Aren’t you supposed to have a life plan and be halfway to running the world when you turn thirty? I’ve been laughing at my friends who have been fretting the “dirty-thirty” for years. I thought, “Who cares? Thirty is the new 25!” Well, apparently, I care- WAY more than I thought I would. I have had some professional and personal successes, but I am nowhere near where I wanted to be when I hit this arbitrary milestone. So, what does one do when one falls into a late-onset quarter life crisis? Well, in Charleston, you inch your way down East Bay Street stopping at all your favorite spots and leave the world domination for your 31st year.
Ever since Upper King decided to show off over the last few years, the former hot spots in the East Bay St. area had taken a backseat with the local crowd. But, there are a few places doing their part to woo us back. Is this the resurgence of the East Bay glory years? I’d believe it. And if you’re not so sure, I’ll invite you to have a look at exactly what happens when you bar/restaurant crawl your 30th birthday away.
When Lagunitas Brewery took over Southend Brewery it wasn’t 100% accepted by the longtime fans of the original’s décor and offerings, but I’m here to tell you it makes the perfect spot to start any East Bay Street crawl. I tasted 5 beers between my flight of four and Alfonso’s selection, and was for sure blown away by the Thanksgiving-esque (as in it probably goes really well with turkey) Brown Shugga Ale, made with brown cane sugar.
And maybe I’m just a sucker for all things free (Does this trait come with my new, advanced age?), but these brews were kicked up a notch when we used them to wash down the complementary basket of pretzels and peanuts.
Before we started the jaunt down East Bay, we gave ourselves 1 rule: No more than 45 minutes in each place. This assures that we can try a little of all this street has to offer and not just stuff our face with good beer and pretzels. So, with our promise to the bar crawl gods in mind, we paid our tab and headed to Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar where the rosé and the seafood abound.
Sitting at a nice sized table on the sidewalk out front, we got to people watch as you only can on East Bay Street. Also, I got that good light for my photos and THAT is what really matters.
Hey, Chef Fonz, what do you think about our restaurant crawl so far?
What do you order at a raw bar? If you are a stateside Castejón, you order ceviche! Shrimp ceviche.
It was salty, briny, citrus-y, a little spicy, and so refreshing. And it was made to be eaten while sipping a crisp rosé at this very restaurant, on this very street, and in this very town. Don’t miss it.
We sipped and dipped until our 45 minutes were up and we begrudgingly closed out. It would have been so easy to stay there all afternoon and sample gorgeous seafood, while drinking gorgeous vino. But, Carmella’s awaited and after a flight of beer and a glass of wine, I was needing a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up. So, off to the coolest coffee and dessert place in town we went.
The doors open right on to a bustling section of East Bay Street and the sunlight pours in. They have little pastries and a nice wine and beer selection. Try a cocktail with a charcuterie board for nibbling. Or, do what we did and get a little Bailey’s in your coffee to spur you on to the next round.
So, with Carmella’s checked off the list and another 45 minutes gone, we ended our tour South of Market Street and took East Bay to it’s more Northern hotspots.
Our next stop was 167 Raw. Where’s that raise the roof emoji when you need it? Fun fact: Chef Fonz used to work at this restaurant when it was Citrus-to-go. He also claims he was the only good thing to happen to the previous restaurant and gives 167 Raw all the thumbs up for taking over and doing things right. Another fun fact: chefs can (read: do) have big egos. Think what you will.
Besides the Secret Garden setting that will have me coming back for drinks with my gal pals, they are also serving up some seriously bodacious oysters. We knocked back a Westbrook or two and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the patio. 11 out of 10 stars.
Don’t forget the lemon squeeze!
So, if you’re wondering how we ended my East Bay Street birthday restaurant and bar crawl, I’ve got news for you. It ended like I decided it will end every year from now on, with “crack” tots from Bay Street Biergarten. Disclaimer: there are no actual drugs in them, but the cravings one gets for them would indicate otherwise.
So, cheers to my 30’s. May they be filled with family, friends, and tots. That’s all any decent person needs anyway.