Getting a top-notch reservation in Charleston can be hard enough already, but it’s even more difficult when you’re a party of 8 or more. Whether you’re planning a bachelor(ette) party, corporate event or any other celebration, chances are that you are part of a large group if you’re riding on one of Double Black’s Charleston party buses and need restaurants that can accommodate you.
There are three different types of dining experiences that could work for your large group; chances are you will use a combination of them if you stay in the Lowcountry for multiple nights. We will cover the pros and cons of each as well as some of our favorite restaurants in each category!
Private Dining Room
There’s nothing better than a private dining room for a large group of friends eating together. The extra privacy allows you to be as loud as you want, without disrupting fellow patrons. The setting of the table will also be designed for large groups so you won’t have to worry about pushing tables together or cramming people on the ends. Restaurants also tend to assign their most experienced servers to the private dining room because of the large gratuities.
Oh did we forget to mention that the most significant downside to booking a private dining room is the cost? Not only are most private rooms in Charleston at really expensive restaurants but they also often have spending minimums over the average cost of dinner at their establishment. These can range from $50 – $200 a person and restaurants will often take a deposit down to ensure you don’t cancel. For this reason, we recommend only one private dining room reservation per trip. The first night is usually the best for it because everyone will still (hopefully) have it together and not harass the staff. Here are our favorite private dining rooms in Charleston:
#1 Wild Common – One of Charleston’s best fine dining restaurants that offers a rotating four-course menu. They have a Chef’s Table Experience that can seat up to 12 on their mezzanine level.
#2 Oak’s Steakhouse – A white-glove steakhouse with 4 different private dining options ranging from semi-private 12-tops to 36 person private areas that are great for rehearsal dinners.
#3 Zero Restaurant + Bar – Not many people know about 16 person private dining room at this famous hotel/restaurant. Arguably the best culinary experience in the city, it would easily have a michelin star if the rating association had a presence in South Carolina.
#4 Taco Boy – One of the few cases where a private dining room won’t necessarily break the bank. Take advantage of the Jaguar Bar and delicious tacos in Folly Beach.
Standard Large Reservation
Not every restaurant has a private dining room, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take large reservations. Some restaurants will still accommodate parties up to 15 – 20 people by just putting a lot of tables together. This does not provide the same intimate experience as a private dining room but it is often cheaper and easier to plan. Here are some of our favorite Charleston restaurants that allow large groups:
#1 Church & Union – One of Charleston’s most popular restaurants for large groups. They offer new american dining in a casual, yet sophisticated setting.
#2 Leon’s – Oysters and fried chicken are hard to say no to, especially at Leon’s! This casual dining restaurant has long tables that are great for accommodating groups up to 12.
#3 Blind Tiger Pub – Another great casual dining restaurant/drinking establishment, it offers great bar food with an asian twist. They also have a beautiful courtyard in the back.
Walking up and ordering at the counter can be a great option for breakfast and lunch when you’re with a big group. This way you don’t have to make a reservation or split the check a dozen ways. There are also a handful of dinner spots with counter service, the only trouble is finding enough seating for your entire group. That’s why we recommend eating at these establishments during the slower hours of the day (earlier than 5:30 pm or later than 8:30 pm). Our favorite counter service restaurants in Charleston are:
#1 Rodney Scott’s BBQ – This place is famous for a reason. Their Lowcountry-style slow-smoked BBQ is as delicious as it sounds!
#2 The Daily – A quintessential breakfast cafe that has great drinks and food. Located only a couple of blocks from downtown, it is an easy walk from most hotels!
We hope this guide has given you some ideas for your next culinary journey through Charleston with a large group. Foodwise, it is hard to go wrong in the Holy City but being part of a large group definitely has its constraints. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and make those reservations early. Because trust us, there are hundreds of groups looking for a similar table as you! And don’t forget if you need large group transportation, book a Charleston party bus with us!