Craft breweries are the best. They are smaller, quirky, unique, artsy fartsy, and aren't allows for everyone, but there is a variety that provides a little something for everyone.
Downtown Aiken is filled with smaller, unique, and artsy places.
I've always tried to do a walkabout every couple months in Downtown Aiken, during my 10+ years of working down here. I never am ceased to be surprised by the things I didn't know that were right around me the whole time. I could spend all day downtown. I know I can, I've seen me do it, and I didn't even have to be drunk to do it. I've also spent the night, and that may be a different story. Grab some coffee at the craft New Moon Cafe and Coffee Shop and maybe pair it with a delicious muffin or my personal favorite, the sausage egg and cheese croissant. It gets tight in there, so if the line is out the door as it can be, right across the street is What's Cooking. From there I can breeze through 3 Monkey's Gifts on my way to the South Boundary Entrance into Hitchcock Woods.
I can enjoy good hour long hike, if I don't get lost in thought, because that directly correlates to my ability to not get lost on the trails, and I'm right back in downtown. I can walk down Park Ave and get some shoes repaired at Fox Shoe Repair, get a haircut at Panache, and listen to some local musicians pick around at Vintage Music. All of that will make you hungry. If it doesn't, you are probably ill and should go lie down. Don't eat the berries in the woods. Head back to the Taproom, grab a pint, and take a load off on the couch. Maybe a fresh and crisp white to whet the palate for some more exploration. Stroll down to the Brew Pub and gnosh on chicken wings and maybe another pint. A nice thoroughbred red will do. Go check out some art at the Art Center on Richland and Art and Soul in the Alley. Head on down to Plum Pudding and pick up some things for the kitchen, or at least a wine key for those bottles you bought at Palmetto Package on your way back from your fresh new cut! Give yourself a little extra time for the Artisans Market. It's small, but bigger than it looks, and you may have to walk from the back to the front a few times to take it all in. Simply admire the work of local artisans, or even better, support them and put a unique piece in your home. Go through the nature store and buy a Hitchcock Woods Foundation Tee Shirt and support those trees you spent the morning with. It's almost happy hour... but not quite. Treat yourself like a little kid in Cyndi's Sweet Shop, before stopping back by the Taproom. Sometimes you just need to sit down and make a plan. If sitting at a bar and having a happy hour "regular" who wants to talk at ya isn't your thing, hang tight, they'll be gone shortly, enjoy your chocolates, and plan some dinner. Make it a special night and make sure you get your reservation in at Whiskey Alley.
After Dinner, it's time to mingle and cut loose. Grab yourself a big pint of that Imperial IPA at the Taproom. Now you've got a good jump start. Pull up a chair or stool and listen to live music in The Alley, at Tailgate, or even the Pub depending on the night. I think I briefly mentioned earlier, that the Carriage House is a lovely boutique cottage with a delicious breakfast.
I am currently writing the Tapped into Aiken: and unofficial lubricated guide to Downtown Aiken. Keep an eye out for its release soon!