Party Scene

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Party Scene

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4 College Junior

Party Scene: Being in downtown Charleston, there are many opportunities to go out to the bars and party it up. There are only a few under 21 clubs so house parties are usually the best place to go if you want to have a good social time.

3 College Sophomore

Party Scene: I don't generally go out and party on the weekends so I can't say

5 College Freshman

Party Scene: You could go out any night of the week and have a great time. Being in Greek Life helps a lot

3 College Freshman

Party Scene: I don't really have much experience at parties

3 College Freshman

Party Scene: The bars here have a strict 21 and over policy so you have to rely on frats and house parties as an undergraduate most of the time.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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
  • www.carolinanightlife.com
  • www.charlestoncitypaper.com
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.

Charleston

(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.

Charleston

(843) 722-4222

purpletreecharleston.com

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.

Charleston

(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.

Charleston

(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

Charleston

(843) 577-7970

www.vendueinn.com

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.

Charleston

(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

Charleston

(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.

Charleston

(843) 723-9333

torch-lounge.com

Social Wine Bar & Restaurant

188 E. Bay St.

Charleston

(843) 577-5665

www.socialwinebar.com

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.

Charleston

(843) 577-0088

www.btpub.com

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.

Charleston

(843) 723-3483

www.bigjohnstavern.com

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.

Charleston

(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.

Charleston

(843) 723-0032

www.madrivercharleston.com

Charleston Beer Works

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

468 King St.

Charleston

(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.

Charleston

(843) 722-7313

www.eatatchais.com

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

www.charlestonconvention.com

City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Attend an art opening at the City Gallery.

34 Prioleau St.

Charleston

(843) 958-6484

www.charlestoncity.info

Café Paradiso

A coffee shop and place to smoke hookah.

51 S. Market St.

Charleston

(843) 958-9717

Student Polls

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 32 responses

  • 19% House parties
  • 19% Halloween
  • 12% Carolina cup
  • 9% The best people and time Ive had is with RUGBY
  • 9% Georgestock
  • 9% Keggers and then people go to bars. Everynight
  • 9% Not a lot of parties
  • 9% Frat parties and bars
  • 3% Cougar Pouluza

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 35 responses

  • 28% House Parties
  • 20% Bars
  • 18% Frat houses
  • 17% Search out the off campus houses frat guys are in
  • 12% Manifested by your own company
  • 3% Sports teams
  • 2% No frat house parties, instead at houses they rent

What is the best day of the week for nightlife on your college campus?    Based on 22 responses

  • 0% Sunday
  • 0% Monday
  • 0% Tuesday
  • 0% Wednesday
  • 5% Thursday
  • 55% Friday
  • 41% Saturday

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 98 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • 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

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

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 91 responses

  • 15% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 55% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 15% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 9% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 5% Parties? What parties?

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