14 Charleston Bars or Restaurants With Breathtaking Views
It’s no secret that Holy City sunsets and Charleston waterfronts are some of the most coveted views around (think of the Instagram likes), but where can you relax with a glass of wine or a plate of food while taking in these phenomenons? There’s a few rooftop bars or spots nestled on the water worth visiting — many offer seafood, and all offer libations. Anywhere with a view is sure to attract tourists, so judge the menu on the number of fanny packs you see waiting at the hostess stand.
Note: These are not listed by rank
1 Bowens Island Restaurant
The setting at old-school oyster shack Bowens is perfect for grabbing a fresh bushel of bivalves, and watching a Lowcountry sunset. The interiors at Bowen’s are rustic, but you’re there for views of the marshland and water.
For fans of breathtaking views and climate-controlled environments, Harbor View Restaurant & Lounge offers both atop the Holiday Inn on the Ashley River. Neither the gnats nor the humidity can get to you from the enclosed rooftop bar. Bonus: house liquors are only $4 during happy hour.
With some of the cheapest drinks and best views downtown, Salty Mike’s is a gathering for sailors, locals, and in-the-know tourists. The no-frills watering hole sits on the Marina, so guests can watch boats go by with beer in hand.
Fleet Landing is your only option for waterfront views on the Ravenel bridge side of downtown Charleston. The harbor views are best enjoyed at happy hour with a discounted drink and friends on the wraparound porch. The restaurant is popular with visitors looking for $18.99 fried shrimp platters.
You can easily drop some serious money at Market Pavilion if you’re looking to impress friends or celebrate a recent promotion. However, those $15 mojitos come with a spectacular skyline view of the Holy City and a bar-side pool. Visit for a splurge and take in the sights.
The Vendue Rooftop recently got an upgrade. What was once the vodka-soda-stained hangout for bachelorette parties and undergrads is now a nice stop for folks looking for sophisticated cocktails and rosé by the glass. The pre-sunset crowd is a quiet bunch peering at the sight of the Charleston Harbor from above. The post-sunset crew might get a little rowdier.
Walk past the chandeliers and double bars of the Èlevé dining room to settle on the side patio for views of downtown Charleston in a hip, modern setting. Peek down at the Ansonborough neighbors with a glass of rosé in hand.
The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits opened atop boutique hotel The Restoration. The eatery is on the seventh floor, so it currently claims the title of highest elevation for a public space and carries incredible views of the Lowcountry. Stop by at sunset for a Instagram-breaking photo opportunity.
Visit the Stars Rooftop on Sundays for low-priced mimosas and Bloody Marys. If it’s a nice day, sit in the sun and peer over King Street. The roof is a nice place to settle for an outdoor Sunday Funday.
Charleston Harbor Fish House has some of the best views in Mount Pleasant. The outdoor bar overlooks the Ravenel Bridge and most of the seats have views of the harbor. Spy on downtown Charleston from across the Cooper River.
The Boathouse is a Charleston institution. The menu reads like a throwback Southern seafood house — fried scallop platters next to crab cake appetizers and butter-poached lobster tails. Ask for a seat on the top deck for a cocktail (or two) while you ponder the views of Breach Inlet.