers and steaks (“they have the meats!”) to a host of can’t-miss staples & sides. The roasted mushrooms (with garlic aioli and smoky tomato sauce—reminiscent of pizza) are sneaky good, as are the Brussels, handpulled mozzarella and pastas. And no matter how full you are, get dessert—swear.


Millers All Day

It’s always millers time here. And by that we mean breakfast all day—so feel free to roll outta bed at 1pm and treat yo’self to a big ’ol plate of biscuits & gravy. If you’re more of a sweet brekky person, we were blown away by the banana bread (we dare you to name a better one) and huge cinnamon roll. And if you’re in need of an elixir, the “Prescriptions” bar’s gotcha covered—think four types of bloodys, five mimosas and more. Bottoms up!


Basic Kitchen

There’s nothing basic about Basic Kitchen—and after a few days of heavy eating, the fix is in at this healthy resto spotlighting nourishing (and delish!) dishes. The bright and airy sup and sip spot spins seasonal, local ingredients to curate such colorful staples as cauli wings, sweet potato fries (served with a yummy vegan cashew ranch), salads and bowls. And if you’re really feeling bogged down, spring for a juice or wellness shot. Healthy never tasted so good!


The Spectator Hotel

The Spectator Hotel 

The spirited Jazz Age meets the charm of the Old South at this LS3P-designed boutique jewel—the only hotel in the Holy City with personalized butler services (amen!). Situated in the bustling historic district just steps from the Charleston Art Market and an easy (complimentary) bike ride from the waterfront and Rainbow Row, the well-appointed rooms and Prohibition-style bar with ’tails crafted by “drink builder” Allen Lancaster make it hard to leave—but easy to return.


French Quarter Inn

While sister property The Spectator Hotel oozes elite, contemporary class, the French Quarter Inn is rooted in tradition—though modern touches like Italian marble bathrooms, a seven-pillow menu and turndown service ensure you’ll feel pampered (the custom-made FQI mattress made right in Charleston doesn’t hurt either). Spend happy hour in the lobby or on the terrace with wine and charcuterie—or later for a nightcap of port wine and cookies.


The Co-Op, Aleece Sophia

The Co-Op

“Walk this way…” to The Co-Op for a strawberry frose that tastes like, well, strawberries on a summer evening (Harry Styles would be proud). Its four SC locations (our rec: The Co-Op’s Sullivan’s Island spot with its beach vibes, colorful murals, Instagrammable frosé wall and inflatable couch) make it the perf perch to cool down—and fuel up, thanks to its bevvy of breakfasts, signature sammies & salads. Yes way, frosé!

Republic Garden & Lounge

Through an arch doorway awaits this downtown garden oasis—read: open-air bar and lounge complete with tons of greenery, live music, neon signage and all-around perfect summer patio sipping vibes. And on weekend nights, the adjoining indoor elevated lounge opens with DJs, tables and bottle service. So VIP.


Burns Alley Tavern

Located literally down an alley—hence the name—you’d miss this lively watering hole if you weren’t looking for it. A dive of beautiful chaos, confiscated IDs dot the bar, bumper stickers and ’80s and ’90s pop culture posters plaster almost every other surface—and the Jukebox, photo booth, pool table, Skeeball games and retro ’90s alt rock promise to make you feel like this is your “wonderwall.”


If you’ve been to Charleston then you know, but if you haven’t, these are Chucktown’s must-dos.

  • Horse-drawn carriage ride
  • Ghost tour
  • Charleston Art Market
  • Pineapple Fountain
  • Rainbow Row
  • Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
  • Sullivan’s or Folly Beach

Read more getaways in Nashville and Chicago.

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