Although my dad’s side of the family moved out of the country in the 1950s, they basically carved a slice of West Virginia in the middle of central Florida. From the chicken coops out back to the pies on the dinner table, visiting my grandparents feels like going to the countryside.
My favorite tradition is the inevitable moment when someone grabs a guitar, someone else picks up the songbook, and we sing old country songs for hours. We always ask my grandmother (I call her Nanny) to pick the first song. She hems and haws, pretending to think it over before saying, “Play that song about home.”
Then we sing John Denver’s “Country Roads” for her. As Nanny closes her eyes and harmonizes with us, it feels as if the song transports her back to those blue-ridge mountains of West Virginia.
If only life were as simple and romantic as a country song. The “almost heaven” of West Virginia can feel like a lonely place for single adults who don’t know where to find their one-true homes. For those of you looking for the place you belong, or the person you belong with, we’ve mapped out 10 roads to romance in Charleston, the largest city in my dad’s home state of West Virginia.
Charleston Dating Sites
Online dating is the best way to meet single people. I’m not just saying that because I’m a millennial, and I rely on the internet for everything. It’s actually true. On a dating site, you’re surrounded by thousands of date prospects and can search by your desired preferences to narrow the field to a handful of choice few. With in-depth profiles, mutual matching, and live chat windows, dating platforms bring you the most amount of options for the least amount of work. We’ve highlighted our favorites for Charleston daters of different ages, backgrounds, and interests. Enjoy!
Best Singles Site
Founded in 1995, Match.com is basically the most successful dating site in the history of online dating. Millions of singles have used this dating site to build meaningful connections based on personal compatibility, and many have come away with a new relationship status. Over the decades, Match has been responsible for pairing up more couples than any other dating network.
Best Site for Professionals
After graduating college and establishing a strong career, a lot of singles start to become serious about finding a committed partnership. Flaky dates with college dropouts no longer satisfy some of these career-driven individuals, so they seek a more quality-driven dating site like Elite Singles. On Elite Singles, most members are above the age of 30 and have earned a college degree. Every month, over 165,000 new members join this elite community because they’re hoping to land the real deal.
Elite Singles is the premier dating site for educated professionals. Most members are upper-income with college degrees, and its impressive Fraud Detection system ensures no-nonsense dating. Full Review »
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
Over 50 & Senior Site
According to the 2010 census, 13.5% of Charleston households included an adult over the age of 65 living alone. Such seniors are often divorced or widowed and unable to find companionship on their own. If you’re seeking to jump back into the dating world as a mature adult, OurTime can help you get the lay of the land. This senior dating site has simple tools designed for singles over the age the 50. That means you don’t have to be a technical wizard to search for an age-appropriate date in Charleston.
For Black Men & Women Only
Though white people make up the majority of Charleston’s population, over 15% of residents identify as African American. For those of you looking to date within this community, our dating experts recommending using BlackPeopleMeet to get started. Based in the US, this black dating site celebrates diversity and brings people together over a shared appreciation for African-American culture, issues, and values.
Hookup & Sex Site
Lastly, Adult Friend Finder is the go-to network for singles who just want to hook up. Creating a profile on AFF signals to users than you’re looking for no-strings-attached sex, and plenty of attractive singles out there are willing to oblige. With over 77 million registered members, Adult Friend Finder has the distinction of being the largest online sex community in the world.
Popular Dating Apps
People in the Mountain State aren’t all the stereotypical set-in-their-ways coal miners clinging to the traditions of the past. A fair amount of West Virginian singles are willing to roll with the times and use technology to their advantage. Dating apps have exploded in popularity in recent years, and now dominate the dating scene in Charleston. The convenience of carrying a dating network around wherever you go attracts singles who crave constant stimulation and excitement. Below we’ve reviewed our favorite dating apps to help Charleston residents move forward into the future of dating.
Zoosk is the number one app for finding dates, and if you sync up your Google+ or Facebook account, you can have a profile in seconds. The app has 38 million members and will deliver matches to your inbox on a daily basis based on your behavior such as who you search for, like or don't like, and message. The Carousel is another section for matching (tap the heart if it's a yes and the X if it's a no).
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Available via the App Store and Google Play, Match is a fantastic app for dates and relationships. With a user base of 30 million singles, Match is where you'll have a high chance of success. It's free to download, create a profile, search for and receive matches around the corner and across the world, find missed connections, "like" people, as well as send and receive winks.
|Gender Ratio||M: 49% | F: 51%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Commitment-minded, professional daters will feel at home with Elite Singles, which can be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play. Not only is everyone looking for a long-term partner, but 80% of members hold a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree. Elite Singles sees 210,000 visitors and 2,500 users finding love every month, so it's one of the fastest growing and most reputable apps.
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Charleston Singles Bars
You don’t have to think too far outside the box to meet singles in Charleston. Just go downtown and pull up a stool at a bar. West Virginia is a traditional place, and bars are one of the most traditional places to pick up a date. All you have to do is order a country boy or cowgirl a drink to start a conversation and win over your crush. Below you’ll find our reviews of the most date-friendly bars in Charleston.
1Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille
At Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, quality food is served up piping hot alongside glass after glass of beer and wine. A lot of people come here on their off hours to enjoy a varied menu and extensive drink selection. The bar employs a friendly staff eager to please customers with the open-late kitchen's tastiest plates. On game days, singles crowd into the sports bar seeking a good meal and good company to watch their teams. Apelphia Sports Bar is the go-to place to meet beer-loving singles in Charleston.
2The Boulevard Tavern
There's always something fun happening at the Boulevard Tavern. This bar's schedule is packed with open mic nights, daily drink specials, Reggae Sundays, and other themed events designed to get visitors talking and laughing together. If the live music doesn't interest you, the cocktails sure will. From the Kanawha River Sea Monster (dark spiced rum mixed with sweet agave) to the Loaded Bloody Mary, the craft cocktails put a creative spin on old classics and leave bar patrons wanting more.
Since 1972, Bar 101 has invited Charlestonians to forget their cares and relax over a few brews. The casual and hospitable atmosphere is ideal for singles looking to start a conversation with someone new. Whether you want to sample a fried mushroom appetizer or down an expertly crafted ginger mule, Bar 101 has you covered. Plus, on weekends, a DJ encourages men and women to dance to the latest musical hits.
4Pies and Pints
Pies and pints? Count me in! Young people especially love the fun and cheesy vibes at Pies and Pints. The specialty pizza pies go heavy on the toppings, including bacon, goat cheese, pesto, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, and so much more. Weekday happy hours delight barflies with discounted draft beers, house wines, and starters. Pies and Pints is known for serving the best slices of pizza in Charleston. And the pitchers of draft root beer ain't half bad either!
5Doug's Topside Tavern
As far as dive bars go, you can't do much better than Doug's Topside Tavern. The straightforward service and pub fare never disappoint patrons looking for a no-muss, no-fuss evening. The hole-in-the-wall may not look like much from the outside, but they serve unbelievably delicious steaks with a giant baked potato and a salad bar with just about every dressing known to man. Doug's doesn't need a gimmick to get people to hang out — the quality on the menu is enough to fill up the bar stools night after night.
Celsius is an upscale bar in the downtown area. The elegant establishment offers tapas-style dining and specialty handmade cocktails to patrons looking for a classy night out. The eclectic menu puts a modern spin on old favorites, including fried pickles and filet mignon sliders. At Celsius, beautifully crafted drinks pack a punch with seasonal flavors and original ingredients.
7Vino's Bar and Grill
From the upstairs lounge to the downstairs bar, Vino's Bar & Grill is a flashy place to spend an evening. The fabulous food and dynamic entertainment schedule keeps people coming back for more. Whether you want to show off your voice on karaoke Mondays or learn how to salsa during classes on Thursdays, Vino's Bar will keep you laughing and talking throughout the night.
Charleston Speed Dating
Dating often comes with a lot of logistical concerns. Where do you set up the first date? Do you come up with an excuse if you want to leave early? What should you talk about? What do you do in those awkward silences? Singles on a first date have a lot running through their heads and can get bogged down by all the factors outside of their control. Speed dating events bring more organization and efficiency to this chaotic process. Participants only have to worry about making small talk for five to ten minutes before starting fresh with a new date prospect. Event organizers take care of the details, so speed daters can sit back and enjoy the experience.
Charleston Singles Events
According to the 2010 census, over 35% of Charleston households are married couples living together. When you add in couples who are in a relationship but not yet married, that’s a good chunk of Charleston’s population that’s off the menu. If you want to avoid making an advance on someone who’s already taken, a singles event is a wonderful option. Singles events invite unattached men and women to mingle at a party or in a group activity charged with flirtatious energy. In Charleston, SpeakEasy Singles hosts frequent dances and events to get divorced, widowed, or never-married locals mingling with one another.
Charleston Singles Clubs
Along the winding Kanawha River, Charleston has a handful of rowdy dance clubs where singles love to let loose. The club scene attracts young (and young-at-heart) dancers of all backgrounds and orientations. On a Saturday night, active daters can take in a drag show, watch a live performance, and dance the night away in the company of good friends and new acquaintances. The dim lighting, trendy atmosphere, and upbeat music sets an exciting and romantic mood for locals. When you go to a club, you never know where the night might lead.
Charleston Chat Rooms
Some daters find themselves constantly tripping over their words or too intimidated to approach a good-looking individual in person. Some people just don’t make a good first impression in the flesh. Online chat rooms solve that problem by giving nervous daters a protective and anonymous shield. A chat group for local singles can help people come out of their shells and meet friendly folks in a low-key setting. Charleston daters can use any of the resources below to start a flirtatious conversation and grow their confidence in a non-threatening dating arena.
In olden days — you know, when people actually bought and read newspapers — singles would place personal ads in the paper to attract romantic attention in their area. It was a compelling way to meet someone. Instead of all the games and playing hard-to-get, you could just write “man seeking committed relationship” or “woman seeking part-time dog walker, part-time date.” Online dating personals have taken that time-honored traditional into the 21st century by creating a virtual space where locals can connect and chat in real time.
Get Your Heart Pumping at Local Public Parks
If you’re fixing to meet outgoing people around Charleston, try visiting a public park. West Virginians aren’t really the sit-at-home sort so you’ll often find them fishing a local stream or picnicking out on the green.
Whether you enjoy tennis courts or swimming pools, the parks and recreation facilitates in town offer a world of fun in the great outdoors. It’s cheaper than a night at the clubs and more active than an afternoon online, so get on out there and see where the bike trails take you!
Let Loose & Mingle in the Crowd at a Festival
Charleston is the most populated city in West Virginia (and the capital to boot), so it’s no stranger to fairs, festivals, concerts, and community events. On the banks of the Kanawha River, many themed gatherings have celebrated the diverse local culture with music, food, and family fun.
Since 1982, the first weekend in June has welcomed musical ensembles and dance troupes to strut their stuff in a free outdoor event. Symphony Sunday ends with an inspired performance by the West Virginia Symphony Orchesta and an impressive fireworks display. It’s quite the romantic atmosphere.
Find Your Sweetie in the Big Sweet Grass Basket
Tradition is important to my family, and singing country songs is how we remind ourselves where we come from, where we’re headed, and where we belong. Though I’ve spent my entire life in Florida, I can never forget my roots in the misty mountains of West Virginia.
Charleston is the least populous capital city in the US, with a metropolitan area just shy of 225,000 people, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to meet new people and expand your network by exercising a little Southern charm. Your darlin’ is out there somewhere on that country road, and with the resources in this article you can start making your way to that home far away.