When You Can Buy Alcohol in Charleston
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Image credit: David Martin on Unsplash
Last update: 10/27/2020
Liquor laws across the South range from zero-tolerance to downright laissez-faire, which can get confusing for travelers. And, you just never know when a global pandemic is going to come along and turn everything pear-shaped.
When Is Last Call in Charleston, SC?
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During Covid-19, Charleston County’s last call has temporarily changed to 11pm. You won’t find alcohol service or much (if any) food service outside of the 24-hour fast food chains after this time.
If you visit Charleston on a normal day, last call will be at 2am throughout the week. But be aware that it’s common practice for bars to start kicking people out by as early as 1am so that bartenders can begin the long work of cleaning up. Many bar and grills in Charleston (restaurants with small bars) may start to close up shop between 9pm and 11pm. For the moment, there’s also no amplified music allowed past 9pm and group gatherings are discouraged, so you may not be missing much if you go home early.
What Time Can You Buy Alcohol in Charleston, SC?
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If you’re buying alcohol from a store, when you can purchase it depends on what kind of booze you’re shopping for.
If you want liquor, there’s a ban on Sunday sales, but you can get spirits from a package store throughout the rest of the week between 9am and 7pm. So basically, if you run out of whisky on Saturday night, you’ll have to wait until 9am Monday morning to get another bottle.
But if it’s beer or wine you need, you’re in luck. Charleston County allows beer and wine sales anytime via any store that happens to be open when you get the urge. In the South, we generally consider this a lenient policy. Say please and thank you at the checkout counter.
Up until 2010, a Prohibition-era law managed to stay on the books in Charleston County. Bars were not allowed to keep full-sized liquor bottles in stock. So what did they do? Maybe just stop selling alcohol? Please. Instead, Charleston bars sold cocktails and shots filled from cute little airplane bottles! And you couldn’t even get a whole airplane bottle to yourself. One had to be split at least two ways.
When Will Last Call Go Back to Normal in Charleston?
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Wondering when last call will be at 2am again? The ordinance that set last call at 11pm passed the Charleston City Council in early July. However, as of late October, there’s still no word of when bars will be allowed to reopen for their normal business hours.
To get the latest news on reopenings and last call times, check the City of Charleston Coronavirus Updates page.
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