Come for the food, stay for the nightlife. With its dozens of rooftop bars, breweries and nightclubs, Charleston nightlife has skyrocketed in the last few years. It’s gotten to the point where Republic Garden & Lounge, Charleston’s most popping nightclub, is now the setting for Bravo’s newest hit TV show, Southern Hospitality. But it’s not just rooftops and nightclubs that are going off, the live music scene in Charleston has also hit its stride with concerts almost every night of the week (don’t believe us? check out our guide to Charleston’s best bars every night of the week).
This all encompassing guide will have something for everyone, including the best breweries in Charleston, nightclubs, rooftop bars, live music venues, transportation (the best Charleston party bus) and even a place for pictures down by the water. As an added bonus, we’ll let you know your best chances for getting on TV with Bravo’s Southern Hospitality!
Best Nightclubs in Charleston
While Charleston used to be more known for its live music and cocktails, the nightclub scene has been growing at an alarming rate.
#1 Trio – The OG nightclub is Trio and it has the best electronic concerts in the area. They’ve hosted A-list DJs over the years, including Dillon Francis, Don Diablo and Shiba San.
#2 Republic – The current it club of the Charleston area and for good reason. Not only are they the setting for Bravo’s hit TV show Southern Hospitality, but they also have great local DJs, a super fun GA area (inside and outside) and extremely attractive staff. If you want to get on TV, book a table during May or June because that’s when they are filming for the next season!
#3 Deco – Charleston’s largest nightclub and lends itself to the younger crowd. It’s a little cheaper than Republic and Trio but still a lot of fun. However, it does get pretty rowdy so make sure you know what you’re signing up for.
Best Breweries in Charleston
There are dozens of awesome breweries in Charleston, making it the perfect place to go on a pub crawl with friends and family. Pretty much all of Charleston’s breweries are guaranteed to be a good time, making it difficult to create a list of our favorites, but here are a few of our favorites:
#1 Holy City – With a taproom that can hold more than 300 guests and several private dining areas, Holy City is the best brewery for large groups. They even have a 450-capacity creekside event space called the Porter Room if you’re looking to hold a corporate event or a wedding. But enough about the space, let’s not forget the beer! With over 30 beers on tap they’ve got a beer for everyone but some of their flagship brews include the Pluff Mud Porter and Overly Friendly IPA.
#2 Revelry – The only Charleston brewery that has a rooftop, Revelry is a great place to grab a beer with a view. They also have $2 tacos and $20 beer buckets for Tuesday night trivia! Revelry also has a very diverse beer list including a sake-tinged beer that goes great with their crab wontons and tempura chicken fingers.
#3 Bay Street Biergarten – This place truly makes you feel as if you teleported to a Munich bier hall with their vaulted ceilings, long tables and German food offerings. Although, the combination of their 15 flatscreen TV’s and southern hospitality are authentically American. They also have some of the best live music of any brewery in the area. Make sure to check out their event schedule here!
Best Charleston Rooftop Bars
While Charleston doesn’t have any skyscrapers with 30+ story rooftops, there are a handful of great rooftop bars. And because there aren’t any skyscrapers, you don’t have to worry about being super high up to have an unobstructed view! All three of our favorites are on top of rooftops and serve delicious food as well!
#1 Fiat Lux – With one of the best views of the city, Fiat Lux is situated on top of Hotel Bennett in the heart of downtown Charleston. They have great speciality cocktails including pre-mixed Espresso Martinis and delicious bar bites. They’re also the only rooftop bar with a massive flat screen TV for sports to keep everyone entertained.
#2 Vendue – The Rooftop at the Vendue has the most seating and multiple bars, making it the easiest rooftop for last minute sunsets. It is also close to the water and somewhat reasonably priced, making it a local favorite!
#3 Élevé – Situated on top of the Grand Bohemian Hotel, Élevé has the best food of any rooftop in Charleston. It is a full restaurant with an expansive menu that will have you coming back for more. You can also get away with stealing a free chocolate chip cookie in the lobby that are meant for hotel guests 🤫
Best Live Music Venues in Charleston
Charleston is home to several live music venues and if you want a full breakdown check out our Charleston Concert Guide. For this list, rather than write about the big concert venues, we’re going to focus on the bars around Charleston that have weekly live music events that you can pop by for instead of purchasing an expensive ticket:
#1 Cocktail Club – One of our favorite drinking establishments in all of Charleston. Their speakeasy-style bar serves delicious craft cocktails and they have great live music on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. We recommend going for Greg Keys & Company on Saturday nights. Also make sure to check out their rooftop terrace!
#2 Prohibition – Prohibition is a worthy stop for food and drinks seven nights a week, offering rustic-chic modern american cuisine and creative cocktails. They also have Sufferin Moses playing every Tuesday night, New Music Thursdays with no cover and the bluegrass band New Ghost Town playing brunch music on the weekends.
#3 The Commodore – A vintage jazz club boasting a great dance floor and comfy booths, the Commodore hosts live music Tuesday through Sunday. However, we recommend checking out Caribbean Tiki Tuesdays for one of the few opportunities to see reggae in Charleston. Let your problems soak away as you drink a pina colada and listen to island music from 9:30 pm – 12:00 am.
Charleston Party Bus/Transportation
If you’re serious about Lowcountry nightlife, there’s no better way to explore it than a party bus rental in Charleston. They are equipped with surround sound music, LED lighting and allow drinking while on the vehicle, making it almost as fun as your destinations, if not more so!
Along with standard hourly rates, we also offer half-day and full-day rates that allow time to be shuttled between the beach, shopping, dinner and the clubs without breaking the bank. We even offer round-trip rates where you only have to pay for the beginning and end of the ride!
Want memorable pictures from your unforgettable night out in Charleston? Have your Charleston party bus take you down to the battery, preferably after dinner and before the bars. You can time it up with golden hour for some great pics on the water. It’s also a great time to dance around the party bus a little longer and put back a couple more shots before you go out for the night.
Conclusion: Charleston Nightlife has gone Wild
Charleston’s nightlife has gotten to the point where public officials have had to make King Street a one-way street at night on the weekends and we are loving it! With dozens of great drinking establishments, beautiful people and amazing live music, Charleston’s nightlife checks all of the boxes. We hope you found a couple of places that sound up your alley and remember to give us a shout if you need a party bus in Charleston, SC!