Beneath the shade of oak trees bearing Spanish moss, Irvin~House Vineyards' owners Jim and Ann Irvin concoct five award-winning wines from four varieties of muscadine grape grown and harvested on their 48-acre property. Each batch fills bottles adorned with labels crafted by local Charleston artists before visitors sample their muscadine-rich flavors during tastings and tours. In addition to weekly winery sessions, the Irvins enthrall community members and wine connoisseurs alike with varied events, such as bluegrass and grape-stomping festivals, held on land that shelters a renovated party barn, flower and vegetable garden, chicken coop, and outdoor picnic area. The Irvins' acreage also accommodates Firefly Distillery, which supplies tastings of its Firefly vodka and Sea Island rum to curious visitors and marooned pirates bemoaning their empty flasks.
The grape gurus at Gas Light Art and Wine Gallery pour glasses of flavorful ambrosias in a gallery adorned with several pieces of art showcasing humankind’s furry four-legged best friends. For the flight of Lost Dog wine, guests can treat their taste buds to a sampling of four classic varietals—chardonnay, white zinfandel, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. After each glass has been lapped up, crack open a full bottle of your choice of Lost Dog wine, each one graced with an oil painting of a canine that barks with every uncorking (a $19.95 value).
O' Hara & Flynn's wine selection contains a menu of more than 25 wines by the glass and many more by the bottle, each of which is hand picked by the shop's owners. Enjoy light, elegant snacks—like artisan cheeses, meats, breads and olives—at one of the shop's rustic wood tables or comfortable bar area, or bring the party outside the shop's walls with a variety of wines and specialty foods available for purchase. Try a glass of South Australian Darby and Joan chardonnay or South African Passages merlot ($8 for a glass). Most glasses of wine run about $8, while bottles range from $28–$60. Sample a few new wines in one sitting with a wine tasting flight (any two or more are available at glass price, consult in-store for more info), in order to fully stimulate each of your tongue's tastes zones, including sweet, bitter, zing, and kapow. Alongside the lineup of hard-to-find wines are a variety of craft beers from around the world, like the Belgian Cherish Lambic ($7). Alternatively, you can stay domestic with the locally brewed East Bay IPA ($5).
Charleston Beer Works boasts an impressive selection of draught beers and a menu brimming with sports-bar favorites. Commence preemptive celebratory snacking with loaded tater tots ($3.95), crispy fried calamari with marinara sauce ($6.75), fried pickle wedges ($6.50) featuring a remoulade for dipping, or, for those with more sophisticated palettes, the corn dog and fries ($5.95). A build-your-own burger, grilled chicken sandwich, or fried chicken sandwich (all $5.95) will please eaters needing to express themselves through personality-representing toppings ($0.25–$1 each) such as jalapenos, nacho cheese, or chili. Charleston Beer Works also offers wings (starting at $5.75 for six wings) that can be dressed in your choice of 15 saucy coatings, including a wasabi ranch, a jalapeno lime, and the house signature dry rub. Oil down esophagus tubes with one, or five, of the 40 craft brews on tap—hoppy helpings include the Atlanta-based Sweetwater Blue, the proletariat Pabst Blue Ribbon, and the age-old Yuengling, as American an alcohol as apple pie champagne.
Rather than cheering on their alma mater’s team, Chucktown Alumni recreational sports leagues let school-proud players get into the game. Graduates form teams of up to 23 players, showing their school spirit by playing in their shared college or high school’s colors. During the 10-week flag-football season—composed of an eight-week regular season and a two-week tournament—teams vie for weekly supremacy in games strategically scheduled not to conflict with college football games. At the season’s close, officials dole out prizes to the winning clubs and players who sewed their jerseys into the most stylish patchwork capes.