DISH DINING GUIDE ‌ Don't Call Them Dives 

Good and hearty fare isn't hard to find at these joints

click to enlarge Fish n chips at - Madra Rua
  • Fish n chips at Madra Rua

A.C.'s Bar and Grill
Pubs/Taverns
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 467 King St. 577-6742; Mt. Pleasant. 1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 849-2267.
Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch, and Late Night
AC's is an old favorite with quirky bartenders, plenty of pool tables and video games, and great, low-down bar food that suits the paper-lined baskets and cheap beer perfectly. Their rather inspired bar menu features choices like the Zen Sampler and a Garden Philly and even healthy sides like celery and carrots. Their downtown Sunday brunch has become a popular hangover cure for the masses, with such incredibly hearty combos as chicken and waffles and hashbrown casserole.

Art's Bar and Grill
More Than a Sandwich
Entrées $5-$10
Mt. Pleasant. 413 Coleman Blvd. 849-3040
Lunch, Dinner, and Late Night
Art's is not a fancy joint, but that's just the point. They serve lunch and dinner specials seven days a week in an atmosphere that mixes local musical talent and classic arcade games in the same quirky, well-worn space. Great fried fish baskets and big burgers can satisfy the largest of appetites. The people are cool, the beer is cold, and the location is convenient — all good reasons why this Coleman Boulevard establishment has been voted Best Bar in Mt. Pleasant for years by City Paper readers.

D'Allesandro's
Pizza
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 229 St. Philip St. 853-6337
Lunch, Dinner, and Delivery
A new neighborhood pizza joint run by two brothers who know what good pizza is all about. The crust is perfectly thin and crispy with quality toppings and a couple of gourmet offerings. Big salads and subs round out the menu. This little restaurant tucked away on St. Philip St. should quickly become a regular hang-out for locals looking to escape the madness of King Street.

George's Sports Bar and Grill
Greek/Mediterranean
Entrées $5-$10
West Ashley. 1300 Savannah Hwy. 763-0605
Lunch and Dinner
Georgie the Greek serves up a fantastic array of Greek specials, American bar grub, and a never-ending stream of live sporting events on so many TVs that his power bill must dwarf the food cost. It's not shmancy food, it's a low-down, gut-busting, pig-out joint. The Nachos Humongo come topped with chili, cheese, jalepenos, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and salsa; the chili cheese fries will take you back to your last visit to the state fair; the Buffalo wings are certified snot-drippers. Large format TVs make this the place to kick back for college football and NASCAR races. And if you are a nerd who does not like sports then the television trivia network at every table will give you something to do while you wait for your friends.

Jimmy Dengate's
Southern/Lowcountry
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 5 Cumberland St. 722-1541
Lunch and Dinner
Jimmy Dengate's is an old stand-by for a quick, satisfying weekday lunch. They've got a solid line-up of meats — meat loaf, fried catfish, fried chicken, etc.— that you can pair up with a selection of vegetables (mac and cheese, fried okra, mashed potatoes, cole slaw) for the ultimate of Southern "dinners" (that's what we used to call lunch down here in the South). Regular all-you-can-eat specials and cheap prices keep this place packed full of regulars, where you'll often see the mayor and other movers and shakers taking part in a power lunch.

Johnson's Pub
Pubs/Taverns
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 12 Cumberland St. 958-0662
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, and Delivery
The former site of Beaumont's restaurant has become a hot little pub that not only attracts a great crowd but also manages to serve good pub grub. Vito Johnson's pizza will stuff you for very little money. The burger, which comes in seven varieties, is fantastic, and the Caesar salad is huge and delicious. The room is still a little strange, but one bite of dinner and you can ignore the huge golf video game in the corner — well, almost.

Madra Rua
Pubs/Taverns
Entrées $5-$10
North Charleston. 1034 E. Montague Ave. 554-2522
Lunch, Dinner,and Late Night
Hands down, this is the best Irish pub in town. Hidden up in the Park Circle area of North Chuck, Madra Rua got ahead of the Noisette curve and has led the way ever since. Comprehensive soccer coverage, some very tasty fish and chips, and the only shepherd's pie in town worth eating make this the ideal location to suck down a pint or two while watching all the exciting World Cup action. Of course, the World Cup will not be back for another four years, but we are sure that there will be plenty of other games to tide you over.

Manny's
Greek/Mediterranean
Entrées $5-$10.
West Ashley. 1680 Old Towne Road. 763-3908
Lunch, Dinner, and Late Night
Everybody loves Manny's. They have great Greek-American stick-to-your-ribs type fare mixed with American and Italian-American standards that, in all their greasy glory, express what a true dive should be all about. You don't go there to be impressed with the wine list or to watch beautiful people. You show up expecting cold beer, good times, and some excellent, satisfying grub.

Moe's Crosstown Tavern
Pubs/Taverns
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 714 Rutledge Ave. 722-EATS
Lunch, Dinner, and Sunday Brunch
Moe's serves the best bar food in town. In fact, it's so good that we shouldn't even call it bar food. Burgers, wings, and cold beer reach new levels at this bona fide 'hood location. You don't have to have your own key to get in the door anymore, and that's a good thing, because on a busy night, the door will barely budge for all the people gathered there. The goat cheese and poblano burger and hand-cut French fries are to die for and the wings (served "Moe Hotter") will make you cry.

Poe's Tavern
American/Eclectic -- Casual
Entrées $5-$10
Sullivan's Island. 2210 Middle St. 883-0083
Lunch and Dinner
We tried to count the number of references to Edgar Allan Poe at this eponymous beach bar on Sullivan's and gave up after two beers. No matter the time of day, this is the perfect place to weather that freak thunderstorm that ruins your beach excursion. You can sit inside, out on the patio, or on the porch — either way the beer is cold and the respectable pub food can quell a grumbling belly. Chips with guacamole and a killer soft shell crab sandwich top the list of good eats at this island institution.

Vickery's
Caribbean/Cuban
Entrées $10-$15
Downtown. 15 Beaufain St. 577-5300; Mt. Pleasant. 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane, 884-4440
Lunch and Dinner
You can never go too far wrong with a trip to Vickery's. Black bean cakes and the turkey and brie sandwich are favorites for lighter diners, and there are plenty of burgers and fried stuff for those interested in junk-food snacking. It's one of the few places to dine outside in the shade downtown, and the Shem Creek location has a gorgeous view of the water.

West Ashley Bait and Tackle
Pubs/Taverns
Entrées $5-$10
West Ashley. 1117 Magnolia Road. 556-1828
Lunch and Dinner
The best-kept secret in West Ashley has been operating for years, but most of the patrons were missing a tooth or two. New ownership transformed the B&T into a funky, laid-back bluegrass bar with live music on the weekends, a great home-spun menu, and a smoke-free interior that even families can enjoy. The chef is from Wisconsin and blends crazy good Southern fried food with a cheese fetish that results in some lethal grub. Fried fish baskets and outstanding burgers top the list of things that one must order when visiting, but it ain't fancy. It still has plenty of that grungy, down-home character, but you can now feel safe walking through the front door.


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