The Oldest Still-Running Alcohol Store In America First Opened in 1686 in Charleston

via Facebook

Founded in 1686, the Tavern at Rainbow Row in Charleston, is North America’s oldest licensed alcohol establishment. It has a colorful history, including a stint as a “barbershop” discreetly selling whiskey as “hair tonic.”

Throughout Prohibition (1920-1933), the Tavern also used its bluff location near the harbor for secret alcohol deliveries. It maintained a facade as a barbershop, with a hidden door leading to tunnels connected to Charleston’s speakeasies. After Prohibition, it resumed as a public liquor store.

Now located near the picturesque Rainbow Row, the Tavern continues to serve the community. It offers free samples of a range of alcoholic beverages, including unique local moonshine, rum, whiskey, and vodka made throughout the Carolinas.

The Tavern is housed in South Carolina’s oldest commercial building, complete with original hardwood floors and a collection of vintage liquor bottles.