There are many good old neighborhood dive bars in the CSRA, but Aiken, SC has most of my favorites. Sometimes you need a friendly, “everybody knows your name” atmosphere to shake off the worries of the world, but it isn’t always easy to locate those kinds of places if you’re new in town or just visiting for a few days.
I am a web designer, and there are many times, I need to get as far away from the computer as I possibly can, and after sitting at a desk dealing with a machine all day, I want a comfortable environment filled with friendly faces, good eats and drinks, and maybe a little live music as the evening progresses.
Now … we’re referring to local dives here. The term dive does not mean lowly or seedy as some people seem to think, but it refers to a place, usually a pub or a tavern, that has been in the neighborhood for many years, and is a popular hangout where the locals like to dive in. If you are new to the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area), or are planning to be in the near future, you might want to keep these places in mind.
The Red Pepper, in Aiken, SC, is a wonderful place to pull up to the full service bar and chat with friends, the bartender, and/or watch some TV while the day’s events roll of your back. Dinner time in this charming restaurant is a casual fine dining experience with a wide variety of appetizers and entrées that are out of this world delicious! Thursday through Saturday, be ready to take in some of the finest live music the Aiken area has to offer! You’ll hear the smooth jazzy sounds of the Mike Frost Band, and the classic rock sounds of groups like Lo Down Brown and Anybody’s Guess. The Red Pepper is located within the Centre South Shopping Center, and has ample parking space.
The Red Pepper is located at: 752-A Silver Bluff Rd., Aiken, SC 29803
Phone: 803.649.9915 www.redpepperaiken.com
Business Hours: Tues – Sat 11:00am to 11:00pm
The Polo Tavern in Hotel Aiken, has been a popular hotspot since its renovation in 2001! The hotel, built in 1898, is located in beautiful downtown Aiken on historic Richland Avenue surrounded by shops, restaurants, art galleries, and all of the finest lifestyle fun that makes up this city. The bar, known as the Polo Tavern, is a popular place to stop and enjoy a drink or two. Here you have the option of staying inside while you enjoy the company of others, or you may enjoy the outdoor Tiki Tavern. Both bars are open 7 days a week, and if you need a place to stay, you’re already at a fine full service hotel! You’ll find the Polo & Tiki Taverns really jumping on Wednesdays with Karaoke, and on Friday and Saturday nights when they have live music by local groups from all genres.
The Polo & Tiki Taverns in Hotel Aiken are located at: 235 Richland Ave. West, Aiken, SC 29801
Phone: 803.648.4265 www.hotelaiken.com
Tavern Hours: Mon – Sat 3:00pm to 2:00am, Sun 4:00pm to 2:00am
Ample parking nearby
Aiken Brewing Company is a little more than a neighborhood bar and restaurant. It is also a beer brewery! You can pop into “the brew pub” as the locals call it, order lunch or dinner, and you’ll also find a large assortment of beer from the bar. They carry not only the finest domestic and import brews, but also a nice variety, including seasonal flavors of their own tasty brews. Located in historic downtown Aiken, the Aiken Brewing Company is an easy stop after work or shopping.
Aiken Brewing Company is located at: 140 Laurens St. SW, Aiken, SC 29801
Phone: 803.502.0707 www.aikenbrewingcompany.com
Business Hours: Mon – Wed 11:00am to 12:00am, Thurs – Sat 11:00am to 2:00am, Closed Sunday
Ample parking nearby
Playoff’s Sports Bar & Grill in downtown Aiken is a great place to sit down with friends, have a burger and fries, and a few drinks while enjoying the big screen TVs in full surround sound. Playoff’s is a quaint little bar enclosed in red mason brick walls under high ceilings with a loft residing over the bar area. When the weather allows, which is most of the year in SC, there are several tables outside with full service available during lunch and dinner hours. Friday and Saturday nights, Playoff’s is an energetic place to be when live music kicks off around 9:30pm!
Playoff’s Sports Bar & Grill is located at: 205 Richland Avenue, Aiken, SC 29801
Phone: 803.648.1028 Business Hours: Sun – Sat 11:00am to 2:00am