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182 East Bay St.

  • Sun - Wed 5 pm - 12 am
  • Thu - Fri 5 pm - 2 am
  • Sat 3 pm - 2 am

Aug. 24

The Gin Joint opened its doors five years ago this month. It’s been an amazing five years, and celebrations are in order! In honor of one half of a decade of serving proper cocktails, we’re throwing back the menu and offering you our most ordered cocktails and provisions returning from our very first menustarting Tuesday, August 25 and running throughout the week. We’ve included a list of our original cocktails and offerings at the end of our post, but first — we wanted to let you in on a few fun facts about our opening night and the first five years of our existence.

Did you know…

The space has been in the family. Before The Gin Joint opened its doors, the space housed Robert’s of Charleston, a Charleston institution for fine dining owned and operated by Robert Dickson, who is The Gin Joint owner MariElena Raya’s father. MariElena grew up in the restaurant, working her way up from dishwasher to Executive Chef. When her father, Robert, retired and closed the restaurant, she and her husband Joe knew they would take over the space —  Enter, The Gin Joint.

The Gin Joint’s soft opening was Thursday, August 17, 2010. A week later, 5 years ago to date, we were in full swing serving pre-prohibition era cocktails and sophisticated bar snacks. Much to our delight, we were simply too busy that an official grand opening celebration couldn’t be planned.

Just minutes before we opened the doors, our staff had paintbrushes in hand finishing The Gin Joint sign you now see flanking the East Bay St. courtyard. We hung the sign while it was still wet. Thank goodness for a clear forecast on opening day!

288_IMG_7642_McBee Photography

Our very first bartender was Mick Matricciano. Name sound familiar? Mick and two of his friends now own Cannonborough Beverage Co., the Charleston soda company.


In five years, we have used at least 156,000 lbs. of hand cut ice in cocktails. The perfectly cut, crystal clear ice you find in glass is hand cut with a chain saw from 300 lb. blocks of purified ice frozen in a Clinebell freezer.



We haven’t missed a single day of making pretzels since we’ve opened. That’s 1800 days of hand rolling our house pretzels.

The Gin Joint menu was determined by space limitations. Without space a deep fryer in the kitchen and extensive space to prepare entire plates and meals, the menu was developed with those elements in mind, making a fun, sophisticated collection of bar snacks that were made in house daily.

Ringleaders Joe and MariElena Raya have had quite the journey! Since opening The Gin Joint in 2010, they’ve expanded their cocktail-making adventures to include two lines of products based on the same premise as The Gin Joint, bringing great cocktails to people. The first, Bittermilk, a line of “just add booze” craft cocktail mixers based off of classic cocktails, launched in 2013. The second line, Tippleman’s, is a line of bar syrups created for bartenders to easily introduce more complex flavors into cocktails, which was introduced just this year. You’ll find both lines of products sold here.

Chef Kayla Bennett was part of the small opening crew. Kayla started her career with ringleaders Joe and MariElena Raya at Robert’s before The Gin Joint opened, was one of the few original Gin Joint employees and is now chef and managing the kitchen, bringing you the pickled shrimp, pretzels and ah—ma-zing desserts you love.


You’ll still find original staples on the menu. House Soft Pretzels, Pad Thai Popcorn, Gin Joint Beef Jerky*, and the Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar. (* Others have followed suit with the beef jerky. You’ll even find Gin Joint style beef jerky on Edmund’s Oast’s menu.)



Original Cocktails
COGNAC AND SNAP [Ansac Cognac, Lemon, Sugar, Claret]
THE IMPROVED COCKTAIL [Rittenhouse Rye, Maraschino, Absinthe, Demerara, Angostura Bitters]
POQUITO PICANTE [Gin, Cilantro, Cucumber, Lime, Cointreau, Habanero)

Original Provisions
FINGERLING POTATO SKINS [Aged Cheddar, Bacon, Sour Cream]
SPICY MERGUEZ SAUSAGE [Seared Polenta, Caramelized Bussels]
HEN IN A POT [Chicken Confiet, Mirepoix, Dumplings, Sweet Corn Velouté]

(We will still offer the full menu during our throwback week as well. Click here to view the menu.)


May. 20

We are pumped for this weekend. Not only is it Memorial Day weekend (we’re open!), but we’re also partnering with Copper & Kings and Hawthorne Beverage Group to host an awesome cocktails and rock ‘n’ roll event they’re doing across the country. This Saturday, Copper & King’s The MixT&pe is hitting Charleston!

In different cities across the U.S., bartenders choose from their musical influences to create unique cocktails with Copper & Kings American Brandy. These drinks are inspired by a particular artist and album. It’s rock ‘n’ roll paired with cocktails at some of the top bars, featuring top bartenders.

For The Mixt&pe: Charleston, James Bolt (The Gin Joint’s bar manager) and Josh Durr from Hawthorne Beverage Group will be behind the bar mixing up cocktails inspired by and created specifically to match the music of the evening — Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” We’re turning it back to the 80’s and serving up a special menu of cocktails – just for the night!

Here’s The MixT&pe menu for the night:
By James Bolt, inspired by Michael Jackson – Thriller
P.Y.T Trouble [Copper & Kings Blanche Absinthe, Lemon, Riesling, Genepi, Rhubarb, Herbs de Provence]
Forty Eyes [Copper & Kings Craft Brandy, Corn Husk, Black Eyed Pea Dem, Montenegro, Rum]
By Josh Durr, inspired by Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.
Cover Me [Craft Brandy, Rye, Fino Sherry, Lime, Sugar, Thyme]
Dead Mans Town [Immature Brandy, Tequila, Salers, Vermouth, Lime Zest]

You’re invited – so join us on Saturday, May 23 starting at 8:00 pm. RSVP to Copper & King’s Facebook event or simply drop in The Gin Joint on Saturday. We’ll be serving up from our normal menu as well, but you’ll only find our Mixt&pe cocktails this Saturday.

We’re partnering with Copper And Kings this weekend for a special event where we’ll be mixing cocktails inspired by…

Posted by The Gin Joint on Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We’re counting down to the BB&T Charleston Wine  + Food Festival. In just 7 days, on Saturday, March 7, Wine + Food Festival is hosting a concert and cocktail event, On the Rocks (‘N Roll), featuring live music by soulful New Orleans musician Marc Broussard and local opening act The Tarlatans, alongside Charleston cocktails and bar bites. We’ll be there tapping our toes and serving up some of your favorite cocktails and bar snacks from our menu.

white collar-1

Our bar manager, James Bolt, will be mixing the “White Collar” cocktail (St. George Terroir, Parsnip Juice, Wormowood Bitters, Tarragon, Orgeat, Vanilla, Egg White, Cream).

Chef Kayla Bennet will serve up Housemade Bologna Sliders and our beloved Peanut Butter Chocolate Preztel Bar. (Start with the bologna sliders, and finish with the PB chocolate pretzel bar… you’ll need to try both.)

You can find tickets for “On the Rocks (‘n Roll)” at

Can’t make it? You’ll find the White Collar and these bar snacks at The Gin Joint any evening during the festival, in addition to our new menu with fresh Spring cocktails and a new addition – our “Genuine O.G.” section, bringing back a few of our most requested cocktails from original menus.


Drop by The Gin Joint between January 7 and 18 during 2015’s first Charleston Restaurant Week. Twice a year during Charleston Restaurant Association‘s 11-day celebration of Charleston’s culinary scene, our chef and bartenders team up to offer the perfect pairings of cocktails and food designed just for Restaurant Week.

Here’s a look at our January Restaurant Week menu. This year, we’ve created four pairings  — two for the savory tastebud and two for the sweet tooth. Each pairing is $10. (Read: You’ll get a free, perfectly paired bar snack or dessert with your cocktail.) Foodies and cocktail enthusiasts, see you January 7-18.

Pork Slider and King Cotton cocktail
Pictured: King Cotton with Hoisin Glazed Pork Slider

JANUARY 7-18, 2015
$10 per pairing, plus tax and gratuity

Gin, Dolin Dry, Imbue Bitterweet, Lillet Blanc, Lemon, Basil, Dandelion Burdock Bitters
– with –
San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Ciabatta

KING COTTON (pictured)
Plantation 3 Star Rum, Lemongrass, Pomelo Oleo, Pomelo Juice, Lime, Arrack
– with –
House Pretzel Bun, Mustard Greens Kimchi, Pickled Vegetables

Bourbon, Swedish Punsch, Averna, Carpano Antica, Cacao, Bulls Bay Smoked Sea Salt, Angostura
- with -
Dark Chocolate Custard with Chantilly Cream and Raspberry

Appleton VX, Ansac Cognac, Lemon Oleo, Chai Tea, Oatmeal Spiced Milk
– with –
Sweetened House Ricotta with Vanilla Bean

view/print menu as pdf


Mar. 04

Daylight savings is on it’s way and with it we have launched our Spring menu. We are gearing up for this weekend’s Wine + Food Festival and have a slew of new drinks to sling for you. We have arranged our cocktail menu by spirits this season.


Under “Gin” you can find drinks made with arugula, menthol, pineapple, red chili,  and chartreuse.

Searching for tequila? Check out the “Agave” section for mezcal, reposado, grapefruit, hibiscus, and meyer lemon.

The “Rum” section will sail you away to the land of aged rums, white rums, kiwis, strawberry, and tonic.

“Brandy” will become your friend in the form of pisco, calvados or cognac with coconut, strega, and Benedictine.

And for all the “Whiskey” lovers we’ve transformed these typical cold weather bourbons, scotch, and ryes into strong and bitter yet refreshing sours with lapsang tea, violet, strawberry and more.

If after all this, you have time to attend a Festival event, come taste a “Rocket Science” cocktail at the old county jail Friday night for the “Jailhouse Rocks”. Or stop by and see our Chef Kayla Bennet serving up some Pad Thai Popcorn at Saturday night’s After Hours Party.


Aug. 28

We are excited to introduce our chef at TGJ, Kayla Bennett. Kayla has been with us since the very beginning and we are so happy to have her take reign in the kitchen. She has studied at The Culinary Institute of Charleston, and has worked with owner MariElena Raya since 2009. She is leading our team to produce the best bar food in Charleston, creating high end snacking in the Lowcountry.

She did not want to disappoint your culinary souls just now that we have closed for Sunday Brunch. We have made sure that you don’t miss out on our Chicken and Waffles and we have put it back on on dinner menu in sandwich form. Also, the pork buns are back, Southern style. We have just a few weeks left of Summery Pickled Shrimp, so hurry up and get your grub on and see what Kayla is cooking up.


Jul. 02

We are excited about some new changes for The Gin Joint starting in August. We will be opening on Saturdays at 3pm instead of 5pm. We hope you will come beat the sumer heat with a Waikiki Tiki drink from our new summer menu.

Also, starting in August we will no longer offer brunch. We will be opening up Sunday nights starting August 4th, from 5pm until midnight. So make a point to stop by The Gin Joint for Sunday brunch in July. Not to worry, “Chicken ‘n Waffles” will be making an appearance on our night snack menu.

Check out our new summer menu or brunch menu online.

New Hours Starting August 2013:

Sun-Wed      5pm-12am

Thurs-Fri     5pm-2am

Saturday       3pm-2am


Jun. 11

Bon Appetit Magazine is adding Charleston to their list of stops this year and The Gin Joint is hosting an evening of noshing and sloshing southern style on Saturday, June 22, 2013. We will be mixing up a choice of these four drinks and serving these snacks alongside. Buy your tickets online at before they sell out. It will be a private event to ticket holders only.


Antebellum: rye whiskey, Amaro Nonino, burnt sugar simple, green chartreuse

Flowers & Ashes: gin, St Germain, lime juice,Laphroaig, Angostura bitters

Traveller’s Tonic: rum, lime juice, gum arabic, elixir of calasaya, acid phosphate, Angostura bitters, house mineral water

South Pacific: cognac, rum, lime, fresh pineapple, orgeat, yellow chartreuse, Bitter Truth aromatic bitters


Shrimp and Grit Fritters with red pepper aioli

Homemade soft pretzels with Sriracha cheese sauce

Pad Thai Popcorn

House Beef Jerky

Local Butterbean Hummus with Buttermilk Crackers

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar with Chocolate Pop-rocks and Sea Salt

Under Food, Happenings

Feb. 12

The Gin Joint has welcomed its newest member, Juniper Polly Raya, born on January 18th.


With the our littlest staff member “June” to demand much of MariElena’s time at home we are happy to have our friend, Cole Ratliff, taking reigns in the kitchen for a few months. Cole has escaped the New York winter and has come to Charleston after having worked at some of NYC’s best restaurants, Jean-Georges and Per Se just to name drop a couple. Cole will be perking up The Gin Joint menu, offering some changes in our snacks and plates. Stop by for dinner or Sunday brunch, you know you want to.

Under Drink, Happenings

Dec. 20

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 

“From all of us at The Gin Joint, we make a toast to 2012. Thank you for making our second year memorable, we look forward to 2013 and all that is to come.”

The past twelve months have been comprised of a lot of work, some mishaps, some successes, but mainly, we will remember 2012 as a year of growth.  We have a lot of work still to do, to bring justice to our friends Pappy, Jefferson and Don, Julio, that is but The Gin Joint will continue the revival.

As for the future, our goal is to continue to stay true to our focus of taking our cocktails seriously. Our crew is constantly creating new recipes and ideas to keep interests peeked while continuing to post classics to our menu as well. We couldn’t have done it without you. A special thanks to our Gin Joint friends for spreading the word, for the reviews from our local papers, and even the national press. Cheers to another year!

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