The charming Southern town of Charleston does not disappoint when it comes to their unique and charming coffee shops. There are many Charleston coffee shops, mostly located with the historic district, that provide all the charm the city has to offer, while also serving incredible coffee.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Second State Coffee
Both a coffee shop and a roastery, Second State Coffee has several locations in the Charleston area. With four locations in Downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant, Second State has become a big name in the coffee scene in Charleston. Their downtown location and flagship store on Beaufain Street originally opened in February 2012. The shop boasts minimal and neutral design, with black and white photographs decorating the walls. There is some seating inside the store, but it is usually occupied, so try to get the shop early if you want to find an indoor spot. There is also limited outdoor seating available. If you can find available seating, this is a great spot to work or study in. The coffee here was probably in one of the top spots for best Charleston coffee shops!
Charleston Coffee Shops: The Rise Coffee Bar
The Rise Coffee Bar is an Instagrammer’s dream with exposed brick, plants throughout the shop, mosaic tile decorating the floor, and a beautiful outdoor patio space. They are located in Historic Downtown at the Restoration Hotel. They serve a full coffee menu in addition to juices and homemade pastries, and you can find them using Springbok Coffee Roasters for all of their coffee beans. They have just a couple of seats inside the store as the shop itself is pretty small. There is some additional seating outside on their beautiful patio area.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Clerk’s Coffee Company
Clerk’s Coffee Company was easily our favorite of Charleston coffee shops. Located inside the lobby of the Emeline, a boutique hotel, Clerk’s features an inviting atmosphere with plenty of natural lighting, a range of seating, and arches showcasing exposed bricks. While beautifully aesthetic, Clerk’s also serves some incredible coffee by partnering with Second State Coffee for all of their coffee beans. The space is welcoming and bustling, with tourists and locals alike stopping by for their morning coffee. You can typically find the mornings here very busy, and if you want to be guaranteed one of their breakfast pastries, make sure to arrive and order early. There is plenty of seating and no lack of outlets for working or studying remotely.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Mercantile and Mash
Mercantile and Mash is a mixed use space containing a grocery store, whiskey bar, coffee shop, wine and butcher shops. It is a beautiful, bustling space with plenty of seating for tourists and locals alike. When you enter the space, you will typically order with the server at the front for anything you want in the shop (including coffee). You can then head over to the barista, who will be making your drinks at the coffee bar area. While most of the parking spaces are full, you can usually find an open spot in their shared parking lot. This is one of the few coffee shops in historic Charleston that has a parking lot for easy access to the shop.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Harken Cafe and Bakery
Walking into Harken Cafe and Bakery feels like stepping into a home in the European countryside. Located on Queen Street in the heart of historic downtown, this little cafe is a favorite among locals and tourists. With exposed brick, wood features, and many vintage details throughout the shop, Harken Cafe provides all the warmth and comfort of a home with all the charm and details of a local coffee shop. One of their most unique features is the newspapers hanging from hooks on one of their walls, that doubles as both reading material and decor. Their orange La Marzocco espresso machine also helps add some fun and color to the space. They have plenty of small seating areas within the shop, making it a perfect spot for studying or remote working.
Charleston Coffee Shops: The Daily
As much of a breakfast joint as it is a coffee spot, the Daily is a neighborhood marketplace serving breakfast foods, baked goods, and incredible coffee. With homemade syrups and delicious coffee, The Daily was easily one of our favorite coffee shops in the Charleston area. It is slightly off the beaten path, with the shop located on King Street about a mile from the heart of the historic district. It still remains easily walkable and bikeable. They have a beautiful shop, but seating is limited inside. Try to get there early in the morning if you hope to get an indoor seat! Otherwise they do have additional seating on their covered patio area. And make sure to try some of their delicious breakfast offerings while grabbing coffee.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Sightsee Coffee
Sightsee Coffee is a coffee shop and retail store located in a small neighborhood a couple blocks from King Street. It is a charming small white house on the corner of the block. Sightsee originated in 2018 as a pop-up shop. They were able to complete a successful Kickstarter and opened their doors to their own shop in September 2019. They mainly use Springbok Coffee Roasters for their coffee beans, but they will also feature a guest roaster each month for their drip coffee. The retail side of the shop features carefully curated travel-inspired goods, from cards to bags to travel mugs and more. One of the coolest features of this shop is the espresso machine, which they had custom made to feature wood panels from former skateboards. With a minimal and simple design, Sightsee Coffee is a great neighborhood spot to grab quick cup of coffee. They do have some seating outside the shop, but there is no seating inside the shop.
Charleston Coffee Shops: Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer
Kudu Coffee is a fun coffeehouse located in the heart of the historic district right off King Street. Their main focus is on craft beer and coffee, but they also serve items ranging from sandwiches to kombucha on tap. Kudu’s most charming feature of their shop is the outdoor courtyard that feels like an oasis in the middle of the city. You can almost always find the employees laughing and having a good time behind the bar, making it a great spot to visit with friends. They roast their own coffee at their roasting facility off King String. Also there is no wifi available at this shop, so be mindful of that when planning your visit.