The weather is cooling down in Charleston SC and now is the best time to explore the world-class culinary scene in and around the Holy City and dine al fresco at one of Charleston’s restaurants. With cooler daytime temperatures and crisp, fall evenings, this is the ideal time to pull up a seat and enjoy a beautiful sunset with a delicious cocktail in hand at one of these fantastic restaurant courtyards and rooftops. With Charleston’s year round temperate climate, dining al fresco is a must, and there’s no shortage of restaurants that include intimate outdoor courtyards, charming piazzas, and vast rooftop bars for dining under the stars. Here are a few of our favorites.
The French Quarter
The Vendue – After a day exploring Charleston, settle into a delicious cocktail or craft beer at The Vendue. This artistic bar has a sweeping two-story rooftop with fantastic views of Charleston Harbor. Located at 19 Vendue Range.
Blossom – Dine on historic East Bay Street in this private patio! Including a menu of Southern dishes such as oysters, scallops, and green tomatoes, you can enjoy watching the world go by as you feast on some of the finer dishes in Charleston.
Eli’s Table – Featuring a bold and Lowcountry inspired menu, Eli’s Table is a Southern staple. Enjoy one of their many Lowcountry dishes in their private courtyard including shrimp and grits, pan-seared crab cakes, or a number of fresh seafood dishes. Located at 129 Meeting Street.
Poogan’s Porch – A Charleston classic, you simply have to visit Poogan’s Porch! With inspired Southern dishes, you can enjoy a mimosa while dining on one of the double porches in this historic home. Located at 72 Queen Street.
Husk – Founded by renowned chef Sean Brock, and considered a celebration of Southern ingredients, it’s no surprise why Husk is so loved! Dine on one of their speciality dishes on the double porches or grab a seat in their adjacent bar for happy hour. Located at 76 Queen Street.
82 Queen – Located next to Husk, this 300 year-old home is known for its Southern hospitality and fresh local cuisine. Serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the restaurant is spread throughout three buildings with a charming, hidden courtyard featuring historic oak trees. Located at 82 Queen Street.
The Shopping District
Palmetto Cafe – This award winning restaurant is located in the heart of the Belmond Hotel. With a gorgeous sunroom adjacent to the garden style patio, no matter where you sit, you’ll enjoy the views of this lush courtyard and classic fountain. Located at 205 Meeting Street.
Circa 1886 – Located in the original carriage house of the historic Wentworth Mansion, Circa 1886 is a one-of-a-kind restaurant seeped in history. Perfect for a Sunday brunch, anniversary dinner, or bridal events, you’ll fall in love with everything at Circa! Located at 149 Wentworth Street
The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits – A recent local favorite, The Watch, located atop the Restoration Hotel, offers spectacular views of downtown Charleston, all with a glass of wine in hand. Located at 75 Wentworth Street.
Queen Street Grocery – A hidden gem, Queen Street Grocery is tucked away on charming Queen Street and has been in service since 1922. Stop by for a delicious panini or crepe before taking a walk around nearby Colonial Lake or the historic district. Located at 133 Queen Street.
Cru Cafe – Owned by renowned Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef John Tucker, Cru Cafe is a culinary destination off the beaten path in a classic 18th century home. With tantalizing risotto, award winning mac n cheese, and duck confit salad, you can enjoy a number of these dishes in their quaint courtyard. Located at 18 Pinckney Street.
The Citrus Club – One of Charleston’s newest rooftop bars, atop the award-winning Dewberry Hotel, you will experience spectacular views of the harbor, Ravenel Bridge, and more! Relax and enjoy a bespoke cocktail all while admiring the many church steeples across the city skyline. Located at 334 Meeting Street.
Upper King District
Stella’s – Featuring rustic and Greek-inspired cuisine, Stella’s brings the freshest Mediterranean flair to Charleston. Enjoy dishes like spanakorizo, hummus, and grilled octopus on their large porch and courtyard space. Located at 114 St. Phillip Street, A.
Indaco – This Upper King Street eatery serves rustic Italian cuisine. Wood-fired pizzas, hand-crafted pastas, housemade salumi and cured sausages fill the restaurant’s menu which can be enjoyed family-style or a la carte.
Maya – Inspired by Mexico’s vibrant and diverse cuisine, Maya is a regional Mexican eatery located in Charlestons lively upper King district. The menu celebrates uniquely bold flavors and traditional techniques through a selection of classic and reimagined Mexican dishes.
39 Rue de Jean – Offering classic brassiere cuisine, 39 Rue de Jean bring a French flair to the Lowcountry. With a private patio area, you’ll feel as if you’re in Paris, France while dining al fresco.
East Bay & NoMo
Bay Street Biergarten – Love to watch sports? Don’t miss the Bay Street Biergarten! With an expansive list of local and national craft beers, a huge outside patio, and TV screens galore, you’ll be able to watch any sporting game your heart desires.
Edmund’s Oast – One of the most popular brunch spots in Charleston, you’ll be welcomed by the large patio complete with covered seating at Edmund’s Oast. Whether you’re catching happy hour, or enjoying brunch or dinner, this eclectic and original menu is ever changing and can’t be missed. Located at 1081 Morrison Drive.
Tavern & Table – Beloved by locals, Tavern & Table is frequently busy with those enjoying Aperol spritz’s, delicious appetizers, and lounging on the large deck by the water. Stop by after a day on a boat ride or kayak tour around Shem Creek. 100 Church Street.
Saltwater Cowboys – One of Shem Creek’s newest restaurants, Saltwater Cowboys is the ideal location to catch sightings of dolphins while dining. Located on the mouth of Shem Creek, this locally owned restaurant has a killer view, massive outdoor dining area, and a rooftop deck. 130 Mill Street, Mt. Pleasant
BLU Beach Bar and Grill – This popular beachfront bar and restaurant on Folly Beach has gorgeous views of the ocean and features live music most weekends. Enjoy people watching while you sip on a cocktail post-beach or for happy hour prior to dinner.
Pier 101 – With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, beach lovers have been partying at the Folly Beach pier since the 1930’s. With its laid-back beach atmosphere and lengthy menu of fresh seafood, this restaurant has something for everyone!
Note: If you’re just discovering Charleston for the first time these are some great places to start, but the world-class flavors don’t stop here. The city is home to many MANY Michelin star restaurants and hidden local gems. Beyond its culinary scene, the city has so much to offer, check out our guide for even more life, home prices and neighborhoods in Charleston!