Charleston Rehearsal Dinners

Where to even begin? Charleston has one of the hottest food scenes in the country, and there is a plethora of fantastic, innovative restaurants to choose from. You’ll find high-end, fancy Southern food, and down-and-dirty Southern food. You’ll find great ethnic food including Italian, Mexican and sushi, but a limited selection of other Asian fare. Here are some of our favorite Charleston restaurants that would make a great rehearsal dinner location.

Fancy and Formal (men in suits):

Fulton Five: This Italian restaurant is repeatedly voted the most romantic restaurant in Charleston, and it is one of our personal favorites. Dine inside the cozy, intimate restaurant, or in the courtyard if the weather is nice. The staff is knowledgeable and will treat you with the highest respect and service. Legitimate, made-from-scratch Italian dishes that will have everyone ooh-ing and ah-ing and leaving satisfied.

Circa 1886: The restaurant is located in the carriage house of the historic Wentworth Mansion, built in 1886. The food, wine and service here is perfection. Inventive dishes that change with the seasons, the focus is on modern twists on Southern fare. We had a beautiful family dinner here around Christmastime, and I loved dining among candlelight, choosing from the extensive, carefully selected wine list, and splurging on desserts at the end.

Nice with no Pretense (dress up or dress down):

Butcher & Bee: The owners are our dear friends (whose wedding we photographed!) and we just adore this place. It’s somehow modern and comfortable at the same time. They have a private room for private dinner parties, or if the weather is nice have your dinner on the colorful patio! Wine list is always fantastic. Order everything on the mezze menu. 

The Grocery: Erin’s favorite Charleston restaurant! I love The Grocery because the atmosphere is loud and fun, the food changes with the seasons, and the menu is set up so you can share dishes family-style, or order for yourself. Personally, I love going with a big group and ordering almost everything from the menu so we can try it all. The dishes are always delightfully surprising – the descriptions on the menu never do the flavor justice, which is part of the fun. Order something that merely sounds interesting, and chances are you will be blown away.

Edmund’s Oast: Popular rehearsal-dinner spot, located next to Butcher & Bee. Rehearsal dinners are held in their outdoor (covered) picnic area which has its own bar. It’s fun and casual. But you could also require everyone to dress in sports coats and it would be fine. 

Casual (shorts and flip-flops welcome):

Workshop: This is where new restaurant concepts have a temporary home from which to launch their dreams. It’s been described as a fancy food court. There are usually four or five eateries on site ranging from burgers to sushi. There’s even a Pakistani restaurant currently on site! Your guests can place their order where they want, then everyone meets up in the middle to eat together, either inside or outside. There’s also a separate wine cart (which gets a lot of our business), and a cotton candy vendor. This is a good option if your plan is for guests to pay for their own meals. 

Leon’s Oyster Shop: Amazing seafood in a former automotive shop, a little further north up King Street away from the crowds. Reserve the beautiful covered patio or take your party inside. Either way, you’ll find a relaxed, fun atmosphere with delicious wine and legit fried seafood baskets, and fresh oysters. For your non-seafood-loving guests, there are really, really good entree salads and of course Leon’s famous fried-chicken sandwich. Oh! and there’s soft-serve ice cream for dessert!