When the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing, nothing sounds better to me than watching the world atop a beautiful Charleston roof. From views of the Ravenel Bridge to bustling King Street, there is a little something for everyone in Charleston. And while there are many others not listed here, these are my six favorite downtown rooftops.
334 Meeting Street
Views: 360 Degrees; Ravenel Bridge
Suggested Cocktail: Hibiscus Mojito
The Citrus Club takes the cake for me. Located on the eighth floor of The Dewberry Hotel, Citrus Club is an expansive rooftop with views for miles. It’s the perfect place to take a photo with the Ravenel Bridge, mingle with friends, and watch sailboats — all while enjoying top-notch cocktails. Entry to Citrus Club feels a little more exclusive than some of the others on this list. Guests will need to see a hostess, add their names to a list, and wait for a table on the chic patio.
(Pro Tip: Check out The Library, which is The Dewberry’s other exquisite cocktail lounge, while you wait.) Once upstairs, you’ll see patrons dressed to impress and find yourself sipping cocktails that have been nominated for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The Citrus Club is NOT to be missed.
495 King Street
Views: 360 Views of Downtown
Suggested Cocktail: Frozen Negroni
You’ll find Stars in the middle of the action on Upper King Street. From the midday tourists taking in the city to the pre-dinner/post-dinner crowd, Stars draws a mix of locals and vacationers. Because of its location and wonderful views, it can get crowded. Expect an ever-changing atmosphere, depending on the time of day. From a relatively quiet and relaxing ambiance one afternoon to an upbeat party crowd another evening, Stars appeals to everyone.
479 King Street
Suggested Cocktail: Double Standard
Known for its impressive list of cocktails and house-made infusions, The Cocktail Club is a clear front runner for lounges to visit in Charleston. Make your way through the dark, moody speakeasy inside to the modern, wooden terrace outdoors. While many of the rooftops on this list provide views of the city, The Cocktail Club is enclosed, allowing you to get lost in conversation with great company instead of plotting your next Insta-worthy photoshoot. While there is ample cozy seating outdoors, it does get crowded. Visiting off-season? Good news — there are heaters, making it a cozy atmosphere to relax with a cocktail.
55 Wentworth Street
Vibe: Artsy and modern
Views: The Ansonborough Neighborhood
Suggested Cocktail: Filthy Martini
Ready to feel like you’re in South Beach? Head over to Élevé. This rooftop lounge welcomes you with a turfed outdoor space and art-deco furniture that feels like you’ve landed yourself in a high-end garden. This is a great spot to relax and enjoy a cocktail any time of day. Outdoor seating is first-come, so be prepared to stand if it’s crowded, but it’s worth noting there is a pretty large indoor rooftop space that is air-conditioned, as well.
19 Vendue Range
Vibe: Friendly and Casual
Views: The City
Suggested Cocktail: Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Everything about this rooftop is fun, friendly, and generally simple — from the furnishings to the menu. Maybe that’s part of its allure. Come as you are, and enjoy city views, catch the game on TV, or cool off with the refreshing breeze. This is a nice place to stop to catch a beautiful sunset before heading to dinner.
225 E Bay Street
Views: Ravenel Bridge and Charleston
Suggested Cocktail: Pavilion Punch
With its checkered tile flooring, large pool, and umbrellaed tables lining its edge, this rooftop gives you all the resort feels with spectacular views. The guests of Pavilion Bar vary greatly — from poolside in their swimsuits to high heels and suit jackets, there’s quite the variety of visitors. Seating is first-come-first-serve, but there is plenty of room to stand if you cannot find a table. I would recommend stopping here for an afternoon cocktail or pre-dinner drink.