Texture is an important element of cold soup. At McCrady’s Tavern (2 Unity Alley, Charleston), a chilled carrot soup is served with a circle of peach almond chutney and topped with a dollop of creme fraiche artfully dotted with black pepper and dill ($12). It’s a chunky, creamy and cool soup that has astonishing depth, thanks to the dots of lemon and lovage oil.
McCrady’s is the most famous bar and restaurant on our list, not necessarily because of its history, but because of its current chef-owner, Sean Brock, who’s turned it into one of the finest restaurants in Charleston. But this tavern was actually constructed back in 1778, and it played host to some of Charleston’s most notable high society (George Washington even dined in the Long Room, which is today its private dining space). It passed hands many times after McCrady’s 1801 death and eventually fell into disrepair, but it was fully restored in 1981 and today the space is once again playing host to Charleston’s elite; it’s also just a great place to stop in for a cocktail.