Best New Bar or Club

Music Farm

Runner-up: Bourbon

The Music Farm has, in short order, become a major player on Columbia’s live music scene. With a capacity of about 1,200, the Senate Street venue is a solid mid-size room, and has played host to a diverse list of artists, including Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Toro Y Moi and many others. Also, Jump Little Children has a sold out show scheduled there in December. (Given both the band’s and the club’s Charleston roots, that might be the most Music Farm sentence ever written.)

Honorable mention: Craft and Draft, Rocket Man, Hickory Tavern, Cotton Gin, Belles Bar and Grill.

Best Bar or Club

The Whig

Runner-up: Tin Roof

The Whig has a tight, well-curated tap selection, an expansive bottled beer menu, good cheap liquor, eminently tasty bar food and a cozy subterranean space to enjoy it all in. And now, you don’t even have to walk past the Confederate battle flag to step down those stairs across from the State House. Victory.

Honorable mention: Art Bar, Jake’s, The Woody, Bar None

Best Bartender

James Pickle - Uncle Louie’s, Ruth’s Chris, British Bulldog Pub

Runner-up: Josh Streetman - Motor Supply Co.

Obviously, James Pickle is in high demand as a bartender. It might be his down-to-earth personality — but it’s probably also the booze, and his skill therewith.

Honorable mention: Shawn-Dell Corley - Art Bar, Andy Haddock - Terra, Anna Ross - Grapes and Gallery, Ryan Ditman - 116 State

Best Place to Pick Up Guys

Tin Roof

Runner-up: World of Beer

Guys like live music. Guys like cold beer. Guys like barbecue brisket nachos. Tin Roof has live music. Tin Roof has cold beer. Tin Roof has barbecue brisket nachos. Guys will be at Tin Roof. You should go to Tin Roof to pick up guys. You’re welcome.

Honorable Mention: Art Bar, The Whig

Best Place to Pick Up Girls

Tin Roof

Runner-up: Liberty Tap Room

OK, guys here’s what you do: Go out to Tin Roof on a Saturday night. Get a drink and slam it down really fast. Then walk up to that girl you’ve had your eye on all night and, in your best Rick Moranis voice, say, “Is that a mirror in your pocket? Because I can see myself in your pants.” We promise everything will go great.

Honorable mention: Art Bar, Bar None

Best Bathroom Wall Wisdom

Art Bar

Runner-up: New Brookland Tavern

Yes, there are some snappy quotes written on the bathroom walls at Art Bar, but just as cool is the collage of different band stickers — a continuously replenished well to find new and awesome tunes. Now, that’s wisdom.

Honorable mention: Pavlov’s, The Whig

Best Bar Trivia

Flying Saucer

Runner-up: Thirsty Fellow

Flying Saucer has an impressive beer list, which could come in handy while you rattle off trivia answers. It might also lure you into getting too tipsy to shout out any coherent answers. Either way, you win.

Honorable mention: British Bulldog Pub, The Whig

Best Bar Service

Pearlz Oyster Bar

Runner-up: Speakeasy

With wine, cold beer, champagne and refreshing cocktails, Pearlz has your drinks covered. But what seals the deal is professional service with a smile — and that’s what Pearlz offers.

Honorable mention: The Whig, Bar None, Art Bar

Best College Bar


Runner-up: Group Therapy

Jake’s sits on that perfect middle ground between a laid-back neighborhood bar and a hip late-night spot. Kick back in the leafy backyard with a delicious draft beer and soak in the college-ness of it.

Honorable mention: Pavlov’s, Pinch

Best Dance Club

The Woody

Runner-up: Social

Who hangs out at The Woody? Well — everyone. Whether you want to show off your shag skills, or try out the whip and the nae-nae, it’s the place to be.

Honorable mention: Tin Roof, Cotton Gin

Best Neighborhood Bar - Downtown/The Vista

The Whig

Runner-up: Liberty Tap Room

The Whig bills itself as “North America’s Greatest Dive Bar.” We can’t speak for all of North America, but it’s certainly the best dive bar in Columbia. It’s dark and subterranean, key attributes of any elite alcoholic crash pad. But they’ve also got the Whig Chicken Sandwich, which is so good you’ll want to smack your mama. No, really, the sandwich will make you want to commit the misdemeanor offense of simple assault against your mother.

Honorable mention: Pearlz Oyster Bar, Art Bar, Uncle Louie’s

Best Neighborhood Bar - Five Points


Runner-up: Delaney’s

Just try sitting out on that spacious back patio, dogs flitting to and fro during Yappy Hour, a tasty craft beer pint in hand as you wolf down that ridiculously great hangar steak sandwich — just try to do all that and not think that Jake’s is one hell of a neighborhood hangout.

Honorable mention: Bar None, Yesterday’s, Speakeasy

Best Neighborhood Bar - Shandon/Rosewood/Forest Acres

Craft and Draft

Runner-up: Rockaway Athletic Club

Pro tip: The ever-rotating tap selection at Craft and Draft is pretty great, but don’t miss its superb selection of chilled bottles and cans. At bottle-shop prices, that means you can hang out in one of the neighborhood’s most laid-back spots and knock back brews cheap.

Honorable Mention: Henry’s, The Kraken, Cock ‘n Bull

Best Neighborhood Bar - Harbison/Irmo

British Bulldog Pub

Runner-up: Carolina Ale House

Come for the awesome Guinness combinations and the flaky, crispy fish and chips (and all the other delicious traditional British fare). Stay for the warm and welcoming atmosphere and the smorgasbord of soccer on the many TVs.

Honorable mention: Hemingway’s, Lucky’s Burger Shack

Best Neighborhood Bar - West Columbia/Cayce

New Brookland Tavern

Runner-up: D’s Wings

More than a spot to see some reliably great rock shows, New Brookland Tavern is also a great place to stop by, pop the top on a PBR tallboy and hang out with some of the coolest people in town.

Honorable mention: 2108 State Street Bar and Grill, Belle’s Bar and Grill

Best Neighborhood Bar - Lexington

Old Mill Brewpub

Runner-up: Keg Cowboy

You can do some good, honest drinking at Old Mill Brewpub. On their beer menu they’ve got a pair of Old Mill Brewpub drafts — a “small batch” Indo Outdo IPA and a Pineapple Kolsch. They’ve also got more than 20 other beers on draft, plus more than 50 kinds of bottled beer and a prodigious wine selection.

Honorable mention: Arkos Mojo Grill and Martini Bar, Krafty Draft

Best Neighborhood Bar - Northeast


Runner-up: Polliwogs

Henry’s has that true neighborhood bar vibe, in that you feel so comfortable there that you sometimes forget to leave.

Honorable mention: Solstice Kitchen, Ale House Lounge

Best Outdoor Deck

Liberty on the Lake

Runner-up: Jake’s

The outdoor deck at Liberty at the Lake has three things going for it: (1) there’s ample seating; (2) there’s often a decent band or musician playing; and (3) you’ll likely have a beautiful view of Lake Murray and all the activity at the adjacent marina. It’s a cool place to hang out, if you can snag a table.

Honorable mention: Thirsty Fellow, Carolina Ale House, Hickory Tavern, Polliwogs.

Best People-Watching Bar

Art Bar

Runner-up: The Woody

Any place that scoffs at normalcy is bound to be a good place to watch people. And even after all these years, Art Bar still reigns supreme as the place to go to see Columbia’s weirdest and most diverse blend of folks — and we definitely mean that in a good way.

Honorable mention: Tin Roof, Hickory Tavern

Best Gay Bar

Art Bar

Runner-up: PT’s 1109

Art Bar isn’t a gay bar, yet our readers like to vote for it in this category. Why? Because it’s a refreshingly open-minded place, gay or not. Looking for a fun place to dance — or to just chat at the bar with some friends? Art Bar is your place.

Honorable mention: The Capital Club, The L Word

Best Adult Entertainment Venue

Platinum Plus

Runner-up: Platinum West

Do you enjoy watching topless young women dance and writhe for your benefit? Yes? Then Platinum Plus awaits.

Best Sports Bar

British Bulldog Pub

Runner-up: Carolina Ale House

British Bulldog Pub is, without question, the best place in town to watch a soccer match. Oh sure, they often show other sports there. But the place comes alive for a big soccer match. During the recent Women’s World Cup, the pub often filled up and got loud during games featuring the U.S. team. (The U.S. team that, you know, won the World Cup. But who’s bragging?)

Honorable mention: Buffalo Wild Wings, Wild Hare, Hickory Tavern

Best Happy Hour

Cantina 76

Runner-up: Liberty Tap Room

When you finish work, sometimes you just want to rest your elbows on a comfortable bar and sip a well-made drink. Cantina 76 offers all that — and at crazy good prices, too. Come 5 p.m., this place is jammed.

Honorable mention: Pearlz Oyster Bar, Jake’s

Best Beer Selection

Flying Saucer

Runner-up: World of Beer

Flying Saucer hangs its entire existence on its ability to bring patrons a diverse range of brews that includes some exceedingly hard-to-find concoctions. Based on the crowds that regularly pack the place, they must be doing a fine job.

Honorable mention: Craft and Draft, British Bulldog Pub

Best Craft Beer Selection

Craft and Draft

Runner-up: River Rat Brewery

If you’re looking for a six-pack of some rare new gose to take to a late-summer party, this is your place. With a cozy bar and a well-curated rotating draft selection, Craft and Draft really sets the standard for craft beer.

Honorable mention: Flying Saucer Nominee, World of Beer, Conquest Brewing Company, Grapes and Gallery

Best Local Brewery

River Rat Brewery

Runner-up: Hunter-Gatherer

River Rat Brewery, so named because of the three rivers that flow through Columbia, has carved out quite a reputation in Columbia’s burgeoning beer scene. The Rat has a number of permanent beers on offer, as well as a host of seasonal brews. (The Moncks Corner Abbey Ale is where it’s at.) They also give brewery tours — for all you beer nerds who just have to know how everything is made.

Honorable mention: Conquest Brewing Company, Old Mill Brewpub, Swamp Cabbage

Best Brewpub


Runner-up: River Rat Brewery

Hunter-Gatherer has been playing the brewpub game in Columbia for 20 years now. On the brew side, H-G offers reliable local favorites like the rock-solid ESB. And on the pub side, it serves up exceptional food — not just bar stuff, but a tempting menu augmented with seasonally appropriate, gourmet-level specials.

Honorable mention: Old Mill Brewpub

Best Margarita

Cantina 76

Runner-up: San Jose

Cantina 76 respects the varied art of the margarita. That’s why they offer several top-shelf tequilas, as well as variations from the simple Cantina (agave nectar, lime juice and tequila) to the fancypants Strawberry Basil margarita. Mmm … Strawberry Basil.

Honorable mention: Real Mexico, Monterrey’s, Tio’s

Best Specialty Drink


Runner-up: Motor Supply Company Bistro

As you sit at the retro-chic bar and watch your bartender muddle, shake and sometimes even light your drink on fire, you might think to yourself, “This place makes a damn fine cocktail.” You’d be right.

Honorable mention: Speakeasy, Terra, The Oak Table

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.