The curious thing about hipster culture is, it doesn’t actually cultivate exclusivity—but rather seeks to claim a plot of land even in every secondary and tertiary city in the Western world, and replicate itself virtually identically.
And so it is that even the storied, historic city of Charleston, SC, often considered as the most beautiful in America, is now home to restaurants (Two Buroughs Larder, The Tattooed Moose), coffee shops (Kudu, Collective) and cocktail bars (The Gin Joint, The Rarebit) that look an awful lot like they were airlifted from Greenpoint. Cool, if you can never get enough of tattooed chefs and fussed over flat whites.
But seeking a view into the more unspoiled, classic charms that make Charleston so unlike any other place, we turned to new Southern indie soul goddess Hannah Gill. Just 18, Gill (along with her band The Hours) has been seducing audiences with an enthralling blend of indie-pop, improv jazz, wicked riffs and an alluringly soulful vocal delivery.
Their EP The Water was released last month, and new single “Change in Blue” is already sending chills up no small number of spines. Indeed, Gill forcefully wails, “I’m gonna howl at the moon / Like it’s made for me” over a devlish blues strut that might just have Jack White looking over his shoulder.
They’ll be performing live at NYC’s Gramercy Theater this June 25.
Hannah Gill’s Guide to Charleston
If you are looking for good eats, and I mean good eats, your first stop should be the Brown Dog Deli. They have the world’s greatest potato salad and pimento cheese sandwiches. Trust me, you will want seconds.
Small menu but great Asian flavors and excellent cocktails. It has an interesting vibe, it’s in an old gas station; and it’s within a walkable neighborhood rather than on the main tourist drag, so definitely a spot where you’ll find the locals.
I always stockpile boiled peanuts when I am in the south. It’s a staple, and honestly if you want to do it like a real southerner, the best will be found on the side of the road. While on your drive into Charleston keep your eyes peeled for boiled peanut stands; there’s nothing better!
If you want to go where only locals can be found, then check out the Queen Street Grocery. It is a great hidden spot and the food is to die for. Try the crepes!
This place is tasty and tiny! The lobster rolls are good…and I mean good. Mostly seafood-based dishes, but all are exceptional. There are only about 30 seats, so definitely call ahead.
Being an avid swing dancer and lover of jazz, I hold on to a good joint when I find it. And Prohibition, with great live jazz and swing lessons, is definitely a favorite.
If you’re looking for a fun spot to cool off in the shade with a drink in your hand, the Firefly Distillery is where you want to be. They specialize in sweet tea and lemonade flavored vodka. They also offer distillery tours.
If you’re in the mood to catch a concert be sure to check out both The Pour House and The Music Farm. The former features an outdoor stage and is perfect for summertime, whereas the latter is the best place to catch a classic college band.
My all time favorite sweet treat to get while in Charleston is a well-made praline. Gooey caramel and pecans go great with coffee after dinner or with your breakfast! I like to pick mine up from Market Street Sweets.
The Savannah Bee Company, right on King Street, is the perfect place to stock up on local honey, honey based skincare, or edible honeycomb.
If you want to take a walk with your dog or just sit and read in peace, White Point Garden is the place to go. It is absolutely gorgeous.
For lovers of the outdoors will love the Angel Oak tree. It is the largest oak in America, around 1500 years old, and it is absolutely breathtaking. Seems like something out of Harry Potter.
For catching some rays away from the tourists, check out Folly Beach. It’s a five-minute drive and there is a killer taco joint, Taco Boy, right on the beach.