Dive Bar Love 

Six tales of everlasting romance set afire in our Holy City watering holes

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Jonathan Boncek

For the record, we don't use the term dive bar as a pejorative. Quite the opposite. By our standards, a city is only as good as its dive bars, and Charleston is fortunate to have more than a few great ones (psst: there's the real story, Conde Nast). So is it any wonder that in these PBR palaces Holy City citizens have fallen in love? Yes, even in our digital age, when Match.com and Tinder are more likely to lead to marriage than a chance encounter, romance can still be found at your neighborhood dive. And, according to these six couples, all it takes is a late night, a few shots, and a little serendipity.

Even hopeless romantics love The Recovery Room
Even hopeless romantics love The Recovery Room Sweet Talk

The dive bar love story of Chandler and Benjamin Rennison has it all — initial sparks at the undeniably romantic Recovery Room, a first kiss by the dumpster of the old Vickery's downtown, countless Coors Lights. But the kicker is that time Chandler knocked her future husband's front tooth out — while kissing. Hot, right? And it was only the second or third time they'd ever made out. — Kelly Rae Smith


The Garretts' dive bar may be gone but their love is still intact
The Garretts' dive bar may be gone but their love is still intact The Test of Time

Leigh Ann and Matt Garrett met at the old Cumberland's. That's how they describe the building that now sits empty at 26 Cumberland St. It was after a Widespread Panic concert in 2001 when the two, who may or may not have previously met, started talking and ... you know what, we'll let them tell the story. — Connelly Hardaway


How a game of darts at Gene's Haufbrau led to lasting love
How a game of darts at Gene's Haufbrau led to lasting love Arrow to the Heart

Tell me about the night you first met... I was having girls' night out with my coworkers, and I didn't know that they were conspiring to hook me up with someone. My new friend Kim (who is now one of my best friends) knew Tia and introduced us while we were playing darts. — Mary Scott Hardaway


One couple recalls their first encounter, with a few points of disagreement
One couple recalls their first encounter, with a few points of disagreement He said, she said

Communication is key in any relationship — it's also the first thing that gets lost when you walk into a bar. With the steady din of conversation punctuated by the bright ding of glasses rattling, it's often a challenge to share a truly meaningful connection at your local watering hole. — Dustin Waters


A Moe-mance to remember
A Moe-mance to remember Making a case for cheesy dates

The bartenders at Moe's Crosstown Tavern call them Moe-mances, the late night meet-cutes that manage to go beyond a tipsy encounter to real life love. Apparently they're more common than we thought. There's something about the strange alchemy of a dimly lit bar, a cold beer, and the smell of cooling fries that coalesces into a heady aphrodisiac. At least that was the case for Jenny Ferrara and Michael Bourke. — Kinsey Gidick


A Rec Room rom-com quality meet-cute
A Rec Room rom-com quality meet-cute Love at First Story

I had a very specific narrative in mind. Where: a dark, diminutive café. When: in the middle of the weekday. What: I'd be sipping a house red, and on my third glass. Who: a handsome stranger would swing open the joint's creaky wooden door and sit two barstools down, order his "regular," and catch my gaze at just the right moment. The rest would be history. — Mary Scott Hardaway


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