Charlestowne Pub Stroll's knowledgeable guides cover nearly 300 years of history during their three-hour walking tours, shedding light on the city's libation-steeped past. Guide dressed in full pirate or colonial regalia lead guests along Meeting Street as they point out the area’s most historically significant pubs. They regale guests with tales of Prohibition-era criminals, early drinking habits, and other historical oddities, including that time when drinking a full gallon of milk was temporarily outlawed in Charleston in the 1900s. Throughout the tour, groups will stop into select watering holes to sample the storied brews for themselves at an extra cost.
Though built only in 2011, the nonprofit Redux Contemporary Art Center’s new 12,000-square-foot facility stays bustling all year, hosting six to eight free exhibitions in two galleries. After taking in the artwork, visitors can attend numerous free events, such as artist talks, film screenings, panels, and concerts. More than 100 classes foster artistic inclinations throughout the year as local qualified instructors help students master disciplines such as painting, drawing, and printmaking.
Redux's galleries stay full thanks in part to its 22 private artist studios, which accommodate emerging and mid-career artists with up to 240 square feet of creative space. Twenty-four-hour studio passes grant access to Redux’s darkroom, print studio, and woodshop. To encourage a sense of community, artists can participate in quarterly critiques, attend visiting-artist lectures, and debate their studio neighbors on artistic controversies such as whether Michelangelo’s David is as good as the earlier one he sculpted from Play-Doh.
While artwork may gain immortality by challenging traditional aesthetics, the life of a painting or photograph is only as secure as the frame that contains it. This dedication to preservation is what inspired Michael and Ellen Mintz to open Frames Unlimited in 1979. That same spirit extended to their business itself: when Hurricane Hugo took its toll on their original shop, they gutted it and reopened, this time with more square footage for a gallery and design space. They remain in that space today, helping their staff members create custom frames and matting. In addition to paintings and photography, the staff helps customers guard heirlooms and specialty items such as sports jerseys or athletes still wearing their sports jerseys. Their services also extend to museum-quality archival framing, with special UV-filtering glass to protect art from light’s harmful rays. No matter the job, their shop stocks the materials to match it. Thousands of mouldings run the style gamut from very traditional to ultracontemporary, and colorful frames include hand-finished Italian designs and water-gilded gold leaf.
The Teak Hut’s expansive array of durable wood furniture presents a beautiful alternative to traditional room fillers and patio paraphernalia. Each of the more than 100 available pieces is solid teak wood, which can survive for more than 25 years and features a naturally high oil content that helps it resist cracking, splitting, and rotting. Sate melanin-craving skins while standing on a sun-chaise lounge ($349) or gaze across patio kingdoms from a bucket-seated Adirondack ($269). A 24-inch bar table ($249) with matching chairs ($149 each) is a perfect excuse to take a pinochle game outside, where shuffling cards is less likely to break lamps or china. For possessors of two or more posteriors, a selection of benches and porch swings lend a natural-hued elegance to opinion-airing sessions (starting at $209 and $259 respectively).
Established in 1994, Gullah Gourmet has spent 19 years equipping visitors with tools to transform dull meals into lowcountry classics with Food Network-approved ingredients for crafting soups, sauces, pastries, and breads. The shop's widespread collection of bagged, bottled, and jarred goodies have included creamy Southern Corn Chowdah, Aunt Maggie's Sweet Cornbread, and Gullah Gullah Gumbo––a savory rice and sauce mix. The handmade, screenprinted cloth bags that package select products pay homage to Gullah culture with newspaper prints and vibrant graphics. An assortment of Gullah- and Charleston-inspired knickknacks make unique gifts for birthdays and graduations from PB&J University.