Never mind all the city attractions if you're packing your days with golf: There are so many great places to eat and drink in Charleston that indulging your taste buds could be a full-time diversion. Start your evening round with a rooftop cocktail. Long before the al-fresco-bar-craze-with-a- view hit the nation, The Rooftop Bar at the Vendue (thevendue.com) has been a popular gathering place for locals. Downtown near the waterfront, the lively spot serves light bites (e.g., crispy shrimp cocktail and pulled pork nachos), colorful cocktails and local brews. Holy City Pluff Mud Porter anyone? For a more serene experience, the new Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits, in the center of the historic district on King Street, has a gorgeous rooftop bar and eatery with indoor and outdoor spots and panoramic views. You'll find bespoke cocktails and craft beers from small-batch producers along with classic Lowcountry bites from hush puppies to oysters (therestorationhotel.com).
Another newcomer on the scene is Lagunitas Charleston Taproom & Beer Sanctuary, in the heart of Old Charleston on East Bay Street. The beloved craft beer with the seductive labels that started in California is good spot for a post-round beer and burger, but it also serves some local favorites like Charleston She Crab Soup, a rich bisque of sherry, crab and heavy cream. But to get a real taste of Lowcountry cuisine—think seafood and grits—you need to dip into the niche known as New Southern. Restaurants labeled as such draw on the traditional Lowcountry staples like Frogmore stew (shrimp, sausage, corn) but add the farm-to-table focus. The go-to spot is the Lowcountry Bistro on South Market Street (lowcountrybistro.com), where you'll find creative takes on traditional dishes, such as crawfish quinoa, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese grits, and pork belly and scallops. If you need a BBQ fix, there a few spots you won't want to miss. Right on King Street is Nick's Original Bar-B-Q (nicksbarbq.com). It's nothing fancy, but it's got a devoted following for its plentiful plates of brisket and ribs. The Cumberland Street Smokehouse (cumberlandsmokehouse.com) built its reputation on chef Kyle Yarborough's duck fat fries, bourbon and beer. Across the bridge on James Island (convenient if you are playing golf in Mt. Pleasant), is a neighborhood spot called the Smoky Oak Taproom (smokyoak.com). It's known for its beer can chicken, hand-cut fries and 40-some beers on tap.
Whatever you do, don't leave town without having a biscuit. The hands-down favorite, which has a national following including Oprah, is Callie's Hot Little Biscuit (calliesbiscuits.com). Serving tender, buttery hand-made biscuits stuffed with country ham, sausage, eggs, pimento cheese and more morning, noon, and night. With locations at Charleston City Market and King Street, grab one and go before hitting the links.