In a year filled with desperation, the spooks and specters this Halloween might be a bit crankier this time around. And no one quite embodies the feelings of this dank and dark holiday of haunts and misery like the Godfather of Goth himself, Edgar Allen Poe.
Poe wrote about love tragically lost, dreary midnights, wall-trapped horrors, and ashen skies. He was the herald that brought us the detective and horror genres through reflections of his own life. And Poe’s was a tragic and mysterious life indeed. His lamentations are all too familiar to us even in this day and age, and this year in particular.
In his early years, he enlisted in the Army and found himself stationed on Sullivan’s Island. That’s where we find ourselves, a short twenty-minute drive from the foodie haven city of Charleston.
Even down here in the typically sweltering heat of the South, fall is setting in. Patios are cooler, days are shorter. Rains come more frequently, the clouds a little lower. And just a few blocks from the crashing waters of the Atlantic is Poe’s Tavern, a themed gastropub paying homage to the man with delicious nachos, a great beer selection, and burgers to die for.
Obviously, we found burgers. Again.
The menu is simple. A few appetizers -- those nachos we mentioned -- some salads, and just shy of a dozen burgers.
These works of art come as one of three patties: a half-pound beef, a six-ounce grilled chicken breast, or a hearty veggie patty. Each burger is completely different from the others, named after famous Poe writings.
There’s the Gold Bug, a traditional cheeseburger named after the work that Poe was inspired to write from his time on the Island. Then there’s the Hop Frog, a bacon bbq burger.
But we prefer the weirder stuff.
The Tell-Tale Heart is a monster bacon cheeseburger topped with a fried egg. Messy, delicious, best with fries to slop up the crumbs. Our favorite, however, is The Sleeper and not for the faint of heart. It is a bleu cheese burger topped with buffalo fried shrimp.
Let that sink in. If you’re with us you know how good this tastes.
That is a good segue, we can’t forget about the fish tacos. Aside from fried shrimp, Poe’s Tavern offers up the delicious and fresh fish tacos you’d expect so close to an ocean. Crisp crunchy slaw, a punch of flavor in twos or threes. We get it, sometimes you just want seafood by the sea. And Poe’s Tavern does it.
In our pandemic-conscious society, we can expect enhanced sanitation, reduced seating, and longer wait times, but Poe’s does a great job at this. The patio is open and perfect, and the care taken by the staff is evident. Only the parking situation is a little hard to swallow and can get tight at busier times.
From the quotes, stories, and poems plastered on the walls along with a haunting visage of the man himself, Poe’s Tavern is a proper homage to the author who brought us chilling tales and dark brooding poetry.
Even without the Poe cool factor, we’d come back for these burgers.
Impressed we didn’t end with a variation of “Nevermore?” We are too. For those in the Charleston area, Poe’s Tavern is a short drive to one of the most beautiful places on the Carolina coast. Check their website for updated hours and restrictions and if you can’t make it to Sullivan’s Island, there are locations in Florida and North Carolina to sate your appetite for burgers and goth.