The longstanding Columbia location of Flying Saucer, the extensively stocked draught houses that refer to their regulars as "beerknurds," will close on Dec. 10, the bar announced on Facebook today.
“It is with a heavy heart that we will be closing our doors," the post reads. "After sixteen great years in Columbia, the time has come for us to move on,”
“We are going to make the most of our remaining week here with you all, serving world-class beer while it lasts, soaking up The Vista, and celebrating with our Beerknurds.”
The company has no plans to stay in the Columbia market, the chain's vice president of operations Larry Richardson tells Free Times, declining to elaborate on the specifics of the closure.
"It’s just a business decision on our part, we’ve been there 15 good plus years," he says. "We've had a great landlord, loved their building.'
The bar opened in 2003 and is known for its wide selection of brews and its UFO club, wherein folks who drink many different beers are rewarded with customized plates hanging on the walls, with the most prodigious consumers featured in the Ring of Honor. Per the Facebook post, Flying Saucer’s last days will feature $4 drafts and bottles that range from $4 to $10, depending on size.
In a statement — forwarded to Free Times after requests for comment were made to the Columbia Flying Saucer and the chain's corporate office — the Texas-based company says that those with plates can pick them up on Dec. 7 and 8 during normal business hours. If a patron hasn't yet earned a plate, they can continue to work towards it at the other 15 Flying Saucer locations — the closest of which are in Charlotte and Raleigh.
Per the company, the Columbia location's general manager is supporting staff and helping place them at new positions. While salaried employees are receiving severance and have relocation options.
The bar has "focused on bringing the best beer to Columbia" across its 16 years, says Keith Schlabs, a partner at the Flying Saucer company.
"We’ve shared our knowledge with countless employees and customers, all of whom are very special to us. I hope our faithful Columbia Beerknurds will come see us to help us drain the taps, say goodbye and go out with a bang," Schlabs says in the statement.
The Flying Saucer’s closure comes after the bar had made several changes to its service model in August. It trimmed its menu to one page, reduced beer prices and slashed table service for food orders.
At the time, Nicholas Scofield, a key manager at the Columbia Flying Saucer, told Free Times that the shift mirrored what other bars and breweries were doing.
“You see what’s good and what’s bad and you’ve got to tighten up and make it a bit more streamlined and efficient, especially financially,” he said.
Flying Saucer's exit continues a small streak of Vista-based establishments closing recently, with Nonnah’s, Takosushi and The Casual Pint all shuttering last month.