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$27,090 ($10,626)
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4 College Freshman

Nightlife: Because of charlestons great nightlife, the school does contain parties about every night

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: For those who like getting an MIP for having a fake ID, going to the bars is a great way to spend weekends in downtown Charleston. For the rest of us, there are still concerts, campus events, comedy clubs, and other non-Greek house parties to go to during nightlife. There's a good music and arts scene here that lots of the partiers overlook.

5 College Junior

Nightlife: There is a dance club that is 18 up a couple blocks from campus. Many activities are available through CAB for all underage students. There are also a wide variety of bars and house parties, as well as frat and sorority parties. All of these parties are only a walk from campus, leaving you with no need for a car or a taxi.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: For the most part, people hit up the bars, but I choose not to do that because they are really cracking down on underaged drinking. There are usually frat parties, but they're the same thing every night and lack any real sense of unity and fun. I opt for smaller house parties - there are a lot of them. They tend to stay lower key and I have a lot more fun at those.

College Junior

Nightlife: I live and work off campus and do not spend many nights on campus. However, the city surrounding the campus has a great nightlife, which is always the first place I take family and friends when they visit.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 76th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 124th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1299th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Most students are surprised by the variety of bars and clubs that Charleston actually offers, so if you’re over 21, you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the city’s nightlife. Many bars and clubs are not very close to campus, though. Students frequent the bars on King Street and other nearby blocks, and students who are 18-and-over can often find a place or two that let them in up until 10 p.m. After that time, security starts to crack down, and the underagers are better off finding a party on St. Philip or Rutledge Streets.

Anyone under the age of 21 should most likely stick to house parties without an ID. House parties are popular at the College of Charleston, and though many are brief because of the close proximity of the houses in the city, there is always something going on during the weekends. Even parties that are loosely centered on a specific group, like the sailing team or the girls’ basketball team, are welcoming to anyone willing to pay five bucks at the door. If you do have a fake ID, use it carefully because the police will take it if they have even the slightest suspicion. Charleston students of drinking age have more options to choose from, and even though the city’s bars and clubs are mostly populated by older people, they still have a good time anyway.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • East Bay Street
  • King Street
  • Market Street
  • Upper King Street
Other Places to Check Out
  • Charleston Grill
  • Tommy Condon's
  • Wet Willie's
Local Specialties
  • Firefly Vodka: A delicious blend of sweet tea and vodka
  • Palmetto Pale Ale: A beer native to the area
  • Wet Willie's Daquiri: Specialty drink from Wet Willie's
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Quarters
  • Up the River, Down the River
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
AC's Bar & Grill The Silver Dollar
Organization Parties
Many organizations and clubs on campus rent out bars or clubs for a party, but these are usually exclusive (especially when it comes to fraternities and sororities) and strange if you’re not actually involved in the group throwing the party. Your best bet is just to go to a bar or a party that is non-affiliated.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Trio Lounge

Trio Club is host to live music, DJs, and dancing in a trendy and business casual atmosphere. The music selection is quite eclectic-on any given night you are likely to hear Latin, disco, folk, blues, and R&B.

139 Calhoun St.


(843) 965-5333

The Purple Tree Lounge

Purple Tree is an 18-and-up dance club/bar located in the Market. A DJ, plush couches, and a large dance floor complete the Lounge. Every Thursday night a Jell-O wrestling contest is held-ensuring an interesting evening.

36 N. Market St.


(843) 722-4222

The Pantheon

Charleston's most popular gay bar/dance club attracts both the gay and straight crowd. There are drag shows every Friday and Sunday night and an annual Ms. Pantheon Pageant that cannot be missed! If you're in the mood to dance to some Whitney Houston or techno, this is the place for you.

28 Ann St.


(843) 577-2582

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

The Silver Dollar

This cheap dive bar is a favorite among the Greek life crowd, as well as for those looking for a wild night and possibly a one-night stand. The small bar gets packed Thursday through Saturday nights, but is a really fun place to dance and shoot some pool. The "Dirty Dollar" is also a popular freshman bar.

478 King St.


(843) 722-7223

The Rooftop Bar & Restaurant

A nice casual rooftop bar with a spectacular view of the city skyline and the harbor and live acoustic performances. But remember wear a coat in the winter-surprisingly it does get cold and windy in Charleston! Also be prepared to wait in line to get in.

23 Vendue Range


(843) 577-7970

O'Malley's Bar & Grille

Irish Pub with lots of live music, sponsored parties and yes, a huge St. Patty's Day celebration. This popular student venue also has a side patio for those who want to escape the packed madness of a Friday night crowd or smoke a cigarette or two.

549 King St.


(843) 805-5000

Upper Deck Tavern

The last Sunday of every month features a 4 p.m.-to-8 p.m., half-off-everything happy hour. An all-around fun, popular dive bar, the Upper Deck offers decent specials throughout the week, such as $2 mixed drinks and $2 Molsons on Saturdays.

353 King Street


(843) 958-0002

Torch Velvet Lounge

A martini bar with miniature hookahs, funky artwork, a DJ, and a back room with plush bed-sized couches. A great place to take a date or have a make-out session.

545 King St.


(843) 723-9333

Social Wine Bar & Restaurant

188 E. Bay St.


(843) 577-5665

Blind Tiger Pub

Located in a historic building with a lot of atmosphere (the structure dates back to 1803), the Blind Tiger is rumored to have operated through Prohibition-hence the name. The pub features a very extensive bar and live music nightly.

36-38 Broad St.


(843) 577-0088

Big John's Tavern

Another popular dive, Big John's features a number of weekly specials, and a happy hour featuring $3 house well drinks, $2 domestic bottles, and $1.50 domestic drafts.

251 E. Bay St.


(843) 723-3483

AC's Bar and Grill

AC's borders on being a dive, but in the most positive way possible. It's an extremely popular Charleston hangout, both among students and residents. The burgers are good, the clientele is diverse and friendly, and the beer specials are plentiful.

467 King St.


(843) 577-6742

Mad River Bar & Grille

Built in an old church, Mad River is an exciting sports bar and pub. Beware underagers, the bouncers at Mad River get paid to take fake IDs, so don't press your luck.

42 N. Market St.


(843) 723-0032

Charleston Beer Works

Pool table, Shuffleboard, 30 beers on tap, and televisions to watch the game.

468 King St.


(843) 577-5885

Chai's Lounge and Tapas

This tapas lounge and bar has a large outside patio with space heaters and where guests can listen to reggae or jazz and sip on some delicious mojitos.

462 King St.


(843) 722-7313

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

North Charleston Coliseum

See a concert at this music venue.

5001 Coliseum Dr.

North Charleston

(843) 529-5000

City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Attend an art opening at the City Gallery.

34 Prioleau St.


(843) 958-6484

Café Paradiso

A coffee shop and place to smoke hookah.

51 S. Market St.


(843) 958-9717

Student Polls

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 19 responses

  • 16% Keggers and then people go to bars. Everynight
  • 16% House parties
  • 16% Not a lot of parties
  • 16% Frat parties and bars
  • 11% The best people and time Ive had is with RUGBY
  • 11% Georgestock
  • 11% Carolina cup
  • 5% Cougar Pouluza

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 86 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 70 responses

  • 1% There are no good options.
  • 0% Use a designated driver.
  • 1% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 0% Public transportation.
  • 1% Taxis.
  • 96% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 75 responses

  • 7% Parties? What parties?
  • 8% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 16% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 55% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 15% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 17 responses

  • 35% House Parties
  • 22% Manifested by your own company
  • 22% Frat houses
  • 13% Search out the off campus houses frat guys are in
  • 9% Bars



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