About The Darling Oyster Bar

The Darling Oyster Bar is a casual seafood restaurant and raw bar. The Darling's menu features fresh seafood and creative ingredients, served with an approachable style. The Darling Oyster Bar’s atmosphere promotes comfortable hospitality; with a lively, neighborhood feel.

Anchoring The Darling Oyster Bar is a stunning raw bar showcasing fresh, made-to-order seafood. Guests can enjoy the lively raw bar scene while overlooking historic King Street from The Darling’s iconic storefront. The Darling raw bar also offers full service dining.

Located in the heart of Upper King Street, The Darling Oyster Bar is housed in a 115-year old historic building that enjoys a storied past. A mix of the original 1900’s reclaimed wood, whole exposed brick walls, classic tile, antique molding, and nautical theme combine to create a setting that is all at once convivial, charming, and comfortable.

513 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Monday- Thursday, 4pm to 10pm; Bar open late
Friday- Saturday, 4pm to 11pm; Bar to 2am
Sunday, 11am to 10pm; Bar open late

Cross Street:
Morris Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 641-0821

Website:
http://www.thedarling.com/

Parking Details:
There is a private lot for our customers

Executive Chef:
Joe Dimaio

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wine

The Darling Oyster Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.4

ambience

4.4

value

4.1

Noise

Moderate

86% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (59)
Special Occasion (45)
Bar Seating (42)
See All
Fit for Foodies (41)
Handcrafted Cocktails (41)
Fun (40)
Hot Spot (40)
Local Ingredients (36)
Casual (35)
Good for Anniversaries (30)
Creative Cuisine (29)
Good for Birthdays (29)
Neighborhood Gem (27)
Happy Hour (27)
Vibrant Bar Scene (25)
Good for Groups (22)
Authentic (20)
Worth the Drive (20)
Business Meals (18)
Cozy (18)
People Watching (16)
Great for Brunch (14)
Pre/post Theatre (14)
Romantic (12)
Comfort Food (10)
Sunday Lunch (10)
Quiet Conversation (9)
Healthy (9)
Late-night Find (8)
Great for Lunch (7)
Tapas (6)
Notable Wine List (5)
Paleo Friendly (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Gluten Free Options (3)
Scenic View (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Live Sports (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Seasonal (2)
Spicy (2)
Kid-friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Vegan (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
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598 reviews
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vip
 (Charleston)·Dined a day ago

They sat us at a high top table right next to the bar, people kept bumping into our table. This table was too close to the bar. The Raw Oysters were very good. My wife stated that her fried shrimp and oysters were okay, shrimp were better than the oysters. She also stated the drink she had was very good. The beer recommended by our waitress was very good. The Lobster and King crab roll was not very good. For 24 dollars they need to go to Maine and see how a Lobster roll should be made. I was very disappointed. The most disappointing part was the seating that we were giving. I do not think we would come back as a couple , table size is too small when a oyster trey covers the entire table.

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food2
ambience2
service4
value2

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 3 days ago

Clam chowder over fries (new poutine) and beets with scallops were great. But everything was heavily salted - scallops a little over done, shrimp fry basket over fried. Service was outstanding, tho!

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food3
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Indiana)·Dined 5 days ago

Great local seafood selection; we had the shrimp and grits and scallops; both dishes prepared in an exceptionally good manner; service was excellent as well; reservations recommended

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Casual, Bar Seating, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 5 days ago

My wife and I were traveling to Charleston and it was recommended that we eat here. It was fabulous , service was beyond exceptional.

Tags: Healthy, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Houston)·Dined 6 days ago

the menu looked great - the place looked cute too, the food was not what we expected. they could do much better.

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food2
ambience4
service2
value2

 
·Dined 6 days ago

server brought wrong food and drinks took awhile to get

Tags: Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service1
value2

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Love the Darling - try it, you won't be disappointed

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Can never go wrong with the shrimp cocktail here and the Manhattan! Food is so awesome!

Tags: Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Hot Spot, People Watching, Fun, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 14, 2017

Great service and very accommodating. Been before and will go back again.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Cozy, Local Ingredients, People Watching, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 12, 2017

The food was not good. Not well presented. We will not go back.

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food1
ambience2
service2
value2

 
·Dined on October 11, 2017

We have been before and the food was good so we were interested in having family members join us. Our waitress couldn't have been more pleasant. We are not difficult to please but all three of our group who had the fried oysters said they were awful. Heavy, dry and doughy. Would hardly know there was an oyster buried in there somewhere. The crab taglietelle was so-so, also dry and fairly tasteless. While our server was great, others were assigned to deliver our meals, and the plates arrived sporadically, nowhere near the same time. So, by the time the last of us was served, the first to be served was half finished. Poor coordination.

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food2
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 11, 2017

Our appetizers and sides were WAY too salty, we couldn't even finish them.
I ordered the "specialty" oysters and they were literally the size of my little finger nail. Very disappointing. There are so many other good restaurants within a stones throw that I would recommend over DOB.

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food1
ambience4
service4
value1

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 10, 2017

We enjoyed our dinner at The Darling overall. The food was good, not spectacular but solid with one exception. I ordered the Shrimp and Flounder Fry Basket as my main course. The Shrimp were very good and sufficient in quantity. However, the Flounder came as a single relatively small piece that looked exactly like a Mrs. Paul's frozen fish plank...and tasted pretty much like it too. This review lost a food star on that note alone. Otherwise, I would definitely rate this as a place to go for good local low-country seafood.

Tags: Bar Seating, Comfort Food, Local Ingredients, Authentic, Cozy
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
·Dined on October 9, 2017

Great, affordable, Elegant restaurant. Loved it! Inventive menu, cooked, lots of choices.

Tags: Special Occasion, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Casual, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Excellent food! "darling" ambiance!

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food5
ambience5
service3
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 8, 2017

The food is excellent. Get the oyster shooters and the Paloma.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 8, 2017

Food was terrible! One of my guests left the table and was sick due to a bad oyster. Very overpriced for the food quality! Could never recommend this restaurant, very disappointing!!!!!

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food1
ambience2
service2
value1

 
·Dined on October 8, 2017

Service was outstanding, as were the drinks. Oysters and creole shrimp appetizers were superb. The fried baskets (we had one of each as it turned out) were overdone. Otherwise, a terrific place.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Great food and great service! Favorite restaurant in charleston!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 7, 2017

The only redeeming thing were the clams we had as an appetizer. Other than that the shrimp and grits were swimming in gravy, the pork chop was thin and overcooked, we asked if the chicken sandwich could be grilled and they couldn't because the waiter said they only fried it. Needless to say we will not return. This food is mediocre at best.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee
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food2
ambience5
service4
value1

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Our server Brittany was awesome!!! The food was fantastic. We got the creole shrimp and we were amazed!!!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 6, 2017

Great service and five stars for the oysters. Just go eat lots of oysters!
( they also have other menu items, but if you like oysters you will be in heaven)

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Des Moines)·Dined on October 5, 2017

We decided to graze our way through Charleston and did cocktails and appetizers here before our dinner reservation. It was outstanding! Best shrimp cocktail I've ever had and their oyster selection was incredible.

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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on October 4, 2017

Food was great. Service was solid, but server was pretentious, arrogant and conceited. Could work on training all the staff from host/hostess to bar staff to servers on customer service and simply being nice.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Healthy, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Gluten Free Options, Vibrant Bar Scene, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service3
value4

 
·Dined on October 4, 2017

Awesome meal. Awesome service. Going back tonight!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Springfield)·Dined on October 4, 2017

Service great. Food was great. Noise a little above my preference but for the locale it was a great experience.

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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 1, 2017

Great prices at happy hour! Excellent cheeseburger and bean mix. Attentive server. Only problem was the curtain to the kitchen was open and my view was of the dish crates. Please close the curtain.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee, Quiet Conversation, Kid-friendly
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 1, 2017

My brother, his girlfriend, my boyfriend and I made reservations because we wanted to try a new restaurant. The ambience is awesome the place looks very trendy, however the food is TERRIBLE. I had the fried basket with oysters and shrimp. The food tasted as though they cooked it in old, burnt oil and then doused it in old bay
to cover up the burn taste. My brother originally had the shrimp and grits and that to... well... terrible... Charleston has a lot of other wonderful seafood restaurants downtown. I suggest you check them out...

Tags: Happy Hour
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food2
ambience5
service2
value3

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on October 1, 2017

The restaurant looks really nice but the food was sub par. The menu was heavy handed I was disappointed with the selection. Cocktails were nice. Definitely not worth a return

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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on September 30, 2017

My husband and I dined here while in Charleston and it was delicious! They had a lot of good oyster options and the staff was knowledgeable.

Tags: Fun, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 27, 2017

A wasted special night out - had reservations but sat us on the dark unappealing side. Should have gone to the Ordiary which we always enjoy. Shrimp - small - nothing special. Lousy wine list . Server was nice. With so many outstanding restaurants & so little time I would not recommend the darling

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food1
ambience2
service4
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 25, 2017

We picked this restaurant because is was highly recommended on Yelp and it was walking distance from our hotel. We were also looking for good seafood. I had a shrimp cocktail and clam chowder. The shrimp were fresh but really small. Loved the cocktail sauce. The clam chowder was ordinary but tasted better after liberally doused with pepper. We also had the lobster roll which was very "fishy" tasting. I probably would not go back.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 25, 2017

We loved our meal at Darling when visiting Charleston. Food was fun and delicious. Just wish we were in the main room which is so charming but that only means we need to go back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Fun, Good for a Date, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on September 24, 2017

Nice little bar style restaurant, the food was good but I wouldn't rate it any better than that. I would go again for a cocktail and oysters but would leave it at that.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

 
·Dined on September 24, 2017

The food was PHENOMENAL! As a visitor to Charleston it was a great introduction to the huge food scene the city has to offer. My friends and I loved the decor of the restaurant and the friendliness of the staff. We were there for brunch and the menu is drool-worthy! So many great choices! We weren't disappointed and neither will you!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Casual, Fun, Great for Brunch, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 24, 2017

I wish I could say I would be back because the scallops were phenomenal. Thank you Chef! That is were I stop with anything positive to say.

We were greated at the door by three girls chatting together...Which is fine , but it took longer then it should have to acknowledge us. We walked in just before 9:15 and were told "We should be able to seat you at 9:15. Please go to the bar if you would like." Ok, now we can see serval open tables , but we don't know y'alls schedule and took that as those belonged to someone else. 9:15 came and went and I decided to check in with the three chatty girls in case they had forgotten us. After waiting a few seconds for them to stop and acknowledge me again they told me to close my tap and they would seat us... in one of the many empty two person tables that were clean empty and waiting when we walked in. Side note- these tables are really to small for dinner. We actually decided to share a couple plates instead of ordering what I wanted because I had no idea where the plates were going to fit comfortably. Now the waiter comes, I tell him I am interested in the oysters it is what I have been looking forward to all night, but I am not sure what to choose. Now I understand that apparently some of the abbreviations listed on the menu are common knowledge, apparently I am ignorant. When I told this story to friends they all agreed I should have known what they stood for , but if I asked the waiter for help I most definitely should not have gotten a response like, "they are listed on the menu." He stared at the menu in my hands and I looked at him as if he was going to continue with suggestions, but he never gave them even as I chuckled realizing he wasn't going to be help. This is where I had to convince my husband not to leave. This was our wedding anniversary, we were kid free and I want my damn oysters so he, like the great husband he is gave in to me and we stayed. We ate and left service was average after that.

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food5
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on September 23, 2017

The food was outstanding, and they have oyster varieties you can't find anywhere else in Charleston. The ambience in the bar area was excellent, but the side room dining looked like backstage in a theater. The real problem was the staff. The hostess was snarky, abrupt and unhelpful. The waiter started out the same, but quickly changed his tune when I pointed out an error in my order. (He also seemed to be responsible for more tables than was comfortable. When another server joined, he became more friendly).

I would recommend a customer service re-train, and a staffing analysis.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience2
service2
value3

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on September 23, 2017

The food was outstanding, we had Oysters, Clams, Cerviche, Trigger Fish, Shrimp and Grits and Pasta. Everyone enjoyed their meals.
The waitress was very cold. She had no personality. Don't know why she is working in a restaurant and dealing with customers. Unfortunately that brought my rating of Darling down to three stars.

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food5
ambience5
service1
value4

 
·Dined on September 22, 2017

Apps were great!! Enjoyed the roasted octopus salad and the fries with cheese and clam chowder on them. Has shrimp and grits entree with crispy fried brussels. Overall dish was good but not memorable.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on September 22, 2017

Excellent in all areas ! Had a great time , food , service , and ambiance all top notch. We will absolutely be back !!

Tags: Casual, Tasting Menu, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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