2008 Best of Charleston 

Zombies Attack

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The end of the world began sometime after the sun rose on March 5, just as the first copies of Charleston City Paper's Best of Charleston 2008 hit the streets. The living dead suddenly appeared on Holy City streets, and they seemed to be following the City Paper's drivers, from distribution spot to distribution spot. And before long, the zombies were everywhere. No place was safe. Not the readers' pick for Best Neighborhood Bar. Not the Best Tattoo Shop. Not the Best Florist. And everyone was in danger, including the Best Local Legislator, the Best Local TV Sports Anchor, the Best Local Actress, and the Best Sommelier. But in time, most Charlestonians came to a simple realization — being a zombie ain't half bad. There's something to be said for stumbling down King Street at midnight with a group of your moaning and groaning zombie brethren. Join us if you dare in our search for brains and booze.


Politics, Public Affairs, & Personalities
Readers' Picks

We're so predictable. Year in and year out, we grumble about City Council member John, State Senator Doe, and all our other elected officials, vowing to vote them all out next time. But when next time comes, what do we do? More often than not, we vote the same old folks right back into office. You'd think we were brain-dead zombies or something. That said, there are some good eggs out there, real servants to the community. If you're interested in learning who Charleston City Paper readers chose as their favorite politicians and civic-minded folks, read on.

Critics' Picks
Best Party We're Glad We Missed
Thomas Ravenel's After-Parties
Best Consolation Prize for a Pilfered Life Savings
An Al Parish Yard Gnome
Best Course Correction
Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas
Best Political Mixer
Ron Paul at The Omar Shrine Auditorium
Best Potentially Unintentional Condescending Nickname
Cousin Arthur's "Dr. Maria"
Best Land Grab
Mt. Pleasant's OK Tire
Best Mayoral Candidate Turned Gas Station Cowboy
Omar Brown
Best Citizens on Patrol
Citizens Patrol Against Drugs
Best Egg Beaters
PETA
Best Way to Get Fired From Patriots Point
Lewd Pictures
Best Example the Kids Ain't All Right
Porter-Gaud and Bishop England Fight
Best Example of Our Failing Education System
Miss Teen South Carolina
Best Mayor We'll Never Get Rid Of
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

 

 

Attractions & City Living
Reader's Picks
Each year about this time, they begin to descend upon our town, like an army of dumbstruck, digital camera clickin' zombies. Of course, we're talking about tourists. And there's a reason they come here — we've got attractions galore. But our city is about more than entertaining ghouls from Ohio. It's a place where folks work and play. Most importantly, it's a place where people live. And that's precisely why the living dead envy us. Especially Yankees.

Critics' Picks
Best Place to See a Bear Re-enacting a Charmin Commercial
Charles Towne Landing
Best Place to Get High Off Exhaust Fumes
Boone Hall Plantation
Best Place to Get Loaded and Fire a Shotgun
Folly Beach Turkey Shoot
Best Hope for North Charleston
Olde North Charleston
Best Place to View Rich People in Their Natural Habitat
Kiawah Island
Best Place to Swing the Afternoon Away
Waterfront Park
Best Place to Watch Tourists Literally Bake in the Sun
The Passenger Terminal
Best V-Day Billboard
Give Her Beef, Piggly Wiggly
Best Place to Build Condos
(Tie) Bert's Bar, Barrier Island Surf Shop, Cumberland's
Best Place to Pick Up Girls in the Afternoon
West Ashley Dog Park
Best Place to Stage a Reenactment of the Israelites' Brief Stint Worshipping the Golden Calf

The Coburg Cow on Savannah Highway


Best Post-Shower Public Pool
Lake Isabella at the City Paper Parking Lot
Best Ocean View
Isle of Palms Connector
Best Place to Act like You're Avoiding Landmines
The Park Circle Duck Pond
Best Place for an Exhibitionist to Take a Very Very Very Quick Bath
Waterfront Park Fountain
Best Place to Lose an Arm to a Real-Life Predator
Near Picnicking Nurses at Lake Moultrie
Best Outdoor Patio to Engage in a Little Tourist Spotting
O'Hara and Flynn
Best Reason to Go to the Christmas Parade
Tony the Peanut Man
Best Place to Get Dizzy Driving Around in Circles Looking at Christmas Lights
Park Circle, North Charleston
Best Place to Watch Tourists Happily Buy Hot Sauce They Can Probably Pick Up at Their Hometown Grocery Store
The Market

 

News & The Media
Reader's Picks
If there's one thing that the local media is good at, it's scaring the living bejeezus out of folks. And unlike zombies, which are pretty doggone frightening in their own right, journalists seem to do it on purpose. Of course, not every reporter wants to make you wet your pants. Most really are trying to help us out. They let us know when the weather's going to be bad. They tell us who won last night's game. They bring a smile to our faces with their corny on-screen banter. Admit it. You love the local media as much as zombies love brains.

Critics' Picks
Best Ill-Timed City Paper Story
"Terror on Vacation"
Best Community Weekly in West Ashley
West Of
Best Example of Civility on the AM Dial
Richard Todd
Best Warm & Fuzzy Hour in Local TV
Lowcountry Live
Best Unmasking
The Southern Avenger
Best Shot at Reality TV Stardom
American Idol Tryouts
Best Sports Columnist Who Isn't Ken Burger
Gene Sapakoff | The Post and Courier
Best Web-Based Literary Mag
Dark Sky
Best Website Overhaul for a TV Station
ABC News 4
Best Rock DJ Comeback
The Critic, The Bridge at 105.5
Best Photograph That Should Have Made the Cover of The Post and Courier But Didn't
The one with the arm
Best Bad Soap Opera That's Sorta Local
Love Always, Charleston
Best Sound of Waves Crashing
96 Wave Suddenly Morphs into Chuck FM
Best TV News Bogeyman
MRSA Infections
Best Way to Eat Your Bread
Dipped in the Toilet
Best Ted Baxter Impression
News Anchor Bill Sharpe | WCSC
Best Enviro Watchdog
Ken Bonerigo
Best Crossword Puzzle That Looks Like a Game of Scrabble
Charleston Mercury
Best Reason to Get Excited about the 2008 Presidential Race Only to be Ultimately Disappointed
Stephen Colbert's Campaign

 

Culture, Arts & Entertainment
Reader's Picks
If a group of zombies had penned all the great classics of literature — from The Canterbury Tales to A Tale of Two Cities, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — the plot to each and every one of these works would be the same — BRAAAAINS. (And yes, you could try to argue with them that "braaaains" isn't exactly a plot, but they wouldn't listen. They would only groan and bite.) Speaking of artistic pursuits, Charleston's something of a hot bed of entertainment, both high- and lowbrow. On the one hand, there's Spoleto Festival USA, the CSO, and Bob Snead. On the other, there's Theatre 99, Heavy Metal Karaoke, and Bob Snead. If you're like us — and judging by your readers' picks, we're guessing you are — you like a bit of both.

Critics' Picks
Best Mash-Up of Carolina and Delta Blues Styles
Davis Coen's Ill Disposition
Best Invitation-Only Art Gallery in a Warehouse
The Warehouse Show
Best Music in a So-So Musical
South Hall
Best Local Multi-Instrumentalist
Ward Buckheister
Best Art Walk Discovery
In the Dark
Best Music Venue to Be Replaced by an Apple Store (Or Something)
Cumberland's
Best Puppet Show Apocalypse
Wayang Modern
Best Local Holiday Album by a Bunch of Metalheads
98X's A Very Merry Local X-Mas, Volume Deuce
Best Open Mic Night
Art's Bar & Grill
Best Organically Grown Blues Club
A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria
Best Experimental Electric Guitarist
David Linaberg
Best New Low-Budget Indie 'Zine
Come Inside and Close the Door
Best Post-Debate After-Party
Google After-Party
Best Lighting Malfunction
The Full Monty
Best New Event for Fashionistas
Charleston Fashion Week
Best Theater that's Currently Underused
Charleston Music Hall
Best Indefatigable Local Band
Lindsay Holler & The Dirty Kids
Best Revolving-Door Lineup
Joy Ride
Best Art Show on Wheels
Transit Antenna
Best Local Rock Act Soon to Be Shouting "I Am a Golden God" from the Rooftops
Leslie
Best Post-Modern Art Show
The Exhibition
Best Black Comedy
Colder than Here
Best Keys-Centric Album
Slowrunner's Shiv
Best Versatile Jazz Cat
Ben Wells
Best Imaginary Set
Cloud Tectonics
Best Street Corner Opera Singer
Richard Blakeney
Best Renovation of a Venue Ravaged by Hugo
Memminger Auditorium
Best Return Engagement to the Charleston Comedy Festival
Harvard Sailing Team
Best Outdoor Music Setting
The Pour House
Best Creator, Performer, Supporter, and Promoter of Off-Kilter Music
New Music Collective
Best Pop Art Exhibit in a Record Store
Screen Printing 101
Best Indie-Rock Superstars Who Regularly Drink and Surf on Folly
Band of Horses
Best Oh Shit! Moment in a Play
Shining City
Best Music Festival in Need of a New Venue
ChazzFest 2008
Best Portrayal of a Grieving Mother
Sharon Graci
Best Gallery That Went the Way of the Dodo
Modernisme
Best Horn Player
Kevin Hackler
Best Art Parade
Redux's Balloon Parade
Best Author of an 11-Volume Epic Whom We Lost Last Year
James Oliver Rigney, aka Robert Jordan
Best Oldies Station
Rocket 980
Best Local Punk Album
Steve Hit Mikes' I Got So Hammered
Best Return by an Artist Formerly in a Band Unduly Burdened by a Comma
Jay Clifford
Best Bathroom Makeover
The Music Farm

 

Shops & Wares
Reader's Picks
The living dead aren't exactly known for their fashion sense. They couldn't care less if they were wearing Zac Posen or Baby Phat. For them, it's all rags, all the time. Bor-ring. We need to round up all the zombies and send them to the folks at What Not to Wear. Those guys can do wonders for folks who routinely commit crimes against fashion. Judging by this year's Readers' Picks, you're not that kind of person. Heck, you know exactly where to shop in this town. And your good sense isn't limited to clothes either. Musical instruments, gourmet groceries, hardware, comic books, and a lot more.

Critics' Picks
Best Place to Feel Like You're a NYC Hipster
B'Zar
Best Disappearing Comic Shop
Atomic Comics
Best Overlooked Boutique
Utopia
Best Store that Was Once a Theater
Urban Outfitters
Best Store to Buy from to Ensure that Third World Artisans Can Make a Living
Global Awakenings
Best Shop for Frame-Worthy Stationery
Lesesne
Best Place to Buy Jewelry on the Cheap
Charleston Farmers' Market
Best King Street Business that Went Belly Up
Granny's Goodies
Best Place to Avoid Kennel Cough
Fetch Doggy Day Care
Best Place to Play Free Pinball (and Score a South Park Game)
Charleston Gamerooms Arcade Games and Pinball Sales
Best Shop for Hipster Babies
Wonderland
Best Outdoor Shopping Extravaganza
Tanger Outlet Mall
Best High Dollar Thrift Store
ReStore Habitat for Humanity
Best Place to Outfit Your Boudoir
Nancy Koltes at Home
Best Place to Hang Out with Comic Book Geeks
Captain's Comics
Best Place to Buy Books by Local Authors
Blue Bicycle Books
Best Place to Get Your Ax Fixed
Mt. Pleasant Music
Best Place to Shop for Albums and Hear Live Music
52.5 Records
Best Place to Pick Up Prescriptions and Educational Toys
Daniel Island Pharmacy


Best Place to Dress Like Heidi and Lauren from The Hills
Miostile
Best Place to Find Cheap, Cheap Goods While Helping Kids with Cancer

Children's Cancer Society Thrift Store
Best Green Initiative

Little Green Bag
Best Way to Get Red Carpet Ready
Mary Norton
Best Place to Stock Up Your Kitchen
Berlin's Restaurant Supply
Best Place to Find Something to Match Your Guyliner
StylExchange
Best Place to Detoxify Your Home
DwellSmart
Best Southern Grocery Store Ever
The Pig
Best Fashion Secret Let Out of the Bag
LulaKate
Best Polaroid Collection
King Street Grocery
Best Place to Pick up a Tall Boy and Toast a Tough-As-Nails Shopkeeper
Quisqueya Deli and Groceries
Best Place to Get an Emergency Gift for Your Wife/Girlfriend
Poe Studio
Best Tire Repair Shop to Watch Employees Yell at Each Other in Southern Vernacular
Gerald's Tire & Brakes
Best Place to Have Your Shoes Repaired While Yuppie Watching
Peter & Son's Shoe and Luggage Repair
Best Shop for Davidoff Stogies
The Smoking Lamp
Best Place to Buy Your Mutt a Treat
Dolittle's
Best Kept Secret for Filmmakers
New Pro Video
Best Place to Get a Kickass Guitar for Cheap
Ye Olde Music Shop

 

Recreation, Health, & Beauty
Reader's Picks
With all the brain-eating and flesh-chomping that zombies do, you'd think the undead would pack on the pounds pretty quickly. Not so. Why? Let us point out the obvious: They're always on their feet, and they're always on the go. They don't stop, and they never sleep. They burn calories 24/7. You, on the other hand, are probably shackled like a Microserf for eight or more hours out of the day to a computer and you sleep another six or so hours. But you still find ways to get your arms and legs moving and your heart beating if your readers' picks are any indication. And that's a good thing. You'll need to be in tip-top shape when the zombie apocalypse finally happens.

Critics' Picks
Best Scenic After-Work Activity
Biking Sullivan's Island
Best Way to Wait Out the Doldrums Between Swells on Folly Beach
McKevlin's Blog
Best Massage for the Timid Man
Urban Nirvana
Best Kiteboarding (Watching) Spot
Sullivan's Island
Best Out-of-the-Way Sunset
Sol Legare Boat Landing
Best Way to Be One with Nature
Coastal Expeditions
Best Place to Sit by Yourself, Drink Wine, and Laugh at Juno
Terrace Theater
Best Chilled-Out Chiropractor
Keystone Chiropractic
Best Reaction to the YouTube Video of Cop Harassing Skateboarders
Pour It Now
Best Place to Get Your Zits Zapped
Skin Therapy Center
Best Fishing Hole
The waters off of Capers and Bull islands
Best Place to Strand Your Boat
Morris Island
Best Reason to Bike to Work
Because you can, thanks to Charleston Moves
Best Place to Look the Other Way While My Dog Takes a Crap
Your front yard
Best Place to Get Your Butt Hosed
Center for Well Being
Best Natural Sauna
Charleston
Best Place to Whistle "Dock of the Bay"
Bowens Island Restaurant
Best Way to Impress Your Neighbors While Extending Your Lifespan
EverGreen Concepts
Best Place to Jog and Watch High School Students Beat Each Other Up
Daniel Island
Best Excuse to Never Shave Again
The Holy City Beard and Mustache Society
Best Way to Experience the Thrill of Running the Gauntlet
Biking down King Street
Best Place to Watch Arena Soccer and Eat "Country Pudding"
Arena City Soccer
Best Place to Witness a Hallmark Moment
Charleston Miracle League Games
Best Way to Avoid an Awkward Run-In with the Ex
Charleston Crystal Ball
Best Place to Get Hairless Without Wax and Razors
Sweet 185 Sugaring Studio
Best Place to Whip Out your Discs in Public
Park Circle Disc Golf Course
Best Guy to Teach You a Little Something About the Birds and the Bees
Brad Sale at Old Santee Canal Park

 

Eating Out
Reader's Picks
Listen up, zombies. It can't be red meat all the time. Actually, we'd rather it not be red meat any of the time, that is if eating red meat means you're chomping on people parts. (Cow's fine, the madder the better.) But seriously, you've got to get out there and experience other foods, like the oysters at Pearlz. Or the shrimp and grits at Hominy Grill. Or the she-crab soup at 82 Queen. All readers' picks in the 2008 Best of Charleston poll.

Critics' Picks
Best Countrified French Restaurant
Fat Hen
Best Legacy of John Marshall
Bacco
Best Veggies
FIG
Best Place to Eat Straight From the Biodynamic Dirt
McCrady's
Best Underground Dinner Scene
Guerrilla Cuisine
Best Food Trend
Community Supported Agriculture
Best Visit by a Foodie
Anthony Bourdain
Best Meal You Can't Afford without Getting a Second Mortgage
Food and Wine with a View at the F+W Fest
Best Wings to Melt Your Eyeballs
Moe's Crosstown Tavern
Best Reason to Go to Edisto
Whaley's
Best Place to Get Heads-On Shrimp
Magwood Seafood
Best Menu for Experiencing Three Continents
Charleston Grill
Best Place to Buy a Whole Pig
Marvin's Meats
Best New Bakery
Sugar
Best Place to Keep Kosher
Pita King
Best Salad in a Snap
Gaulart and Maliclet/Fast and French
Best Reason to Get over Your Disdain for Chains
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Best Restaurant to Ponder Castro's Impending Demise
El Bohio
Best Place to Visit When You're Longing for the City of Lights
39 Rue de Jean
Best Neighborhood Wine and Cheese
Avondale Wine and Cheese
Best Place to Let Your Toddler Smear Grape Jelly on the Wall While You Eat
Three Little Birds Café
Best Soul Food Sans Tourist Crowds
Martha Lou's Kitchen
Best New Addition to the North Chuck Dining Scene
Andolini's Pizza
Best Outdoor Patio (That Doesn't Feel Like It's on a Busy Road)
Santi's
Best Highfalutin Fried Chicken
Long Point Grill
Best Mac and Cheese Ever (And We Mean That in a Since-the-Dawn-of-Time Kind of Way)
Cru Café
Best Place to Get Breakfast and Mail a Letter
Aunt Bea's Restaurant
Best Collard Greens
Virginia's on King
Best Pickle Fix
Fresh Pickle Works
Best Alternative to a Boiled Peanut
Fried Peanut
Best Kitchen Essential We Didn't Know We Couldn't Live Without
Duck Fat from Ted's Butcherblock
Best Bowl of Steaming Beef Tendon Broth
Pho Bac
Best Bigger-than-Brooklyn Slice of Pizza
La Pizzeria
Best Nearly Guilt-Free Taco
Uno Mas
Best Hand-Cut Fries
La Fourchette
Best Burger Made of Seeds
The Sprout
Best Place to Get Loaded and Eat Hotdogs
The Tin Roof
Best Place to Get Corn on the Cob that's Been Soaked in Milk
Sesame Burgers and Beer
Best Authentic Chitlins
Martha Lou's Kitchen
Best Use of a Nut on a Pizza
EVO Pizzeria
Best Lowcountry Rice Dish
Gullah Rice at Gullah Cuisine
Best Use of Pork Products
High Cotton
Best Place to Drool Over the Staff (And the Pie)
Monza
Best Presentation of Genuine Carolina Barbecue
Momma Brown's
Best Way to Get a Taste of the Farm
Raw Milk from Green Grocer Farm
Best Greek Bang for Your Buck
Manny's Platter at Manny's
Best Soup Joint
Ladles Homemade Soups
Best Use of Crawdads
Vickery's Cajun Popcorn
Best Satisfying Meal for Meatless Lovers
Daily Dose
Best Super-Expensive Meat
Kobe Beef at Ted's Butcherblock
Best Use of a Flat-Screen TV at a Restaurant
Sushi Haru
Best Okra Soup
Kitty's Fine Foods
Best Salad Bar
East Bay Deli
Best Way to Ruin Your Entire Sunday Afternoon
Filet Mignon & Boursin Cheese Omelet at Sunflower Café
Best Hotdog that Makes You Feel Like You're at Wrigley Field
Skoogie's Chicago Style Deli
Best Taste of New Orleans
Seafood Gumbo at Pearlz Oyster Bar
Best Restaurant To Take Your Dog
Lost Dog Café
Best She-Crab Soup Outside the City
See Wee Restaurant
Best Place to Pick up a Cupcake for Your Pup
Three Dog Bakery
Best Fried Shrimp Worth Driving For
McClellanville Diner

 

Drinking
Reader's Picks
Here's the funny thing about zombies: Up until that moment that a ghoul actually tries to take a bite out of your neck, well, you may have a right difficult time determining whether or not that body is undead or simply drunk. The moaning, the stumbling, the need to eat fatty foods. It's tough. Which is why it's probably a good idea not to get completely smashed and go wandering about town — you're bound to lose your head. Of course, we love a good drink as much as anybody — some of us more than others. And not surprisingly some of our favorite watering holes are yours too, according to the 2008 Best of Charleston Readers' Picks.

Critics' Picks
Best Place to Play Trivia and Get a Dose of Blue Humor at the Same Time
O'Malley's Bar and Grille
Best Spawning of a Popular Watering Hole
Moe's Downtown Tavern
Best Bar Rehab
The Tin Roof
Best Bar to Spot Local Rock Stars
The Village Tavern
Best Way to Get In Trouble
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Best Mixologist
Dwayne Mitchell at the Upper Deck Tavern
Best Brewpub Comeback
Southend Brewery and Smokehouse
Best Cosmo
O'Charley's
Best Place to Park Your Ass
On Magnum P.I.'s face at The Black Cart
Best Place to Get Drunk and Sing '80s Songs
Mad River Bar & Grill
Best Place to Play with Your Wii
The Brick
Best Use of Authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest Bier
Gene's Haufbrau
Best Spot to Feel Your Retinas Burn
Vickery's Shem Creek Bar & Grill
Best Downtown Pint of Guinness
Tommy Condon's Irish Pub
Best Beer Bottle Countdown
100 Bottles of Beer Club at Mellow Mushroom
Best Place to Down a Sam Jackson and Watch Rugby on a Sunday Morning
Madra Rua Irish Pub
Best Place to Relive the Golden Era of the Singer/Songwriter
Sunfire Grill & Bistro
Best Suburban Margarita
Yo Burrito (Mt. Pleasant)
Best Bar to Snag Olives
Coast
Best Well-Kept Secret North Area Tavern
Wings Neighborhood Bar & Grill
Best Next Door Neighbor for a Broke-Ass College Student
Norm's Pizza
Best Way to Avoid a DUI
Dial-A-DD
Best Bar to Find a Sugar Daddy
The Blind Tiger
Best Members-Only Beach Bar
Sand Dollar Social Club
Best Bar Bathroom
The Mill
Best Bar in Which to Drink Like Hemingway
One-Eyed Parrot
Best Organic Brewery in Our Own Back Yard
Coast Brewing
Best Place to Win Drinks on the Pool Table
The Kickin' Chicken (Downtown)
Best Culinary Pairing of Craft-Brewed Beer
Carolina's Beer Dinner
Best Bar to Find a Spot on a Boat for the Charleston to Bermuda Race
Salty Mike's
Best Place for a Buffalo Bills Fan to Watch His Team Blow It Yet Again
Charleston Beer Works
Best Selection of Microbrews (and Wines) from Around the World
Piggly Wiggly (James Island)
Best Bar Room Snapshot Collection
Dunleavy's Pub
Best Place to Get High (Gravity Beers)
Whole Foods Market
Best Deal on a Mucho Grande Frosty Mug of Cerveza
Los Arcos (Mt. Pleasant)
Best Place to Walk All Over the Hard Work of the Irish
McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant


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