"Seven Gay Wonders of the World 2018: Charleston"
EDGE returns with our fourth annual "Seven Gay Wonders of the World" -- our yearly where-to-go-next guide for all those with serious wanderlust. For 2018, we've ditched calorie-counting and workouts for pure indulgence.
Southern charm reigns supreme in Charleston, South Carolina. With an endearing vibe that echoes New Orleans without the high-octane energy of Bourbon Street (though King Street can give it a run for its money, especially when Trident Technical College and the College of Charleston are in session), Charleston is a Lowcountry Boil just waiting to be relished.
There's plenty of eating and drinking to be had, from well-established locales to up-and-comers. Be sure to scope out regional highlights like catfish stew, crabcakes, oysters, and barbecue (ask locals -- everyone has a favorite and they're not afraid to share an opinion).
History and culture abound, too, and if you know where to look, there's an emerging LGBTQ scene, too.
Five-star luxury awaits at Belmond Charleston Place, a spectacular hotel in the heart of the city's historic district. With a gorgeous 12-foot crystal chandelier and Georgian open arm staircase as its centerpiece, the luxe property features 434 rooms and suites, furnished with classic details and a soft palette evoking 17th-century grandeur.
For an even more distinct level of service, the Club Floor's 72 rooms include afternoon tea, evening cordials, and a personal assistant who can arrange bespoke experiences or send you into the streets with a complimentary artist kit to capture the allure of the local architecture and gardens.
And while there are plenty of dining options around town, be sure to book a table at the on-site Charleston Grill, overseen by Executive Chef Michelle Weaver, General Manager Mickey Bakst, and Sommelier Rick Rubel.
Surprisingly bustling (in a good way) for a hotel restaurant, the dining room's richly stained wood paneling, swathed curtains and coffered ceilings give way to live music, hearty conversations, and an eclectic menu from Weaver that spans four different styles: Southern, Pure, Lush and Cosmopolitan.
Once you get past the culinary disparity, mixing and matching a multi-course meal yields tantalizing results with highlights such as flounder and shrimp bean ragu with Carolina rice middlins and sherry, or seared foie gras with crepes, blackberry preserves and port reduction, which has become a cult favorite dessert for some guests.
At over 10,000 bottles, the wine cellar is valued at more than $500,000 with plenty of options for any budget, including four champagnes by the glass. Cheers to that.