Timeless Lowcountry Discovery

Cocktails With A View

Looking for a different perspective on Charleston’s charm? From exclusive hotel club-level hideaways to public terraces high above the streets, there’s an elevated place for everyone. These downtown rooftop bars offer views as far reaching as the history is deep.

Sunset sipping anyone?

Rooftop bars in Charleston include The Citrus Club at The Dewberry Hotel.
Memories await hIgh atop Charleston’s historic skyline. © The Citrus Club | Dewberry Hotel

Citrus Club

Sprawling views don’t disappoint on The Dewberry hotel’s 8th floor, the highest open bar rooftop in Charleston. Fully encompassing the city’s multi-spired skyline, the river to river expanse equally affords views of Charleston’s busy harbor, and the Ravenel Bridge’s 575′ tall twin diamond shaped towers.

A lushly planted terrace with plush, intimately grouped seating beckons lingering at the Citrus Club, where food and beverage choices parallel the impressive views and laissez faire appeal. Upscale airs are evident in the small, polite crowds, as well-behaved as they are dressed.

Citrus-inspired cocktails include several daiquiri varieties, and an aptly named Hawk’s Perch with Tanqueray, lemon, and housemade blueberry shrub. In addition, 5 different bubbly’s are offered by the glass. Lite bites tempt with such creations as market catch crudo, citrus salad, warm blue crab dip, and lobster rolls. Anytime is a good time at this city high point, but sunrise and sunset are indescribably enchanting. Non-hotel guests welcome, check in with the Concierge for 8th floor keycard. The Dewberry, 334 Meeting St., 8th Fl., Charleston.

If you're looking for a rooftop bar in Charleston to sip the sunset away, check out Eleve at The Bohemian Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection property.
Rooftop bars and lounges are made for sipping with friends, but few compare to toasting your own custom blend as with the Kessler Collection wine experience. © Eleve, The Grand Bohemian, a Marriott Autograph and Kessler Collection Property


Sunset enthusiasts join in sky watching delight at ÉLEVÉ, one of the classiest rooftops in town. Perched stories high above Meeting Street, watch the sun paint itself pastel and gold — that is, if you can tear yourself away from the sumptuous indoor bar and lounge scene.

Sip a Folly’s Tide cocktail, combining Malibu and Flor de Cana rums, orgeat, and tiki bitters, or perk up with a Wake Up Call mixed with Dixie Pepper vodka, Charleston mix, and candied bacon. Indulge in Kessler’s custom blend wines (or take a class downstairs and sample your own.) If local brew is your preference, prepare for a downright spoil from the best of Charleston’s award-winning breweries.

Along with mellowing libations, nosh on such favorites as Beef Carpaccio, a marinated dry aged wagyu, or Shrimp and Grits with sugar snap peas, and andouille sausage. Save room for the tasty Pecan Praline Bread Pudding and let the live entertainments soothe your busy sightseeing day away. Grand Bohemian Hotel, 55 Wentworth St, Charleston.

TIP: Art enthusiasts appreciate the changing lobby gallery exhibits; viewing hours vary.

Overlooking Marion Square and St. Matthews church, Fiat Lux at Hotel Bennett one of many rooftop bars with great views.
© Fiat Lux | Hotel Bennett

Fiat Lux

Poised atop one of downtown’s newest glam hotels, the point isn’t what you’ll see, but possibly who — and with whom. Exotic cars frequently arrive out front with bespoke attired patrons headed for weekend retreat check-in. Pay no attention, you’re just as chic! Elevator up to Fiat Lux where the regal blue interior bar welcomes you with Charleston’s bright Caribbean hued skies. 

The skyline views offer history and nostalgia with no concern about competing with other broader rooftop vistas. Fiat Lux offers peeks of the Ravenel Bridge and Cooper River while predominantly overlooking famed Marion Square — where in 2020 Calhoun’s statue was removed in homage to racial equality — and St. Matthews Lutheran Church that affords a surreal eye level experience with a bell tower chiming on the hour (and charmingly, every quarter.) With a spire at 255’ tall, it’s technically the tallest building on the peninsula. 

The drinks are as beautiful as the decor with ever impressive bubbly and wine offerings. The latest cocktail temptations included Ryes & Shine with Bulleit Rye, Apricot Liqueur, peppercorn, and ginger beer; or zinging taste bud allure with Cinn-fully Delicious comprised of pineapple rum, Ancho Reyes, cinnamon simple, blood orange, and pineapple. For nibbles, consider the Blue Crab Croissant with lump crab, butter lettuce, and remoulade, or the exceptional charcuterie including 3 cheeses, 3 meats and traditional accompaniments. 

Stipulated dress code, please see website. Hotel Bennett, 404 King St., Charleston.

TIP: Fiat Lux is ideally situated to wander King Street and explore Charleston’s youthful energetic nightlife.

Tucked along upper King in historic downtown Charleston is one of the most popular rooftop bars, Stars Rooftop and Grill Room.
© Stars Rooftop & Grill Room

Stars Rooftop & Grill Room

Whether sunset or starlight, the 360-degree view at Stars Rooftop & Grill Room is Charleston skyline home. Add tap wine, brews, wood fired grill and rotisserie dishes, and exceptional craft cocktails and you’re right where you belong. 

Located in the energetic Upper King Street district, Stars offers locally sourced, seasonally inspired dishes encapsulated in a mid-1930’s atmosphere. The Lowcountry’s natural fauna echoes no matter where you perch: at the communal bar meeting new fellow residents (or just-arrived-tourists, share the Charleston love!), or cushioned tableside with friends for dinner, the entire upper terrace wraps patrons in hospitable comfort. 

With 30+ taps wines, 20+ brews, dozens of frozen and specialty cocktails you won’t go thirsty.  Hearty fare runs the gamut from classic Shrimp and Grits to traditional Filet Mignon. Don’t miss their Southern Benedict brunch, featuring buttermilk biscuits with fried oysters, poached eggs, and bearnaise sauce.

Private party in your future? Customized menus for parties as few as 15 to as many as 140 are available. 495 King St., Charleston, S.C.

Sunsets are The Cocktail Club in downtown Charleston are simply the best!

The Cocktail Club

Discovering this tucked away treasure on energetic upper King is a bit like winning a rooftop bar lottery – winners celebrate the contemporary open sky vibe juxtaposed against an amber lit inside bar complete with schmoozy leather couches. Reclaimed historical elements — beams, fireplaces, salvaged doors — pay home to The Cocktail Club’s original 1881 building.

Rare liquors tempt a variety of tastes. Fresh garnishes from the rooftop garden complete unique farm-to-shaker cocktails. Saunter in for a taste of the broadest selection of home-made infusions and get ready to shake your head to live music. With an ever-changing lineup of top Charleston artists, entertainment is never in question.

Want a fabulous venue to hold a birthday or bachelor’s party? Look no further; from the main bar to the rooftop terrace, there’s plenty of space for all types of private events. Happy Hour 6 days/week with featured cocktail (no Saturdays.) Live music several days a week. 479 King St., Charleston.

If you want to see some of the best rooftop views in Charleston, head up to The Pavilion at the Market Pavilion hotel.

The Pavilion Bar

The Pavilion Bar, Market Pavilion Hotel, 225 E. Bay St., Charleston.

The Vendue hotel's rooftop bar hosts annual Derby Day festivities high above the city.
© The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue Hotel

The Rooftop Bar

The Rooftop Bar, The Vendue Hotel, 19 Vendue Range, Charleston.

One of the most elegant rooftop terraces in Charleston can be found at The Loutrel hotel.
© Kim Graham Photo

The Rooftop Terrace

Locals are raving over the rooftop at Charleston’s newest hotel, The Loutrel, an award winning gem located conveniently one block off the central City Market. Recent social media comments include,

“This is the best roof top setting in Charleston. Comfortable seating and a view to die for.”

Though food and beverage service aren’t available on the rooftop until spring, you can easily order from Loutrel’s cozy Veranda Lounge and carry on up. 61 State St., Charleston.

One of the best sunset views in Charleston is at The Restoration hotel's rooftop bar, aptly named The Watch.
© The Watch The Restoration Hotel

The Watch

Housed atop the charming Restoration Hotel, The Watch’s rooftop bar services the hotel’s restaurant, an impressive farm to table experience that celebrates fresh talent and local ingredients alongside beautiful western views of the city. Sunset viewing anyone?

Rooftop seating accommodates all meals, from breakfast and lunch to appetizer noshing and full dinner service. Recent snack selections included Tarvin Shrimp Ceviche with Fresno Chilis, tomato, and tortilla chips, Beet Toast on sourdough with Crème Fraiche, and an Alligator Corndog with smokey creole mustard.

Mixologists offer such concoctions as the Mrs. Pattie with green chartreuse, Montenegro, and chocolate meringue; or the In Full Bloom with Southern Amaro, hibiscus marjoram syrup, and pineapple. For teetotalers, equally tempting shaker to glass combos include the No-Groni with gin alternative, Wilfreds Bitter Aperitif, and Rasasvada Rose Bergamot; and the Slowburn Marg with Bonbuz, grapefruit, jalapeno, and simple.

Happy Hour Monday-Thursday, movie nights, yoga and other special events. The Restoration Hotel, 75 Wentworth St., Charleston.

The social butterflies of Charleston visit Uptown Social on King Street to see and be seen.
© Uptown Social

Uptown Social

Social butterflies delight at this eclectic ‘see and be seen’ King Street joint. Offering more than pretty rooftop views, Uptown Social’s vibe adds a festive modern spin to the otherwise traditional neighborhood tavern. Indoor and outdoor spaces encompass four different bars, all serving extensive beverage and food selections. Regularly scheduled entertainment includes live music, karaoke, comedy, and more — plus 50+ TVs scattered throughout.

Favorite bar foods include truffle fries and nachos platters, 10 decadent pizza choices — consider the MacDougal with white wine cream, mozzarella, Grana Padano, garlic chips, mushroom, and white balsamic — or create your own. Try the Smash Burgers or wings with 11 signature dipping sauces. Along with dozens of draft and local brews, and wine, craft cocktails include the Palmetto Paloma, with Reposado, Grand Marnier, and grapefruit; and the Bougie Mind Eraser with Ketel One, coffee liquor, and soda.

Late night menu, Greasy Spoon weekend brunch, and Happy Hour Monday – Friday. 587 King St., Charleston.

More details about each restaurant on our list will be published on January 17. Thanks for your patience!

Be sure to use our handy Map Guide to help you find your way to these great rooftops. Available free throughout downtown and the Lowcountry. Email or call for more information.

Attention F&B owners: Though we only feature establishments we’ve personally visited and reviewed, we do offer free business listings to help our readers find you. Share up to 800 words, 5 images, logo, and more. Submit HERE