Jewelry designer Hart Huguet Hagerty is a born-and-bred, seventh-generation Charlestonian. Here, she shares her guide to her hometown.

"After four years in Nashville, six years in Shanghai, and two years in New York, I finally moved back home to Charleston in 2016. I returned to discover it's no longer the sleepy town of my childhood. I love exploring the city’s new discoveries, while also embracing the familiar staples from my past.

It seems every other day a friend and or client asks me to share my travel tips, so I’ve finally put pen to paper… Here are my top recommendations: a mix of tried-and-true tradition, hip hotspots, and beloved little gems that many guides overlook."

*Last updated: March 2020*


One Broad
The sunny yellow dining room of this beautifully-restored neighborhood joint is the perfect backdrop for a lazy weekend breakfast or casual lunch. Their bloody Mary's and hearty omelettes can cure any hangover. I love to eat here by myself with a magazine or book, or cozy up at the bar with my man. Live (loud) music on Sundays.
Second State Coffee
Second State Coffee is a cool minimal cafe that makes coffee lovers beam from ear to ear. Be warned, concoctions like lavender lattes are rocket fuel. This intimate space is not a laptop cafe; instead visitors chat and read The Times splayed out on the communal table. Bonus: the staff are cute, scruffy guys rocking out to New Order and Future Islands!
Way up on King Street near my house is Harbinger Cafe, which won my heart over immediately with its vegan salads, gluten free pastries and frothy matcha lattes. It's a healthy girl's oasis. The cafe is airy, feminine and relaxed. This lady-run business just opened its sister restaurant, Harken, downtown on Queen Street. Outdoor seating.


Kudu is a chill little coffee spot and bar in the heart of downtown, just off of King Street. It's crunchy, and college-y, and proudly has no wifi. Their sunny courtyard is a great stop to relax for a bit while exploring King Street.



The Daily lives up to its name. There's always a reason to drop by here. Coffee, avocado toast, quick lunches, and green smoothies. The industrial, modern eatery is just cool … I always seem to bump into my creative friends (designers, photographers, artists) on each visit. Outdoor seating.

Huriyali is an earthy, vegan paradise with a shady courtyard out back. Inside the mint green building, gorgeous earth mommas whip up healthy smoothies, bowls and salads. They recently expanded to the building next door, where they have a small grocery area full of all of the best health foods and supplements. This is a great spot to grab a coffee or smoothie before exploring nearby Hampton Park, Charleston's 60-acre park designed by Olmsted.
Given its massive success and lines out the door, one might misjudge Callie's as a ‘tourist trap.’ But this is local business is authentic, soulful and god damn delicious. I take my out-of-town friends first thing in the morning before the wait escalates and bring breakfast biscuits to the beach.

Leon's is the first place I take a visitor to introduce them to Southern food in a vibrant, cool setting. Once we set foot into the converted auto body shop, I don't even need to look at the menu. I always order family style portions of fried chicken, hush puppies and fried oysters. The food is always great, and the vibe is always buzzing.

I'd eat at this little joint on a weekly basis if it were closer to town. Just near the entrance to Kiawah on John's Island, KinFolk is dedicated to two of my favorite foods: hot chicken and soft serve ice cream. This slice of HEAVEN is run by two local SC brothers who cut their teeth in NYC kitchens before returning to Charleston to open their own restaurant.


I get my fix for Chinese food at Jack Rabbit Filly in the up-and-coming Park Circle neighborhood in North Charleston. The atmosphere is buzzing, the vibe is boisterous and fun and the food is absolutely delicious. It gets loud and it's hard to snag a table, so I wouldn't recommend this spot for bigger groups.


Basic Kitchen is cheerful, sunny and nourishing staple in the local community. It's a go-to spot for bloggers, designers and design-minded visitors to hunker down around a vegan caesars, matcha lattes and buffalo cauliflower wings. It's all about a healthy twist to on classic comfort foods, not the mention their interior design is on point.



The Variety Store is a no-frills local diner right on the Ashley River downtown. Come here for a breakfast of shrimp and grits. The veteran waitresses keep your coffee mug full and call you “sugar.” The interior hasn't changed a bit since I used go here every Sunday morning with my granddad. We’d get a window booth and watch the dolphins swim by.
With its fresh Asian dishes and laid-back surroundings, XBB is my go-to spot to catch up with girlfriends over dinner and drinks. The owners - who are also DJs - spin their electronic mixes for the restaurant's playlist, which pumps throughout the colorful interior of the former gas station. The menu of Asian soulfood "was inspired by kickass grandmothers everywhere" and features familiar comforts like papaya salad, mapo dofu and steamed fish.
So hip. Operated by the brains behind Xiao Bao Biscuit, Tu offers INCREDIBLE Indian food in an inspired interior. The best I've ever eaten. This place might 'edgy' for Charleston but New Yorkers will feel right at home.
Purlieu is my favorite weeknight indulgence. Not too far from my house, this jewel of neighborhood French bistro is the passion project of the locally famous Cru restaurant guys. Order the double burger (the best in town) or the French dip.
Just a few blocks from my house, this elevated pizza spot where all the locals go.The vibe is easy-going, but still feels like an occasion. Great for date night, or a dinner with friends. I've never had a less than delicious meal here.
We're spoiled with great BBQ in this town. Texan BBQ by John Lewis and SC native Rodney Scott are incredible options, but Hometeam is my top pick because -- not only is the pulled pork fantastic -- but you can balance out the indulgence with large salads and veggies. That said, if you want a total gut-buster, dig into the appetizer of pork cracklings and pimento cheese! They also have a bustling location on Sullivan's Island.
Edmund's Oast is a great choice for a larger groups. It serves excellent, fine-but-unpretentious, hearty southern food... made from fresh local ingredients. The staff are burly tattooed dudes with beards, if that paints a picture for you. They have a huge beer selection and delicious charcuterie boards.

The Obstinate Daughter is right above Beardcat, one of my other recommendations, on Sullivan's Island. Spruce up after a nice beach day and head on down to this local favorite for dinner. Pizzas, pastas and salads.


167 Raw
The new outpost on King Street reminds me of a chic restaurant in the West Village, NYC. Its stunning, light-filled interior is luxe yet laidback. Technically, I guess 167 Raw is "casual" because it's devoted to sandwiches and tacos... but it does serve $27 lobster rolls. It just FEELS fancy. Bonus points for the handsome staff who expertly craft margaritas and shuck the world's best oysters. Worth going at odd hours to avoid the very long wait.
Romantic. Enchanting. Intimate. Yet unfussy. World-class food and wine. If you're unable to get a table for dinner, indulge in a long, languid lunch here... a la Parisiennes.
Sophisticated, clubby and upscale Italian with modern flair. If you're craving a dirty martini and some classic Italian food on a white tablecloth, go here. Just be sure to book a couple weeks in advance. Even for a seat at the bar.... If you do have to wait, hop across the street to Graft wine bar.
Absolutely delicious French food in a zippy atmosphere. The food reminds me a lot of FIG -- using southern ingredients like field peas and local fish to infuse new character into classic French dishes.


The Ordinary is my top pick for a special dinner out. Set in a beautifully restored bank, this upscale seafood restaurant oozes old world charm. I highly recommend settling into their classic oyster bar for a swishy happy hour. If you’re craving southern seafood in a little more casual setting, go for fried seafood across the street at The Darling.
Oh my god, so good, just go already. The main dining room (in my opinion) can feel a little too subdued for my taste. Instead, I prefer to go early (right when they open at 5pm) and sit at the bar. Order all of the small plates at the top of the menu.  
Zero George
Super swanky fine dining in an immaculately restored Charleston mansion that houses the luxe boutique hotel, Zero George. Well-traveled epicureans won't be disappointed by the prix fix menu. Be sure to enjoy a pre or post dinner cocktail on Zero George's piazza. Authentic historic charm meets modern comfort. Spendy.


I encourage you a visit to the famous Jewel Box to see the magic of this multi-generational women-run business. For over a century, Charlestonians have trusted Croghan’s for gifts for debutante parties, bridal and baby showers, weddings and, of course, engagement rings. Mini Hay, the youngest granddaughter in the Croghan’s dynasty, is paving the future legacy with her own cheeky jewelry line of Goldbugs (ok, it’s a gold-plated cockroach… Charleston’s unofficial mascot).


Website // Google Maps

Worthwhile established itself as the authority of bohemian-chic back in 1993 on King Street. Shopping at this lovely little store with a warm wood interior feels very personal and welcoming. It carries an eclectic selection of designs from Rick Owens to Isabel Marant, as well as jewelry and gifts, including a gorgeous gold silk quilt depicting the Charleston coastline by Haptic Lab.
One reason to love Candlefish: they carry my signature earrings! Visiting the sunny, open shop of local candle company Candlefish is sensorial joy. The shop is beautifully curated, with more than 100 scents to choose from. A chic souvenir is their Charleston Candle, with notes of jasmine, tea olive and magnolia… and sea salt of course. Candlefish also hosts weekly DIY workshops on candle-making.
Owner Stacey Smallwood travels to Europe multiple times a year to pick a fresh, creative edit of major designers like Stella McCartney, Carven, Zimmermann, and Isabel Marant to stock up Hampden Clothing, Charleston's premier designer boutique. She recently opened 'Small' - the little sister boutique carrying contemporary labels like Ulla Johnson, Tibi, and Rag & Bone. Hampden is the exclusive retailer of Golden Goose in town as well!
IBU was founded by Susan Hull Walker, whoI am very grateful to call a friend and mentor. Susan travels the world in search of beautiful artisanal fashion. Every piece is handmade by women, promoting economic self-sufficiency through the art of their hands. Her boutique on lower King Street is a bohemian oasis and treasure trove, swathed in rich textiles and dotted with stunning jewelry (including my special edition earrings!) and accessories like basket bags and Moroccan babouches. Susan has an incredible eye for styling souk treasures in a timeless, modern way.
You can find my signature earrings here alongside Garden & Gun magazine's curation of Southern-made goods. Inside of the mid-century jewel of a hotel, The Dewberry.
I have a shop-in-shop inside this spacious antique store on upper King Street, home to dozens of vendors, local artists and indie brands. Get an ice coffee next door at the Daily and easily spend an hour here getting inspired.


This petite wine and cocktail bar is a Cannonborough neighborhood staple and is my favorite spot to catch up with friends for hours at a time. Despite its popularity, it somehow manages to still feel under-the-radar. The little bistro tables outside give a European flair to this cozy spot. It's friendly, cool and stylish... and down to earth. My favorite bar in town!

Website // Google Maps

Wine bar inside a cheese shop / bistro. It's not really the most 'happening' place, but its quieter vibe is why I appreciate it. We can always get a table and something delicious to imbibe. In warmer months, their patio is magnifique.


When I'm craving fancy and cool, I hightail it to the Citrus Club or the lobby of the this luxury hotel in an immaculately restored midcentury building. Steeped in stunning 1960s design, it transports you to another era.
Shoot pool and hang out with delightfully dirty sailors at this very low key waterfront bar. In Charleston's sea of fancy bars, this gritty dive bar has a special place in my heart.
My friends Femi and Miles are two down-to-earth, dashing dudes who wanted to to take the pretension out of wine bars. So they opened Graft, where Femi can blend his talents as a seasoned sommelier and love for hip hop.
Bars on King Street are kind of a hot mess that I tend to avoid. Cozy cocktail lounge The Belmont is an exception, with its laidback surroundings and subtle retro vibe. The handsome mustached bartenders whip up serious cocktails while classic black and white films are project on the back wall. It is great for drinks after dinner at the Ordinary or the Darling.

The fact that this hidden karaoke lounge is open seven nights per week makes me love it even more. Book for a private event. Get tipsy. Sing your heart out.



Fancy cocktails with a good looking crew. Last time I was here we spilled several martini glasses and I heard a bottle of champagne break on the floor. Don't be fooled by the lovely surroundings -- this place can get rowdy.

With over 40 taps, this friendly, funky beer bar boasts Charleston’s best selection of "unusual, rare and one-of-a-kind beers from South Carolina and beyond." The menu offers a fresh, local spin on traditional pub food like buffalo oysters and fried chicken sandwiches.
Charleston has no shortage of great breweries. I could have a whole brewery guide alone! Revelry Brewery - with its sprawling rooftop terrace - is a great spot located on the upper peninsula. But my favorite is its tiny sister bar - The Hold - a hole-in-the-wall bar dedicated to sour beers.


The Faculty Lounge is a speakeasy-dance club, where you have to ring the doorbell to get in. This under-the-radar local favorite hosts the best local DJs who spin disco, funk, reggae, and house. The bar is laid back and fun. Buy your friends a round with the affordable cocktail prices.
It’s impossible to not have fun at The Commodore. When the owners reincarnated the old jazz club ‘A Touch of Class,’ they preserved the original leather booths and murals depicting blues musicians. The bar hosts live soul bands on weekends, crowding everyone onto the tiny checkered dance floor late into sweaty nights. When you get hungry, head to the nearby Palace Hotel for late night hot dogs.

With neon lights, live music, and Harley Davidsons parked outside, Royal American reminds me of my barhopping college days in Nashville. I love the grungy vibe of this place, with graffitied bathroom stalls, stiff punch drinks and sticky floors. This lively joint books a steady stream of indie rock bands, so check their line-up.


The Gibbes is Charleston’s premier art museum, housed in a grand Beaux Arts Building that was recently restored and renovated. Its collection features more than 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works, many with a connection to Charleston or the South. After a tour, enjoy a drink alfresco in the back garden reminiscent of Paris.
Redux is a non-profit community art institution that's home to 40 studios of local Charleston artists all creating together under one roof. In its spacious warehouse on upper King Street, the organization hosts diverse exhibitions and education programs for the public in addition to frequent open studio parties. Look at their website calendar for free art exhibitions, artist and curator lecture series, film screenings, and workshops.
The Halsey is the College of Charleston’s contemporary art institution that promotes up-and-coming visual artists and student shows. Check out their website for regularly curated artist lectures, film screenings and receptions.
Owned and managed by my friend, Anne Siegfriend, George Gallery houses work from modern artists, including famed abstract expressionist William Halsey. Anne has a killer curation for colorful, expressive and GOOD art. This is not another tourist gallery brimming with paintings of shrimp boats and marsh scapes.


The Old Slave Mart Museum, located in a former slave auction house on a cobble stone street, tells the story of Charleston's role in the domestic inter-state slave trade from 1856 to 1863. Many of the staff are local African Americans and descendent of slaves. It's a truly powerful educational experience.
Middleton Plantation is a National Historic Landmark and home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the US, covering 65 acres. The Gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round. Be sure to check out the tours to brush up on Charleston history.
A stunning surviving example of Palladian architecture, Drayton Hall attracts design and architecture buffs. It also has a very informative tour about the role of the plantation in the slave trade.

Sullivan's Island has the most beautiful beaches in Charleston. I love going here in the morning for a walk and then grabbing some of my favorite BBQ at Home Team or tacos and margs at Mex 1. If you go on a hot afternoon, there's nothing better than cooling down with gelato at Beardcat.
Folly is the bohemian, funkier sister to Sullivan’s Island. On weekends, this little town fills up with food trucks, surfers, and beach bums. It's easy to rent surfboards out there, especially at McKevlins. If you want proper surf lessons, book with Shaka Surf School, run by local merwoman Jenny Brown. Don't even bother to brush the sand off your feet before digging into some fish tacos at Chico Feo. Chill out with a cold beer at Surf Bar or a pina colada at LowLife Bar.
This 60-acre park in northern part of the Peninsula features sprawling ancient oaks, magnificent flowering trees and broad lawns. Engage your senses on the winding paths and hidden meadows designed by Olmstead, the same firm behind Central Park.
Walk or run over the Ravenel Bridge for magnificent panoramic views of the peninsula and surrounding islands. There is plenty of public parking on the Mt. Pleasant side.


My friend Tyler Page Wright, aka The Lid Lady, is hilarious and knowledgeable as she spouts Charleston history on her two mile walking tour. Her "Walk and Talk" tours are $25 for two hours, available each weekend.
I'm constantly rotating amongst yoga studios, enjoying their unique specialties. For a HARD CORE SWEAT SESSION, I like to get my ass royally kicked at The Works. The Works is the hardest class in town. For deep stretch, slow yin classes, there's Mission. And for power yoga, I sweat it out at Charleston Power Yoga (CPY), which has free community classes on Fridays at 4pm.
Most visitors paddle board and kayak at Shem Creek, but I recommend avoiding it because of boat traffic and poor water quality. If you want to get out into nature, drive a bit further to Isle of Palms to Ocean Fitness. This boutique operation offers great paddle boarding classes — from excursions to fitness classes.
I've heard great things from locals and visitors alike about the following tour companies:
Coastal Expeditions offers kayak tours and trips to Bull Island, mother nature's jewel in Cape Romain.
Look for shark teeth with a bonafide paleontologist on Charleston Fossil Adventures.
Charter a 50 foot sailboat with Charleston Sailing Charters.
Catch the biggest fish of your life with Saltwater Charters, which offers in-shore and offshore expeditions.