The Royal American is a gritty dive bar with a quirky décor and a love for music. Best-known for their live musical acts, they provide a laid-back setting for those who love to drink, mingle, and listen to the best tunes in the American South.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Alex Temblador Contributing writer
Music has raged, rebelled, soothed, and seethed in the dive bars of the American South for over a hundred years. Served alongside whiskey, beer, and hearty grub, music has seduced locals and travelers in dark-lit bars and brought to light the talent of men and women who share their tunes through the smoky haze of the night.
Royal American stays true to the holy trinity of bars—booze, food, and music
Today, the Royal American in Charleston continues that tradition in a 50’s era building that once housed the Ole Charleston Forge which crafted ironwork for all of Charleston.
Set next to a train track, The Royal American has maintained the industrial, worn-in vibe and added some quirky elements like stained glass church windows, a jukebox, old photo booth, and a vintage painting of a naked blonde woman you can’t look away from. At night, the bar’s interior and its assemblage of antique and vintage pieces are lit by red and green Christmas lights.
Outside, the patio area is rustic and outfitted with a dart board to test your aim, as well as some shading for visitors who want to sit outside in the heat of Chucktown summer days.
American Royal does it right, and the imbibes are as loud as an act on stage. The team serves up a large selection of beer but are primarily beloved for their housemade cinnamon whiskey and 32 oz punch bowls filled with rum, bourbon, or vodka over crushed ice—rock n’ roll to say the least.
Visitors often need something to offset the alcohol, and thanks to Royal American’s extensive food menu of burgers, beef jerky, muffaletta sandwiches, wings, disco fries, and Philly Cheesesteaks, any visitor will leave full and happy.
Royal American stays true to the holy trinity of bars—booze, food, and music—with live acts by local, regional, and national artists each week. The bar can hold up to 320 people, allowing for big concerts. However, if you’re just looking for a laid-back night with a small musical act, beer, and chow, you can find that most nights, too.
Visit the Royal American for beer and beats and just know if you pass the train tracks—you’ve gone too far, and you can find your way back by the tunes drifting on the Charleston wind.
The beauty is in the balance, The Royal American can be a low-key hang, or a rockin’ night—just pick the day of the week you prefer
Fan of day beers in the heat? Bar is open at 11am for a hearty lunch and cold drinks
House-made beef jerky and a 32oz punch might be just what the doctor ordered in Charleston
It’s in the air, this bar/venue feels real, feels free, feels truly American
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