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Roundup: Our picks for the Holy City’s top rooftop bars

Roundup: Our picks for the Holy City’s top rooftop bars
April 2023

Soak in everything from downtown church spires to the diamonds of the Ravenel Bridge with a drink in hand

The Rooftop at The Vendue
Just steps from the waterfront, the city’s OG rooftop bar sits atop The Vendue art hotel. Stroll through the first floor to experience the curated exhibit before taking the elevator to the top for panoramic views. From this vantage, sunsets are spectacular, particularly when paired with a refreshing cucumber margarita and an appetizer or two. The space itself is large, with a variety of seating areas and two levels. Head to the upper deck for the best perch: you’ll see everything from downtown church spires to the diamonds of the Ravenel Bridge. The Rooftop gets busy on the weekends when there’s often a wait. 19 Vendue Range,

Revelry Brewing
Everyone loves to chill at Revelry, a laid-back oasis in the burgeoning NoMo area. New buildings have changed the scenery a bit in recent years, but the relaxed rooftop bar still has excellent views of the Ravenel and the surrounding area. The brewery makes the most of its indoor/outdoor space. On the upstairs deck, efficient bartenders serve house brews on draft and in cans, as well as wine and ciders for the non-beer fans. Snacks come from a permanent food truck offering classic bar fare and inventive sushi rolls. The crowd here is friendly and local. You’ll likely be mingling with kids, dogs, kickball teams, and everyone in between. It’s a perfect meet-up spot any day of the week. 10 Conroy St.,

Overlooking Marion Square, Ritual brings a trendy, tropical vibe to downtown’s bar scene. The outside deck is carpeted in vibrant green Astroturf, with low-slung seating, fire pits, umbrellas, and live music that starts early and transitions into late-night DJs. A covered outside bar protects patrons from the weather, while the inside dining room has an upscale casual atmosphere. Ritual is a great spot for groups to gather and share carafes of craft cocktails and plates like Tajín-dusted calamari and crispy patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). 
You can easily start at happy hour and find yourself staying late into the night. 145 Calhoun St.,

Citrus Club
Set atop the eight-story Dewberry hotel, the stylish Citrus Club boasts one of the highest rooftop bars in the city. A host near the elevator will let you up (if there’s room) or put your name on the list. Once upstairs, you’ll enter a rich, wood-paneled bar area with a wall of windows. But the gorgeous outside deck is the place to be. The panoramic vista from this high up is stunning. You can see everything from the harbor to the historic district. Wicker chairs and comfy couches surrounded by beautiful greenery provide private nooks in the open-air setting. The inventive craft cocktail list has a tropical feel with classic daiquiris and mai tais, perfect for pairing with dishes like calypso chips and dips and crispy piña colada shrimp. The rooftop closes at 10 p.m., so your best bet is to get there early for a glorious sunset happy hour. 334 Meeting St.,

Stars Rooftop & Grill Room
Located in the heart of Upper King Street’s nightlife district, Stars’ rooftop is a happening hot spot for locals, tourists, and the occasional bachelorette party. The bar takes up the entire space with lots of natural wood and greenery framing picture-perfect views of downtown. Start or end your evening here. Stars doesn’t serve food up top, but the extensive cocktail menu more than makes up for it. Signature drinks like the frozen negroni and the Three Punch Rum complement on-tap wines and a solid whiskey list. The bar doesn’t take reservations, so be ready to wait in line during busy weekends. 495 King St.,

The Watch
Perched on the seventh floor of The Restoration hotel, The Watch’s indoor-outdoor dining space feels like an observatory. A wall of windows lets you enjoy the view, but the outside terrace is the best place to be when the weather is nice. The kitchen serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch with a killer fried chicken sandwich and a very respectable burger. The kitchen also features specials throughout the week. Our favorite is $10 frozen drinks on Fridays, when daiquiris mingle with a rotating selection of cocktails that pair perfectly with the view. 75 Wentworth St.,

This old-school venue recently added a Southern porch with rocking chairs, wicker seating, and swings to its outdoor setting, which overlooks Market Street. The rooftop deck has multiple levels with plenty of cozy areas and bars to serve the crowds, typically a mix of tourists and locals on the weekends. The rooftop often has live DJs, but you’ll also find jazz and country rock bands playing in other parts of the venue. With so many spaces and different types of music, it can get a bit raucous here. Stop in early to toast the sunset or join the party late for dancing and drinks. 54 N. Market St.,