I am so thrilled to be sharing a little slice of heavenly Charleston with you today in a guide to Charleston’s best wine bars and shops. It was such a pleasure to partner with Explore Charleston on this post. Did you see my Instagram Takeover with them yesterday!? You may remember that I also partnered with Explore Charleston at the beginning of the year when I spilled on my top picks for the best of Charleston! Charleston is known as a top culinary destination but did you know that the Holy City also has a flourishing and rising wine bar scene? The wine retail scene in Charleston is buzzing as well. Keep reading as I reveal the top spots for wine lovers to visit in Charleston, locals and visitors alike!
A Guide to Charleston’s Best Wine Bars and Shops
Bin 152 was one of the first wonderful wine bars to hit the scene in Charleston. It instantly solidified itself as a favorite among locals but is equally as welcoming to those visiting the Holy City. Bin 152 offers 40 different wines by the glass and 40 different cheeses and charcuterie with their freshly baked bread. Plus, they have over 200 wines by the bottle. I love chatting with everyone who works at Bin 152. They are so knowledgeable about wine and what to pair wine with in terms of cheeses and meats. Perhaps the best part about Bin 152 is that the French Quarter neighborhood spot is open until 2am!
Graft Wine Shop & Bar
Graft Wine Shop & Bar is so special because it is just what is sounds like, both a wine bar and a wine shop. However, it’s even more unique than it sounds. The walls are lined with different wines to choose from to take out or to uncork and enjoy right there in the bar. It might sound like it would be hard to pick a bottle but the two sommeliers (aka long-time friends) behind Graft created their own honest, relatable, and often funny tags for the bottles they sell. So it’s a blast selecting a bottle to enjoy! Graft also has a menu of wines by the glass and plays some of the best music in town. You’ll love the ambiance! P.S. follow the Graft Instagram for updates on food pop-ups.
If I were to dream up a perfect neighborhood wine bar and shop, it would look exactly like Rudi’s. The owner, Rudi, is always there and knows all his customers well but he knows even more about wine. Rudi’s specializes in Italian wines and thus 90% of the wines he sells come from Italy. If you love learning about new wines and trying new bottles, then Rudi’s is for you as he has an amazing selection of vintage bottles from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. He even has a 1964 Château Lafite Rothschild. Don’t be intimidated though, Rudi’s is the perfect spot to wander into for wine and cheese if you’re a first timer to the spot, just visiting the area, or are just looking for an easy bottle of wine to enjoy that night.
If you’re looking for a lively spot out for date night or a girl’s night, then look no further than Vintage Lounge. The wine bar offers the finest selection of wines, champagnes, and craft cocktails as well as a menu on meats, cheeses, and small plates. The space is large but still has an intimate feel with plush booths and twinkling candlelit tables. Vintage Lounge also has an item on the menu titled “The Blind” for their daring customers. If you guess the glass of wine correctly, then it’s on the house. P.S. don’t miss their back patio on a beautiful evening!
Joséphine Wine Bar
Charleston’s newest establishment to hit the wine bar scene, Joséphine Wine Bar, is more than just a traditional wine bar. In addition to a mostly French selection of both vintage and modern accessible wines, Joséphine offers a delicious specialty cocktail menu and an elevated food menu. I was fascinated by the name of the wine bar itself. It was named for Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais (aka Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife) who is said to have owned the best wine collection of her time. I think Joséphine is set to become a go-to spot for both celebrating special occasions with vintage collector style bottles of wine. Also, for enjoying casual nights out with friends who want affordable but delicious wine options.
Located on upper King Street, Uncork differentiates itself from the other wine bars in town by being Charleston’s only exact pour wine bar. Uncork has Enomatic wine dispensers that pour guests exactly 1-3 ounce and 6 ounce glasses of over 40 unique wines. I had the most delicious rosé that was chilled to perfection in the wine dispenser! It’s a great spot to go to experience drinking wine in a fun and new way.
Monarch Wine Merchants
Monarch Wine Merchants is more than just a wine shop. It’s a neighborhood gathering spot that brings together Charlestonians who are looking for organic, natural, and biodynamic wines that are good for the environment and our bodies. Every member of the Monarch team is passionate about wine and loves sharing about different wines including unusual wines, interesting imports, vintage bottles, small production labels, and more!
Goat Sheep Cow
Simply put, Goat Sheep Cow is beloved in Charleston. What started as a little South of Broad wine and cheese shop, has grown into a staple of the neighborhood and has even expanded with the opening of the Goat Sheep Cow North location. You may remember my review of Goat Sheep Cow North in my Guide to the Best of Charleston. The North location is much larger and includes a full indoor/outdoor wine bar seating area in addition to the shop. I love it there but I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage y’all to also visit the original Goat Sheep Cow shop. You will really get a taste of what it’s like to live in Charleston and stroll down the street to this neighborhood store. Plus, you must try their to-go sandwich of the day, which is always posted on their Instagram!
Photography by Edwin Eversole