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Best New Bar 

The Bangkok Lounge

click to enlarge bangkok-8-edit_rsmith.jpg

Ruta Smith

Readers Pick

353 King St. 2nd Floor. Downtown


thebangkoklounge.com

Tiki-themed The Bangkok Lounge found their sweet spot early on with karaoke seven nights a week. But this isn’t just any old dive bar karaoke situation. Let’s start with the setup. Walk up a steep set of stairs to the small bar where you’ll find a couple microphones and a karaoke machine in front of an exposed brick wall. This “stage” is where all the magic happens.

Nightly themes provide inspiration for your song choice — one night could feature metal and another might involve singing along to music from the ’90s. Local drag queens like Crystal Guysir often emcee to keep the good times rolling.

“The space has such a cool little bar room vibe,” said owner Chris “Boston” DiMattia. “I’ve always liked going to that space and hanging out there.”

The upstairs bar was most recently occupied by King Street Bait and Tackle, but most remember it as Upper Deck Tavern, the local-favorite watering hole that closed in 2018 after 16 successful years. Back in its heyday, Upper Deck hosted karaoke, so in a way DiMattia’s funky new bar pays homage to the beloved tavern. DiMattia was thrilled to see The Bangkok Lounge quickly gain popularity in Charleston. “I think the city was ready for a fun outlet to be a little silly,” he said.

Anyone who’s been knows he certainly succeeded. —Parker Milner

Runner-up: House of Brews West Ashley

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