Guide to Shem Creek Bars: Top Spots for Drinks

Are you thinking of spending a day bar hopping in Shem Creek? Then this guide is for you!

For those unfamiliar, Shem Creek is one of Charleston’s hidden gems.  It is hard not to love with delicious waterside restaurants and bars that have great views of Charleston Harbor.

Don’t get us wrong, drinking with all of the tourists on King Street is great. But Shem Creek offers a different type of scene filled with young locals. It is a great way to spend a day if you’re at a Charleston bachelorette party or bachelor party.

In this guide, we will cover what Shem Creek is, where to drink and dine, how to get there and when to visit. We’ll also include a bonus bar hopping itinerary. Let’s begin!

Shem Creek bars

What is Shem Creek?

Firstly, to clear things up when people speak of Shem Creek they aren’t talking about the creek itself but the waterfront district at Shem Creek. 

The district is inside Mt. Pleasant and is made up of popular waterfront dining and drinking establishments, a boardwalk and a park, all offering views of Charleston harbor and the surrounding marsh.

The boardwalk is 2,200 feet long and runs from Coleman Boulevard to the mouth of the creek. It offers great views of the working shrimp and crab boats as well as a view of Fort Sumter.

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Bars on Shem Creek

The liveliest Shem Creek bars are also restaurants:

Saltwater Cowboys – With delicious BBQ and seafood, and a beautiful view of the water this place has it all. It is also one of the busiest establishments in the area so we recommend getting there right when they open at 11:00 am.

Red’s Ice House – Famous for its fried fish and upstairs patio, this waterside restaurant has one of the best views of Charleston Harbor.

Vickery’s Bar & Grill – Located on the other side of Shem Creek, this place is a little more relaxed. It also offers great Southern dishes!

Coleman Public House – While Coleman’s doesn’t have a waterfront view like the other places listed, it has the best offering of local beers and great food.

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How to get to Shem Creek

We don’t recommend driving to Shem Creek unless you have a designated driver. Also, there are only 35 parking spots in the lot near Shem Creek Park so it can be a pain even with a DD.

Instead, we recommend Ubering or better yet, taking a Charleston party bus. A party bus is the most fun way to see Shem Creek and it also allows you to keep your belongings safe. 

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When to go to Shem Creek

How crowded the bars are at Shem Creek is very dependent on the weather so we recommend going on a warm, sunny Saturday if possible! 

This is most likely going to be sometime between March and October, and you can always hop in the water if it gets too hot!

We also recommend going during the daytime to take advantage of the outdoor patios and views of the Harbor.

The Perfect Bar Hopping Itinerary in Shem Creek

10:00/10:30 am – Get picked up by a Charleston party bus at your Airbnb or hotel.

11:00 am – Get dropped off at Saltwater Cowboys to ensure you get a table right away. Plan on eating/drinking here for at least two hours.

2:00 pm – Head to Red’s Ice House and have beers on their upstairs patio.

5:00 pm – Hop in the party bus and head to the other side of the creek for an early sunset dinner at Vickery’s.

7:00 pm – Head home to shower and change before a night out on King St.

Conclusion: Bars in Shem Creek

The waterfront district at Shem Creek is an awesome place to spend a day during your next trip to Charleston.

There are delicious, affordable restaurants/bars with beautiful views of the water. It also offers a more relaxed vibe than King Street. 

We recommend visiting during a nice hot day and hitting all of the local spots while also enjoying the boardwalk and park.

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