The Purple OnionThe Purple Onion in downtown Saluda is a longstanding favorite for many reasons, including variety and quality of ingredients, the majority of which are procured from local farms. Make a dinner trip on a Thursday or Saturday to catch live music while treating yourself to the unbeatable Apple Brandy Farms grilled ribeye with rosemary potatoes.
$$, L, D, SBR. 16 Main St, Saluda. (828) 749-1179, purpleonionsaluda.com
Coffee UndergroundCoffee Underground boasts a wide selection of specialty coffees, hot chocolate, and adult libations. If you’re craving more substantial fare, choose from a splendid breakfast-anytime option, sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, and desserts. And don’t miss live music, open mic comedy, improv, and more in the theater room.
$-$$, B, L, D, SBR. 1 E Coffee St, Greenville. (864) 298-0494, coffeeunderground.biz
Chicora AlleyChicora Alley’s Caribbean riff on traditional Mexican and Southern fare offers signature crab cakes or mile-high nachos, shrimp and chicken burritos, quesadillas, and more. With a Falls Park view or patio seat, you won’t leave unsatisfied. This eclectic restaurant also serves as a music venue in addition to providing private party and catering options.
$-$$$, L, D, SBR. Closed Monday. 608-B S Main St. (864) 232-4100, chicoraalley.com
Stomping GroundsLisa Suber’s café has an intimacy and warmth most coffee shops can only artificially recreate. Sure, the bare brick walls and local artwork help liven up the former furniture consignment shop, and the locally-sourced food has its roots in the community, but when the staff greets you by name, it’s clear that this kind of neighborhood vibe can’t be impersonated. Bring your own guitar or banjo for the Old Time Jam with Bob Buckingham the first and third Tuesday of each month from 7–9pm.
$, B, L, D. Closed Sunday. 208 Trade St, Greer. (864) 801-1555, stompinggroundsgreer.com
Rhythm & BrewsFood and music lovers waste no time getting down to business at this Greer watering hole. The stage features live acts such as Journey and Bon Jovi tribute bands and the menu pays homage to music legends with items like Mozzarella Styx, Onion Ringos, and Bad to the Bone-less Wings.
$, D. Closed Sunday & Monday. 213 Trade St, Greer. (864) 877-1990, rhythmbrews.com
Southern Culture Kitchen & Bar
Industrial meets organic with handcrafted farm tables, rustic, bronze chandeliers, and reclaimed wood beams throughout the dining room. Expect an uptown spin on comfort food classics like tater tots served in a parchment-lined Chinese takeout container with pimiento cheese fondue. For something a little sweeter, don’t miss the weekend brunch. The apple-stuffed French toast (adorned with melted goat cheese, maple syrup, and applewood bacon) will send you into a contented slumber. Frequent performances by singer/songwriters with Americana and blues influences make this spot the ultimate Southern experience.
$$, L (Mon–Fri), D (Mon–Sat), SBR. 2537 N Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville. (864) 552-1998, southernculturekitchenandbar.com
Due South CoffeeA destination worthy of a trek, tucked away in resurgent Taylors Mill, the interior is a tribute to the mill and its artisan inhabitants—from the vintage lighting, polished concrete bar, and repurposed cable-spool tables. A high window behind the bar casts barista and espresso alike in reverent sunshine—a fitting spotlight for immaculate espresso. Return trips are a must, as a rotating showcase of creative mixology and live music means there’s always something new in store.
$, B, L, D. 250 Mill St, Taylors. (617) 869-9512, duesouthcoffee.com
Quest Brewing CoCommitted to producing premium brews while minimizing their environmental impact, Quest uses malt from Asheville and Greenville-roasted coffee beans to also support local economies. Now you can support your craft beer enthusiasm and the sustainability movement with a single sip. Try one of QBC’s signature brews, like the Kaldi Coffee Stout or the Ellida IPA, on Thursday nights with food trucks and live music to boot.
Tues & Wed, 4–8pm; Thurs & Fri, 4–9pm; Sat, 12–9pm. Tours: Sat, hourly from 1–4pm. Closed Sun & Mon. 55 Airview Dr, Greenville. (864) 272-6232, questbrewing.com
Nu-Way Lounge & RestaurantThe Nu-Way Lounge’s dive bar atmosphere might not give the impression that it has gastropub quality and creativity in the kitchen, but Food Network Magazine named the bar home of South Carolina’s best burger in 2009. Enjoy their signature burger topped with pimiento cheese alongside live music on Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights.
$, L, D. Closed Sunday. 373 E Kennedy St, Spartanburg. (864) 582-9685
The Velo FellowCozy in a funky way, the Velo Fellow is a hip pub under the Mellow Mushroom. Burgers and sandwiches form the core of the menu, which includes fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and—in a twist—tofu Marsala. In addition to the craft brews on tap, the Velo Fellow offers traditional absinthe service, complete with a silver-plated brouilleur. It’s a hard-to-resist hangout—especially when there’s weekly music involved, from live bands to Velo regular DJ King Harold.
$-$$$, L, D, SBR. 1 Augusta St, Ste 126, Greenville. (864) 242-9296, www.thevelofellow.com
Grille 33 at the ChannelAlthough Grille 33 has moved from Main Street to Haywood Road, the menu remains comfortingly familiar. The Sammy Doughnut burger, which is topped with American cheese and candied pepper bacon before it’s sandwiched between a glazed donut, has been a consistent Fall for Greenville People’s Choice Award winner, while the Haywood (with hot sauce, blue cheese, and fried jalapeños) commemorates the restaurant’s move. And while The Channel no longer exists in its original form,
Grille 33 still offers live music Fridays and Saturdays after 9pm. $-$$, L, D. 535 Haywood Rd. (864) 552-1970, grille33.com
The Bohemian CafeTreat your taste buds and ears at the Bohemian Café, side-by-side with the legendary Horizon Records music store, which often hosts in-store performances. This eclectic café with an international flair serves up daily specials for curry and pasta. For Sunday brunch, treat yourself to a Bloody Mary bar or a deluxe mimosa with orange, grapefruit, or cranberry juice.
$$, L, D, SBR. Closed Monday. 2 W Stone Ave, Greenville. (864) 233-0006, thebohemiancafe.com
Jack n' Diane's Dueling Piano BarHolyfield vs. Tyson. Ali vs. Frazier. Piano vs. Piano? Taking up residence in the former home of the Brown Street Club, Greenville’s only dueling entertainment bar pits two pianos against each other in a battle of the ivories. Of course, it comes with a lively menu to match, featuring specialty cocktails like the John Cougar Melon and the Fresh Peach of Bel-Air. As for eats, the menu showcases a signature peanut butter burger (it’s exactly what it sounds like), chicken salad wrap, and freshly-fried mozzarella sticks.
$$, D (Wed–Sat). 115 N Brown St, Ste 100, Greenville. (864) 509-6414, jackndianes.com
Mac’s Speed ShopAcross from Liberty Taproom, Mac’s looks to be family-friendly for both the Harley-set as well as the post-Drive-baseball crowd with plenty of brisket, ribs, and beer-can chicken. “Start your engine” with a plate of Tabasco fried pickles, washed down with one of the 50 craft beers on tap. Daily drink specials and live music every Sunday make it a go-to spot for winding down the weekend.
$-$$$, L, D. 930 S Main St, (864) 239-0286, macsspeedshop.com
The Nose DiveCity bar meets corner bistro at Nose Dive. A wide range of beer (local, domestic, international), wine, and an ambitious menu make it hard not to dive in. Look for an elevated gastropub experience for every meal, from golden tilefish with shrimp bisque to a customized grits bar at brunch. Check the Nose Dive’s site for updates on live music and events.
$-$$$, L, D, SBR. 116 S Main St, Greenville. (864) 373-7300, thenosedive.com
O-Cha Tea BarA trip to O-CHA will have you considering tea in an entirely new light. This sleek space, located right on the river in Falls Park, specializes in bubble tea—flavored teas with chewy tapioca pearls. For a more intense cooling experience in the summer, partake in the mocha ice cream. The dessert combines the chewy Japanese confection (a soft, pounded sticky rice cake) with ice cream fillings in fun flavors: tiramisu, green tea chocolate, mango, and more. Bring your friends on Friday nights to enjoy O-CHA Unplugged, a live music series from 8–9pm.
$, B, L, D. 300 River St, Ste 122. (864) 283-6702, ochateabaronline.com
Smiley's Acoustic CafeWhen Mike and Chana Fletcher took over Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe in October 2012, they had only one goal in mind: keep the music on the forefront and the restaurant in the backseat. However, much of the menu is still music to foodies’ ears. Items range from casual appetizers like panko-battered Folly Beach Shrimp and Hot-yaki chicken wings to more upscale options like bourbon-brined stuffed pork chops.
$$, D. Closed Sunday. 111 Augusta St, Greenville. (864) 282-8988, smileysacousticcafe.com