Torch Velvet Lounge's numerous plush couches and candles surround imbibers as they sample decadent cocktails and martinis. Potable creations burst forth in forms such as the Captain's Choice, a mix of Captain Morgan rum and orange curacao splashed with Bacardi 151 and drizzled with cinnamon and caramelized sugar, much like most tax forms ($11). Sate sweet teeth with the Grapes of Wrath, a blend of Smirnoff watermelon, white-grape juice, and Red Bull ($11). The Mint Chocolate Chip's mélange of Rumple Minze, Bailey's Irish Cream, Godiva, and Hershey's-chocolate-dappled rim whets palates tired from sharing ideas or saying "palate" ($11), and the occasional disc jockey spins tunes on-site to keep energies high.
Named after the owners' sociable golden retriever, Boone's Restaurant & Bar serves warming fare alongside an extensive selection of specialty drinks and shots, bourbon, wine, and craft beers. Classic American pub fare with a homey spin packs Boone's lunch and dinner menu, boasting many dishes concocted using time-tested family recipes and organic ingredients. Sample savory selections such as the shrimp-and-artichoke-dip appetizer (small, $4.50), or sink canines into ever-popular burgers (starting at $7), wings ($7.95 for 12), and hot dogs ($5). If Boone isn't making one of his guest appearances, patrons can stay entertained with the bar's other nightly attractions, like team trivia, karaoke, live music, and local cats scribbling poetry in their journals.
O'Malleys Bar and Grille’s waitstaff delivers the menu’s hearty burgers and pastas to tables as bartenders sling bottled and draft beers from a 36-foot saloon-style oak bar. A duo of fried 4-ounce pork chops ($10.99) snoozes on fluffy pillows of veggies and garlic mashed potatoes, and Cajun linguine captures sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes in its zesty pasta snares ($11.99; add shrimp or chicken for $3.50). Alternatively, silence a date’s idle chatter about acid-base titration protocols with a sticky bite of the Cheesy BBQ burger slathered in melted american cheese, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce ($8.99).
Blind Tiger Pub satiates the famished mobs hungrily shuffling down Broad Street with a savory menu of exquisite pub cuisine. Get your taste buds crustaceanously clamped by two gooey lump crab cakes served with mesclun salad ($14), or deliciously brand your tongue with the butcher's steak topped with caramelized onions and served with sea-salted pommes frites ($15). A variety of drinks soothe parched palates and clear tongue buds for further taste explorations.
With the biggest payouts in Low County that sometimes reach up to $4,000, everybody wins at Big Money Bingo. Even if they don’t actually win prizes, players are still investing in the community. After a trip to Tanzania, co-founder Erica Oblinger started an education scholarship foundation for Tanzanian children. But upon returning home and seeing the condition of underprivileged local schools while working as a student teacher, Erica and her sister and mother devised Big Money Bingo to bolster local education—proceeds aid underfunded Charleston and Berkeley County schools—as well as providing the town with friendly entertainment. In exciting games Thursday¬–Monday, players prep their markers in hopes of shouting the five-letter word of victory while enjoying a full menu of comforting concessions.
Charleston is one of the country's oldest cities, its historic significance made palpable by Civil War landmarks and immaculately preserved properties, hundreds of which have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The French Quarter's cobblestone pathways wend past gothic churches and graveyards where signers of the Declaration of Independence were laid to rest. On the Battery, a short walk from the hotel, mansions commingle with Confederate cannons and oak trees along the seawall facing Fort Sumter in the Battery. More recently, Charleston has merged its Old South identity with a strong arts-and-culture scene. The streets once overrun with aristocrats and their diamond-studded butlers are now lined with top-tier art galleries and fashion boutiques. The city's reputation as a major culinary destination has been reaffirmed by the James Beard Foundation, which has named a different Charleston chef the best in the southeast three out of the past four years.