Winging it for 24 hours in the Holy City.
Charleston never disappoints, even if you only have 24 hours to spare. That’s what was available to my husband and me for a quick, kid-free getaway while visiting family nearby in South Carolina. We were determined to make the most of it. The area may be named the Holy City for its famed religious tolerance since the 18th century and numerous churches and synagogues, but there’s another standout quality to worship here: the food.
Hungry upon arrival, we headed to Butcher & Bee (run by the folks behind The Daily, which recently opened on Atlanta’s westside) in the East Central neighborhood. The farm-fresh fare with delightful presentations offers a mixture of lighter bites and the downright indulgent. Choose from dishes such as a spicy avocado salad with heirloom collard greens, peanuts, Carolina Gold crispy rice and serrano chiles (with the option to add an egg, Benton’s bacon, roasted seasonal veggies or chicken shawarma) or the spicy fried chicken sandwich with Benton’s country ham, fermented pepper honey and pickled fresnos. Wash it all down with craft brew or cocktail. I enjoyed the refreshing Kitty Hawk to Kauai made with local Nippitaty gin, hibiscus syrup, Luxardo maraschino and lemon. With no commitments or responsibilities (hallelujah!), we made time for a nap and headed down Meeting Street to our suite at The Dewberry hotel. One of 155 guest rooms at the luxurious property, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked historic Charleston and Marion Square. After a cleanse in the walk-in shower swathed in Vermont Danby marble, I dove into the Irish-linen-made king bed for a divine midday snooze.
Upon waking, we were ready to get back at it. The hotel’s location made it easy to set out on foot. We enjoyed meandering through the adjacent Ansonborough neighborhood, admiring its stately historic 1800s homes with courtyard-facing porches and catching glimpses of their secret gardens tucked behind black iron gates and red-brick driveways.
Our stroll delivered us to 167 Sushi Bar, a tiny joint with more bar stools than table seating, where we made an excellent attempt at eating all of the uber-fresh fish. Favorites included the opah nigiri topped with yukari and finger lime; salmon shiso futomaki, a fat sushi roll filled with salmon, cucumber, microgreens, lemon confit and togarashi (a Japanese spice blend); and a delicious bottle of ENTER.Sake Silver, a clean and smooth Ginjo sake. If you have room (I didn’t), sample the creative izakaya menu items, too.
Post-sushi binge, we landed back at The Dewberry and retired to The Living Room lounge for a hang on its comfortable couches. Though the service was friendly, the place was buzzing, and one could see the strain of pandemic times with the wait for drinks and the early-evening closing of the property’s rooftop hotspot, Citrus Club, despite a line of eager patrons. Made a mental note to return for an al fresco bubbly on the next trip to Charleston.
If shopping had been on the agenda, we would have hit up King Street. Conveniently accessible across the square, it runs from Charleston Harbor to uptown and boasts interior design, fashion and antiques stores. Instead, we hunted for oysters and landed amidst said shops at the aforementioned sushi bar’s sister restaurant, 167 Raw Oyster Bar. Without a reservation, it was quite the wait. However, with nothing to do but dry out, we people-watched the preppy college bros trying to “get in” and even bumped into our Inman Park neighbors who were also in town to eat well. Once “admitted” to the bar seats, we slurped down a couple dozen raw oysters.
Full and content, we made our way back to the hotel to snuggle in until our reluctant checkout and return to responsibility the next day.
BUTCHER & BEE
167 SUSHI BAR AND 167 RAW OYSTER BAR
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.