The Windjammer has already been destroyed once by a hurricane.

That was Hugo in 1989, and it wrecked the popular Isle of Palms beach bar, along with tens of thousands of homes and businesses throughout the Charleston area.

The hangout for tropical drinks and live music with a view of the ocean has since been rebuilt up on hurricane-proof pilings that can withstand greater winds and flooding. 


The Windjammer was crowded Wednesday afternoon as locals waited for Hurricane Dorian to roll in. David Slade/Staff

Those pilings were the beach bar's safety blanket as Dorian threatened to bring record flooding to the barrier islands.

The 'Jammer stayed open until 8 p.m. Wednesday, bartenders sloshing specialty Malibu Rum Hurricane cocktails across the bar to a hundred or so patrons who gathered on the outside deck to watch with awe-struck curiosity as the waves got rough and the storm rolled in. It was the spectacle of the day, and a waiting game. The brunt of the storm wouldn't be arriving until Thursday. 

Downtown, Baker & Brewer was hosting a hurricane party all day Wednesday with $3 craft beer drafts. That deal brought out a huge crowd, which lined both the indoor and outdoor sides of the bar and the patio picnic tables. Mid-afternoon the rain was at a sprinkle and the winds were light, making for surprisingly pleasant weather. 

Friends Kristen Kunkel and Lindsay Perrin were at the bar, sipping foamy brews. Perrin, who works at Home Team BBQ in downtown Charleston, said it had already closed, but she didn't want to head home and batten down the hatches just yet. 

baker 1.jpg

Kristen Kunkel and Lindsay Perrin grab $3 craft beers at Baker & Brewer on Wednesday as Hurricane Dorian rolled in. Kalyn Oyer/Staff

"We needed $3 beers," said Kunkel, who had driven downtown from West Ashley for the deal. 

She said she was stocked up at home with "water, beer and ice cream — the hurricane stash," with no plans to evacuate this year.

"I've lived here for 10 years and never evacuated," Perrin said. "I always have the best time during hurricanes. Last year, my mom and I went to Blind Tiger and Carmella's."

Edmund's Oast kicked off the party at 4 p.m. with a special offer of a free house beer to those who stopped by the restaurant on Morrison Drive. 

James Island residents Clare Burton and Amber Bauer were at the table with their free brews, along with burgers, fries and wings from Edmund's specialty hurricane menu.

edmunds menu.jpg

Edmund's Oast released a special hurricane menu and offer a first free beer to all patrons Wednesday afternoon. Kalyn Oyer/Staff

"We had already been inside for one whole movie and we kept saying we needed to save our snacks for the impending doom," said Burton. 

Bauer said the roommates' landlord had told them that their house had survived Hugo so she wasn't worried about Dorian.

As the evening encroached and the rain came down a little heavier, raincoat- and ball cap-clad beer drinkers gathered on the outdoor patio at Recovery Room Tavern on King Street. 

Lawyer John McCormick said he hadn't evacuated for a hurricane since 1999 for Floyd. He said it took 26 hours to drive from Charleston to Asheville, N.C., because of the unorganized evacuation process at the time, which has since been improved. Still, it's left a bad taste in his mouth. 

"It would probably have to be a Category 4 before I would be peeling out of here," he said. 

Hurricane Wire is a pop-up newsletter during hurricane season that delivers anyone who lives on the East Coast all the information they need to know as storms brew in the Atlantic and beyond.

rec room.jpg

Rec Room remained open until 8 p.m. Wednesday, with patrons in raincoats drinking beer outside on the front patio. Kalyn Oyer/Staff

The Recovery Room regular said he thought a lot of people felt safer in a group at a bar than they might alone at home.  

"They know if anything crazy happened while they were hanging around here everyone would pool together and make sure everyone's okay," he said.

Two generations gathered inside near the foosball table, sipping $1.25 happy hour PBRs. Among the group of family and friends was Cindy Lee, who lives in Mount Pleasant. She was here for Hugo and didn't leave town until she found out it was going to be a direct hit. 

"Ever since then I've had a tendency to stick around," she said. 

Further down the street, Proof was open and slinging $5 Hurricanes with a paper straw and cherry on top late into the evening. 

Jason Caughman, the owner of Lo-Fi Brewing, was there, enjoying his second Hurricane. He had stocked up on UberEats food earlier in the day, enough to ride out the storm for a couple of days. 

During Hurricane Matthew, Lo-Fi lost part of its roof, so he was feeling a little nervous about Dorian but hoping for the best. Lo-Fi had shuttered at 7 p.m. 

While most downtown bars closed their doors by 8 p.m. Wednesday, A.C.'s Bar and Grill stayed open until close with a packed crowd at the bar, in booths and at the pool tables. 

"Not that it needed to be said but we're open till the power goes out #slurricaneparty" A.C.'s posted on Instagram Wednesday. 

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts and entertainment for The Post and Courier's Thursday edition, Charleston Scene. She used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper and Scene SC.

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.