We've curated our list to fit a variety of different tastes. So, whether you're a music lover, a food connoisseur, or a city explorer, you'll find something appealing in Asheville, Charleston, or Athens.
Charleston, South CarolinaCharleston, South Carolina, is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It's had lots of time to build its reputation as a romantic city, full of remarkable buildings and opportunities for dining out. If you're seeking an evening out with your partner, you can't go wrong in Charleston.
Start with a one-of-a-kind dinner in downtown Charleston, followed by a private haunted carriage ride through the historic streets. Round out your evening with a visit to a 1920s-themed speakeasy for a cocktail to cap off the night.
Fine dining at Circa 1886
Circa 1886 is known for its hearty cuisine and traditional southern hospitality. Circa 1886 is located in a small carriage house built in the late 1800s. Located in a small carriage house, Circa 1886 traces its roots back to – you guessed it – the late 1800s. It maintains its southern charms and is well-known for delivering scrumptious dishes like Shrimp N' Grits and Cornmeal Crusted Flounder. The menu changes with the seasons, so you should anticipate Charleston's freshest seafood.
Aside from excellent food, you can choose from hundreds of the world's best wines, including those from the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Austria, New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile.
Circa 1886 has been recognized as a leader in the fine dining industry, winning the 2022 Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. The restaurant was also crowned one of the Top 20 Fine Dining restaurants for 2020 by Trip Advisor.
Haunted carriage ride with Old South Carriage Co.
Following a tasty dinner, a haunted carriage ride through the downtown district of Charleston is in order. You'll learn all about the city's storied past, including its dealings with pirates and the ghostly apparitions that appear at the Old Exchange. The tour from Old South Carriage Co. is available year-round, and you can upgrade to a private carriage if you'd prefer privacy and your own tour guide.
Late-night cocktail at Prohibition
Prohibition is one of Charleston's newer cocktail bars. Its decor is in the style of a 1920s speakeasy, but it offers contemporary drinks and appetizers that are sure to please. The beverage director regularly crafts new beverages, including spins on southern classics like the Mississippi Bourbon Punch.
Prohibition frequently hosts live music performances, so you take in Bluegrass or Americana while sipping your drink of choice.
Athens, Georgia, is the home of the University of Georgia and is one of the well-known college towns in the Southeast. Of course, you don’t have to be a student to enjoy a night out here!
Music enthusiasts will find that Athens plays host to several well-known venues and is also the birthplace of major acts, including R.E.M. and Widespread Panic. Make sure you add dinner and drinks to your agenda for a full evening.
Dinner at The Place
The Place is a hotspot for locals and college students seeking a hearty dinner before a night out. The restaurant offers classic southern staples, like Chicken & Waffles and Shrimp & Grits.
Their menu comes from various family recipes passed down through several generations. The Place offers many craft beers on tap, including IPAs, ales, and lagers. You can also choose from a host of cocktails, including the restaurant's famous Don't Worry, Bee Happy.
Tunes at 40 Watt Club
The 40 Watt Club is one of Athens’s oldest concert venues. It first opened in 1979 and was the primary concert locale for several major musical acts, including R.E.M. and of Montreal. Today, it continues to host up-and-coming artists. 40 Watt Club is known for its small setting, with a capacity for a maximum of 500 people.
The small venue allows for a more personal concert experience. If you're lucky, you may catch a show with one of the influential bands of the future.
Craft Beer at The World Famous
The World Famous is tucked away on a side street in Downtown Athens, steps away from the University of Georgia. College students frequently huddle inside the bar, which can only be identified from the outside by a sign proclaiming, "This is it."
The World Famous' cozy atmosphere and small stage make this a great spot to cap off your evening with a cold beer or original cocktail and a friend. The bar is also one of the few places south of Canada where you can dive into poutine - a dish of french fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy.
Asheville, North Carolina
The small city of Asheville, North Carolina, is nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, close to the border of South Carolina and Georgia. While the city has a population of less than 100,000, it is known for its outstanding fine dining and nightlife opportunities.
Couples seeking a romantic dinner can't go wrong with the numerous farm-to-table restaurants, and its nickname of "Beer City USA" comes from the 26 craft breweries dotted throughout the town.
Farm-to-table with The Blackbird Restaurant
The Blackbird is famous for its devotion to fresh ingredients from local farmers and fish from the Carolina coast; its menu changes in line with the seasons. Additionally, the restaurant offers a variety of local microbrews and wines from all over the world.
You'll have your choice of southern fare and traditional meats like grass-fed tenderloin and duck breast. If you prefer seafood, you can't go wrong with the trout and scallop risotto.
The Blackbird also offers a special tasting menu, including six courses and a specialty wine paired with each one.
Throw axes at Axeville
You've played darts and gone bowling, but perhaps you've never tried throwing axes. Axeville offers a unique experience for those willing to try their luck at axe throwing. You'll have a private area where you can build up your skills while sipping local craft beers or ciders.
If you've never tried your luck at the sport, don't worry. Axeville has trained axperts on-site to teach you how to throw safely and accurately.
Intimate concert at Asheville Guitar Bar
Wrap up the night with a visit to Asheville Guitar Bar, which offers regular performances in its small listening room. Music typically includes acoustic, jazz, blues, or swing. Asheville Guitar Bar is meticulously decorated to reflect its music theme, including a built-in replica of a guitar on the ceiling and some rare editions of acoustic and electric guitars.
The décor continues with plush seating, including velvet loveseats, couches, and leather chairs where you can enjoy the evening's performance and relax. Asheville Guitar Bar offers a variety of local microbrews and international wines. They also have a small snack menu if you're feeling hungry.
The regulars at Asheville Guitar Bar are known for being chatty, so don't be surprised if you and your partner make a few new friends!
Enjoy a night out
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, eating at the same restaurants, and consistently frequenting your regular hangouts, it's time to step out of your comfort zone. This month, shake things up and try somewhere new!
And from all of us at Southeast Toyota Finance – make sure you enjoy your night out responsibly. Don’t forget to designate a driver or book a ride service.