12 Cumberland St, Charleston, SC
American, Beer Garden
$$ – $8 to $20 for an entree
We had the opportunity to check out the much-anticipated Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House on their opening weekend.
The much-talked-about restaurant has completely transformed what used to be that bar we all loved but never remembered, Johnson’s, into a awesome little beer garden restaurant. The actual “beer garden” portion is quite small, but they’ve got the authentic-looking Bavarian tables, so I’m sold on liking everything about it.
If you claim to be a beer garden, then you can damn well count on me sampling your most German-sounding dish, in hopes of calling your bluff. At Craftsmen, the CUMBERLAND SAUSAGE ($12) would be that dish. Served atop an awesome rich pile of sweet potato, green apple and red cabbage, it was a very sweet and rich meal. The sausage, ground in-house like the burger, was great; again with a nice hearty, rich flavor. Throw in a little hot mustard, and you’ve got a twist on the Bavarian classic that they pulled off quite well.
McCown tried the FARMHOUSE BURGER ($9) with beef, pork, Idiazabal beer pickles and bibb lettuce. The server explained that, being a blend of 75 beef, 25 pork, it could only be cooked to temperature (guess pork tar tar isn’t desirable?). As burgers go, it had very fresh, beef taste. The pork part really makes it rich and damn near addictive. It is served with great huge, thick potato slices with aioli. Don’t want to exaggerate, but this might be one of the top contenders for best burger in town.
With a plethora of beers on tap and a very inviting rustic and casual atmosphere, Craftsmen is certainly the beer lovers’ answer to Social Wine Bar.
I liked it so much that I tried, unsuccessfully, to return Sunday night. Alas, this is more of a man’s restaurant and McCown had her fill for the time being.
BOTTOM LINE: Listen guys, the draft beer selection is nearly endless, the food hearty and rustic and the tables are, in fact, outside, making this a very legit beer garden right in downtown Charleston.