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11 outdoor Charleston dining spots to soothe your spring fever

  • Updated

It happens every year — spring fever. It’s hard to concentrate on emails with the sound of seagulls, the warming temperatures, the tourists who seem to be having fun on a Thursday when I’m en route to meetings.

There’s a cure for that: the outdoor spots to enjoy bites and beverages, and there are literally hundreds to find, tucked away from Summerville to Sullivan's Island. Sometimes, when the fever hits so bad, a parking lot patio will do just fine, and then there are other times where a water view is essential. The key to curing your own fever is to find your own spots to celebrate spring, but to get you started, here are 10 of mine in alphabetical order.

Bowen’s Island

Oyster season might be coming to a close soon, but sunset season is getting into its prime with the time change, and a sunset from Bowen’s Island while waiting for your order might be the best appetizer in the area.

Chico Feo

If you really want to get true Folly Beach vibe, post up here at this scrappy bar for a beverage and a bowl of goat curry. Characters abound, conversation is easy, and if it feels like you’re sitting at someone’s backyard party, well, you pretty much are.

Coda del Pesce

An already charming Isle of Palms gets more so when relaxing over a meal here. This restaurant’s outdoor dining defines the Italian term “al fresco.” If you’re looking for a special space for a special evening, here it is.

Edmund’s Oast

The bowery has its own bar, with a limited cocktail menu if you’re just imbibing, but you can get full service at a table here, or hold your special event in a space built to be a biergarten. Mission accomplished.

Home Team West Ashley

When the crush of tourists and traffic gets to be too much, escape to this super-local-feeling back patio where the view is the cornhole board available for games and the wings and ‘cue on the table.


A courtyard moment is now available at the popular eatery, complete with bottled cocktails that you can sip alongside the barrel stave of Benton’s ham, which is an easy pre-cursor to its deservedly famous burger, available on the patio too.

Le Farfalle

The shaded restaurant courtyard tucked into a corner of Beaufain has always been lovely, but Michael Toscano’s octopus carpaccio at the beginning of the meal and a delicious amaro selection for the end make it better than ever.

Leon’s Oyster Shop

The bright yellow umbrellas beckon, providing you a streetside view at this Upper King spot, all while slurping oysters and sipping cocktails. It feels a little Deep South, a little European, and all Charleston.

Red’s Icehouse

The food is not the draw here, but step out onto the deck overlooking Shem Creek and there’s no denying the attraction. People watching is prime in this party scene on any weekend day, and if you’re lucky, so is spotting the fins of a dolphin or two gliding silently past.

The Watch

I really can’t imagine a better place to have an “end of the day rose” than this rooftop spot, where a quick glance at the patrons around you prove that many others have the same idea.

Zero George

Enjoying Vinson Petrillo’s tasting menu hits a new level when situated comfortably in the idyllic 1800s courtyard of this boutique hotel, where it feels right to take your time with dinner, which is good because you have nine courses coming.

Stephanie Burt is the host of The Southern Fork,, a weekly podcast of culinary conversations with a Southern twist. Reach her at

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