Charleston Dive Bars: A Mini-Series of Philosophical Irrelevance

Part III: Cutty’s



Cutty’s is a clubhouse. It is the Cheers of Elliotborough. It is the one bar where I get free drinks.




Cutty’s is mystical in the fact that I can’t conceptualize it as a place that exists during the daylight. Cutty’s is made for people who love the night (we all have our reasons) and draws the kind of clientele who can still tell you a story about a great house party. That’s because Cutty’s is a house party. If we weren’t here, we would be in someone’s basement (or the equivalent of).




I can’t remember (though I’ve been many times) if this bar ever plays music (besides the occasional DJ). If they do, it is trivial to the entire experience.


This is the bar I bike to when I (1) want to have the experience of riding my bike a couple blocks sober only to (2) ride my bike back feeling like I understand the universe a little more.


Most conversations I have at Cutty’s are about how much I love the person I am talking to (which is equal parts true and untrue) and how much I love Cutty’s (which is true, but also heavily influenced by how much cheap bourbon I’ve had).


I typically don’t have conversations here that warrant much comment (I’m never my best, thinking self at this bar, partly because it is a place where thoughtlessness is more often than not somehow of value) but I did have a conversation tonight that reinforced my love for at least two emo bands from the 2000s (Brand New and Saves the Day, not necessarily in that order). Napster came up at least once. So did horoscopes.




Cutty’s is a place of the people, and that sounds at worst trite and, at best, an excuse to use alliteration (ultimately, you decide). The only rule here seems to be, “don’t be an asshole” (the two times I’ve seen someone kicked out, this was the reasoning and it required no further explanation). Everyone here seems to intuitively belong, though inquiry may have you speculate otherwise. I know of two regulars who work at law firms, though I would never guess this about them, and mentioning this fact is probably a disservice to who they actually are (but that is a much larger conversation).


Cutty’s has the best bathroom graffiti in town (which is to say, probably the best I’ve ever seen). It actually has a look to it, which is impressive because if you asked everyone what this bar is, each person would tell you something slightly different. But no one would be wrong.





There is, without a shadow of a doubt, a feeling of love here. But it is not desperate. It is not wanting. It may take time to find a tribe here, but once you are in the tribe there is no getting out, unless you choose to stop showing up, in which case Cutty’s can just as easily forget you.



After all, we were all wanderers who stumbled here anyway.