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Jan 31, 2012 12:17 PM

Restaurants and wine in Charleston

I have to entertain some people in Charleston next week. We have to go out for a couple of nice dinners, but they are big, big wine drinkers. And the wine budget could break us.

So I need to find a couple of places that have a reasonably affordable wine list, but are still nice restaurants. Anyone know of anyplace that balances affordable wine and good food? I generally don't drink wine (usually cocktails), so I'm in the dark here.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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  1. That's a tough one. Will everybody be ordering by the glass? Most places have many affordable choices but crazy sky-high selections too. Will you have control over this?

    Something like this might work:

    Many of the nice places (Anson, SNOB, Magnolia's) sometimes have special wine offers. You best bet is to call and ask.

    1. Very interesting question, can't wait to read the answers you get. In the meantime, consider:

      Huck's Lowcountry Table, 1/2 price bottles T,W,TH. No list online , however. It's out on isle of palms, so if your guests are new to Charleston, they might appreciate the beach view.

      I'm think Cru Cafe , IIRC, has a reasonably priced list, but again, not online. I would see if I could get one faxed if I were you.

      1. Thanks for the advice thus far. Here's a few more constraints:

        -I'll be ordering the wine. An inexpensive house wine helps out greatly. Fat Hen has a $20 house, for example.

        -They'll be here on a Sunday and Monday. Monday is tough. Sunday is near impossible to even find a decent place open. It's Sunday that I'm really worried about.

        -Party of eight, with a *total* budget of about $300.

        So far I've come up with Amen Street, Fat Hen, and Basil Thai for Sunday. Maybe even something like Monza. It's a tough range here.

        10 Replies
        1. re: rutabegar

          That is a very tight budget.

          Look at the Glass Onion. Great food, affordable prices, half priced wine on Mondays, but no fancy Historic District address:

          1. re: rutabegar

            When you said your guests were "big, big wine drinkers", i thought you meant oenophiles. Did you just mean they drink copiously? Also, are these business clients?

            1. re: rutabegar

              Is this $300 for each dinner, or is this $300 for both meals combined? If the latter, how can you possibly do that including wine???

              1. re: Terrie H.

                $300 for eight, including wine tax and tip comes out to less than $35 person. Danna's question is a good one.

                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  In reading the OP's question, it says a "couple" of dinners and in their follow up seemed to stress "*total*" of $300, so I was trying to clarify if this is $300 for each meal or does that have to cover both meals. $35 per person is one thing, but $18 is kind of crazy.

                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    It's $300 per meal. Can *maybe* be bumped up to $350, but probably not. And for wine, we're talking quantity.

                    Right now I'm thinking Amen Street on Sunday, since nothing is open Sunday night.
                    Monday we have to stay downtown and cheap, maybe to make back some money overspent on Sunday. So maybe Virginia's on Monday night.

                    1. re: rutabegar

                      Are these people your future in laws?

                      1. re: rutabegar

                        now that I know it's a quantity thing, i think your house wine at Red Hen idea is a good one. I have never been to Amen st., but I know how easy it is to run up a bill at a raw bar. You get a little wine going, and those dozen oysters go down quick at $15 a pop. Too bad Sermet is closed for renovations, that place is reasonable.

                        1. re: danna

                          I have been to Amen St.. The food is good and it's relatively reasonable. Still, that is a tough budget, when you factor in lots of wine, tip, and tax.

                2. re: rutabegar

                  Amen St. can be pricey, because it's a raw bar and it isn't really anything special, as far as wine is concerned. Fat Hen has 1/2 priced bottles on Mondays and they are better than Virginia's ANY DAY. Osteria la Bottiglia is the best, newest authentic Italian at 420 King St. The Chef/owner used to own Pan e Vino, and the food/wine is always reasonable. Sundays will be a little harder, but Basil is always wonderful, and the wine list is extremely reasonable as well. Cru Cafe, Coast, Hominy, and Glass Onion are options that you can't go wrong with.

                3. For Sunday night I would suggest looking into Coast. They have half off all bottles of wine from 5-8 and $3 fish tacos which are good. They also have live music starting at 7.