Cost of Dining in Charleston

It is no surprise that prices are rising in the Holy City.  Just South of the Crosstown, we found a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath apartment for $3600 a month.  A half a dozen years ago, I don’t think I would ever be having the conversation that compared Charleston prices to Chicago, New York or San Francisco, but we are.  We thought we would do a virtual dining crawl and show you what the cost of dining out in Charleston will be if you are going to make a night out on the town.

A few variables are important to know:

  • Restaurant food tax is 10.5%
  • Restaurant Alcohol tax is 15%
  • We are factoring in 20% for tip.
  • We will be dining for two this evening

Here we go: Scenario #1 – Four Courses – Lower Meeting Street / Market District

  • Two cocktails at Zero George – They recommend the ‘Reserve Old Fashioned’ (Hibiki Harmony Whiskey | Angostura Bitters | Demerara Sugar | Orange Pee) – Cost:  $20.00 – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $54.00
  • Appetizer and two Winter cocktails at Fig – Ricotta Gnocchi & Lamb Bolognese ($18.00) and Crudo of Maine Diver Scallop ($16.00) / Fancy Dive and Zebra Question Cocktails ($23.00 Total) – Total Cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $76.62
  • Appetizer (shared), Entrees and two glasses of wine Hank’s Seafood – Shared Tuna Tartar Appetizer ($17.00),  Swordfish ($26.00) and Seafood A La Wando ($32.00) / (Riesling and Super Tuscan ($23.00 Total for 2) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $135.24
  • Two desserts and two coffees at Slightly North of Broad – Warm Sour Cream Apple Pie and Banana Creme Pie ($19.00 for both) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $33.79

Total Cost for the Evening: $299.65 (Average $10.00 for parking)

Scenario #2 – F Courses – Upper King (Valet in most places is between $5.00 – $8.00 on Upper King Street)

  • Two Cocktails at The Ordinary – Mai Tai ($15.00) and Milk Punch ($14.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $40.02
  • Shared Appetizer and two cocktails at 492 King Restaurant – Confit Wings ($11.00) / Festivus Punch ($10.00) and Disco Sour ($10.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $42.03
  • 4 Sushi Rolls and two glasses of wine at O-Ku – Black Dragon Roll ($18.00), Surf & Turf Roll ($16.00), Kani Crown Roll ($14.00) and Green Dragon Roll ($18.00) / Cabernet and Chardonney ($24.00 Total) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $120.20
  • Entrees and two glasses of wine at Cannon Green – Montana Beef Medallion ($34.00) and Coho Salmon ($29.00) / BR Cohn Cabernet 2014 ($14.00) and Domaine Servin “Les Pargues Chablis 2014 ($16.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $124.56
  • Dessert and Coffee at Stars Restaurant (Rooftop) – Smoked Chocolate S’More Pie ($9.95) and Homemade Cast Iron Apple Crisp ($9.75) / French Press Coffee Service ($11.95) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $41.78

Total Cost for the Evening: $368.59 (Average $10.00 for parking)

Lighter Side Scenarios

  • Two Appetizers and Mid Level Bottle of Wine at Magnolias – Seared Crab Cakes ($15.00) and BBQ Duck Confit ($14.00) / Turley “Juvenile” 2014 Zinfandel – $66.00 – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $129.36
  • Two Glasses of Wine at High Cotton – Hess Chardonnay ($14.00) and Krutz Cellers Cabernet ($15.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $40.02
  • Two Cocktails at The Spectator – Hoodoo Carre (Hoodoo Liqueur | *Calhoun’s Rye | Sherry Brandy | Ancho Reyes | Benedictine | Creole Bitters | Peychaud Bitters) and Zozzled and Zonked (*Gentry Bourbon | Armagnac | Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry | Chestnut-Black Pepper Puree | House Smoked Bitters) – $14.00 Each – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $38.64
  • Charcuterie and Cheese Plate and Bottle of Wine at The Grand Bohemian – Charcuterie and Cheese Plate ($24.00) / Cakebread Cellers Chardonnay 2013 ($80.00) – Total cost (Tax and Tip for Two) – $142.08

This is a sampling of the cost of dining in Charleston, South Carolina.  It is not for the weak of wallet.  Some would argue equitable, while others robbery.  There is no right or wrong answer in a capitalistic economy.  This is a reflection of the changing ecosystem of the City of Charleston.

 

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