Charleston

Photo courtesy of Baker & Brewer

The RundownCharleston

Everything You Need to Know About Baker & Brewer, in Downtown Charleston

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Downtown  

Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In our series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as some of your favorite) restaurants.

Opened three years ago this month, this unbeatable merger of North Charleston’s EVO Pizza and Holy City Brewing is much more than a place that wisely offers the unbeatable combo of pizza and beer. 

From its initial three-week period as a BYOB restaurant due to a delay in receiving its pouring license, Baker & Brewer has proven itself to be an entirely unique sort of pizza shop. With a 6,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space that previously housed an entirely different (Neapolitan) kind of pizza shop, there was clearly a need to succeed quickly with word-of-mouth. 

Clearly things have gone well, as you’ve probably heard. But there’s still good reason to taste for yourself, even if you’ve already visited and enjoyed those prized pizza pies, the variety of baked goods, brunch items, and other bites found on the menu, along with their adventurous special brews.

1. It’s a collaboration between two Charleston favorites.

Holy City Brewing and Evo Pizzeria both opened in North Charleston a little over a decade ago, and continue to be favorites in the Lowcountry to this day. The two Charleston staples worked closely together often over the years, but the pizza/brewpub, located in Downtown Charleston’s East Central neighborhood, is their biggest collaboration yet.

Baker & Brewer has become — even in a pandemic — part of Downtown’s recently revived vibe. Here, they’ve gained a solid reputation for working together and turning local ingredients into amazingly crisp-crusted pies, while setting a high standard of hospitality and pouring some of the Holy City’s funkiest experimental craft beers. Speaking of which… 

 

Photo courtesy of Baker & Brewer

2. You can sample unique Holy City beers that are only available here.

Holy City was one of the original microbreweries to call Charleston home, with notable local favorites over the years like Pluff Mud Porter and Overly Friendly IPA. At Baker & Brewer, these Holy City classics are always on the menu, along with more than 10 unique beers that can be enjoyed only at the brewpub. 

The five-barrel brewhouse here essentially acts as a “creative engine” for Holy City, allowing for more experimental house beers. Those include a crushable amber beer called Rickey, named after one of the co-founders of EVO, who happens to have an amber-colored beard. Baker & Brewer also usually has a hard seltzer available on tap that’s ever-changing in flavor: It’s called The Local, a nod to one of the staff’s favorite drinking establishments right down the road, Local 616. It’s a setup that gives the brewers — and you — an opportunity to have fun with beer.

3. Thursdays are designated days to talk (and drink) beer.

Baker & Brewer has a weekly “power hour,” and thankfully it’s way smarter than the sort you’d experience on a college campus. It happens Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with special $2 happy-hour-priced pints. The idea is for you to talk with the brewers at the bar all about the beer, the process behind creating them, or whatever other beer-battered thoughts you feel deserve an audience. 

“It may be all six brewers and sometimes just two or three of us sitting and talking,” says General Manager Angie Tunstall. “But it’s an opportunity for our staff and guests to learn what’s going on in the beer world and to just talk beer, knowing that the brewers are there to do just that.” 

They’ve also got weekly trivia, specials during televised sports events, live music, and happy hour every weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., where you get  $3 off Baker & Brewer beers and craft cocktails, and a package deal of a house beer and a margherita for $10.

4. The pizzas are favorites from EVO, but the menu is uniquely Baker & Brewer.

Just like Holy City, EVO brings some of the well-known pizzas born at the landmark Park Circle location. The Pork Trifecta is one such pie, which lives up to its name with housemade sausage, pepperoni, and bacon. 

On the other side of the spectrum is the Pistachio Pesto: a must-devour pizza for any white pie enthusiast, made with Split Creek Farm fromage blanc, ground pistachio, and creme fraiche. The larger kitchen at Baker & Brewer also allows for more menu offerings and added creativity — see for yourself by trying the fried zucchini, or brunch chimichangas with Mexican chorizo and pickled pepper relish.

5. Attention early birds: A craft bakery also offers coffee on tap.

On your left when walking into Baker & Brewer, you’ll notice the artisan bakery. It’s an extension of EVO Craft Bakery in Park Circle, and it’s fantastic.

Open an hour before the rest of the restaurant, the bakery is a perfect place to pick up a morning pastry and drip coffee or espresso, both of which feature beans from Springbok Coffee Roasters. They also serve Tazo teas, hot cocoa and chai lattes, which pair wonderfully with fresh-baked bread offered Tuesday through Saturday, which includes baguettes, Abruzzi rye, rustic wheat, and more. 

And of course, Baker & Brewer’s brunch is a blast, whether you opt for sweetness like the bakery bun (a cinnamon roll with candied pecans and cream cheese frosting), or the recently added “Cast Iron Breakfast,” which combines seared home fries, garlic confit, broccolini, gouda, harissa gravy, a farm egg, and avocado. 

They’ve also got special brunch cocktails, wines by the bottle and glass, and other brunch drinks, but the beermosa, made with Holy City’s Washout Wheat and OJ from Natalie’s Juice Company, seems like a mashup that’ll turn you into a word-of-mouther. 

 

Jai Jones is a Charleston-based food writer and photographer covering the restaurant world in the Lowcountry and beyond. He has contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Post & Courier, Charleston Wine + Food, and more.  Follow him on on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.