“How ya doing darlin’?” I hear as I slide onto a bar stool, an Irish lilt hanging in the air. It’s time for a little Prohibition.
Mention that Prohibition on King Street is just about to celebrate its year anniversary, and you’re likely to hear: “They’ve only been open a year? It feels much longer than that.” Walk by on any night, and you’re likely to see the place hopping.
Prohibition is officially a Charleston, South Carolina, “go-to.”
Now to be fair, the Holy City has always had it’s share of watering holes, both during the Prohibition era (a little constitutional amendment that Charlestonians were often apt to ignore) and not. But this modern spot is unique here, a high-volume craft cocktail bar inspired by the Dead Rabbit in NYC: It has live music throughout the week, two bars, an extensive food menu that showcases local ingredients, an ultra-designed space full of contrasting textures, and not so much a Southern drawl as an Irish brogue.
Prohibition boasts five Irish-born employees as well as one of the biggest portfolios of Irish Whiskey in South Carolina. They even carry Green Spot (that is, until it’s gone), a rare whiskey even in Ireland. And a lot of the cocktails employ Irish ingredients.
Ireland natives/ co-owner James Walsh and Bar Manager Jim McCourt have lived and worked together previously, and when it came to opening a place together, the two worked on a vision of what it could be. The purpose has always been to entertain—from the music to the cocktails to the personalities behind the bar—and to have plenty of people working and serving so everybody has fun.
“With the passion here, we have something special,” Walsh says. “We always wanted this to be a fun place for an evening, not really for the college crowd enjoying their first experiences.”
To that end, Prohibition has a 23-year-old and up patron policy, and what’s also unusual about the place is that it has such a varying mix of people on any given night. I come to swing dance sometimes, or taste barrel-aged Fernet or bring people from out of town, but it’s always welcoming. And I always find a seat, no matter the crowd.
So maybe it’s time you heard, “How ya doing darlin’?” too.
Editor’s Note: Despite the recent fire department visit to Prohibition, the bar is perfectly fine. It was only smoke and the bar reopened the next day. “How ya doing darling?” never missed a beat.