Given its signature touches, Sapphires Sports Bar & Grill is more of a biography than a bar. Green Bay Packers memorabilia speaks to owner Mike's affection for the team, as do the wings specials and festive gatherings on game days. Co-owner Charlene has likewise left her mark—each table is scattered with a variety of wine labels, the results of her years spent scouting for fine food and drink as a former Delta flight attendant. By putting their personal touches into the decor, the owners hope to invite guests into a memorable setting, and by employing several of their relatives, they strive to foster a warm, welcoming atmosphere around the venue's copper bar.
Beyond being a catalog of hobbies and hospitable staff members, Sapphires is also an homage to accessible gourmet. Its menu—inspired by a mix of timeless grill food and Charlene's gourmet tastes—surprises seasoned pub-goers with items such as the smoked-salmon pizza, a disk of rosemary focaccia adorned in capers, red onions, and bites of fresh fish. Even the list of 19 wing sauces denotes sophisticated cooking, dressing chicken in sweet-and-spicy plum, garlic thai, and bourbon-style marinades, instead of traditional flavors such as "smoke" and "yummy." Guests can compose signature burgers with made-from-scratch patties, or peruse the night's specials for examples of international recipes.
Brazilian Market touts hundreds of imported Brazilian culinary staples. Behind the meat counter, butchers slice picanha, or top sirloin, a cut popular in Brazilian rodìzio-style restaurants, and wrap up lombo recheado, pork stuffed with herbs and cheese. In addition to thick slabs of traditional Brazilian meats, Brazilian Market stocks goods such as South American coffee, tea, and coconut water. Customers can also shop for sundries such as Havaianas flip-flops and Brazilian hair products.
At Walks in History, 1-mile tours are based on stories from the books Haunted Charleston and Haunted Harbor by authors Geordie Buxton and Ed Macy. The 90-minute Pirate and Haunted History tour tracks the fading footsteps of Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, Anne Bonney, and Mary Read through the cobblestone streets and bastion walls of the Old Walled City. Making pit stops at six to eight haunts, the guides unravel tales regarding pirate hangings, Fort Sumter and the Pink House, where Blackbeard once shot rum and drunk dialed former first mates.
The 90-minute Haunted Charleston Ghost Tour ventures into the murky twilight like a darkness-starved vampire bat after the summer solstice. As the expert guides snake through six to eight stops, they shed light on ghostly activity at sites such as the Old Citadel, a Revolutionary War burial ground, and the remains of the Charleston Orphan Asylum.
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.
Parmesan-encrusted snapper. Hand-battered fried shrimp. One and a half pounds of steamed snow-crab legs. The culinary team at Parrot Cove Seafood Grill and Bar crafts these succulent seafood dishes from fresh catches at their waterfront restaurant on Shelter Cover Harbor. Owner Jimmy’s love of French and southern cooking is reflected in the menu featuring dinner and dessert crepes, oyster po’ boys, pulled-pork sandwiches, and half racks of ribs with housemade slaw. Meals unfold in a dining room adorned with nautical decorations and more than 40 parrots, who take forms such as paintings, statuettes, and waiters. Parrot Cove also provides spacious outdoor seating, seasonal live entertainment from local artists, and, for kids, a chance to rummage through a treasure box if they clean their plates.
Clad in hard hats and construction vests, kids in the Builders of Tomorrow exhibit load wheelbarrows with giant Lego dacta blocks, which they then use to fill in the wooden frame of a small house. Whether they realize it or not, these budding builders are learning—working with the Legos stimulates gross and fine motor skills, and tools such as a pulley system encourage creative problem solving. This interactive, play-based style of learning extends through all 10 exhibits at The Sandbox, which keep young brains on track to one day develop advanced adult skills, such as singing all the deductions on your tax return. In addition to overseeing exhibits that cater to infants through 8-year-olds, the museum's staff organizes programming such as Parents Night Out, Kids Night In, field trips, and facility rentals for celebrations such as birthday parties.