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Nibbles & Sips: A few options for Valentine’s Day in Columbia


You can get heart-shaped steaks from The Fresh Market.

Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, which means people are more likely to go all out. To facilitate the fun, a lot of Columbia restaurants and bars have special events and menu offerings. Many of these require reservations, which is why we are sharing these early so you can get something special on the calendar for you and your favorite person. — April Blake

Out on the Town

Old Mill Brewpub Beer Dinner: If you and your Valentine both love beer, Lexington’s Old Mill Brewpub is serving up a four-course dinner with pairings from Cottontown Brew Lab and Blake’s Hard Cider. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased on Eventbrite. — April Blake

ColaJazz Dinner at Main Course: If being serenaded by sweet jazz melodies over a table of sumptuous dinner offerings is more your speed, reserve a table for a three-course meal (including special vegan options). Tickets are $50 on Eventbrite. — April Blake

Celebrate Love Dinner Dance & Social: Enjoy an adult night out with an upscale buffet, champagne bar, and a dance floor fueled by DJ MAC at the Trinity Conference Center. Tickets are $50 on Eventbrite. — April Blake

Capital City Club’s Valentine’s Dinner: Be as high as you can in Columbia at the Capital City Club’s Valentine’s Dinner, which includes a four-course dinner, plenty of wine, live music and spectacular views from 25 floors above the city. Tickets are $65 per person or $120 per couple. Reservations are required by Feb. 12; call 803-256-2000. — April Blake

Lula Drake: The Main Street wine bar will have a three-course wine dinner for $70 per person or $120 for a couple. Owner/certified wine sommelier Tim Gardner will pick each course’s wine pairing. Not looking to spend your night at one place only? Lula is letting folks buy each course separately at varying price points. As usual, walk-ins welcome. — David Clarey

Ristorante Divino: With Italian food being the most commonly sought-after cuisine on V-Day, Ristorante Divino is taking $50 non-refundable deposits on dinner to secure a seat. Call 803-799-4550 to make a reservation. — April Blake

Wine and Chocolate Pairing at The Vino Garage: The tasting will feature four different wines paired with truffles from Evolution Through Chocolate. There’s two seatings — at 6 p.m. if you want to get your dessert on before dinner, or 7:30 p.m. Reserve your spot for $20 per person. — Tug Baker

Belgian Waffle Truck at Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company: Valentine at the Brewery will feature two seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m, with a five-course meal (with vegetarian options) and beer available for purchase, as well. Tickets are $35 each and available on the event’s Facebook page. — Tug Baker

Stay In

The Fresh Market: The store is offering a pick-up Valentine’s dinner for you to cook at home, but the best part is the heart-shaped ribeyes. Grab two from Feb. 5 to 18 for $15.99 a pound from any Fresh Market location. — April Blake

Village Idiot: For $18, you can get a large one-topping pizza with the toppings arranged in a heart shape, candy hearts and a personalized Valentine featuring Jingles, the Village Idiot mascot. Order pies in person at any of their three locations, by calling 803-252-8646, or order online at — April Blake

Do You Want to Be a Barbecue Judge?

Looking to hone your barbecue assessing skills? The South Carolina Barbecue Association is offering a class to become a certified judge this weekend in Columbia. 

Free Times detailed the SCBA’s judge certification process in a 2017 cover story, and, put simply, it’s a little intense. After the initial course, participants then have to judge three barbecue competitions under the watchful eye of a master judge before receiving the lowest judge certification level. To achieve higher judging ranks, one must devote more time to competitions.

If you’re interested, reach out to SCBA President Jim Wellman via email ( or apply online at

The class is open to SCBA members and is at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 1715 Bull St. on Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It costs $50 to participate in the class; SCBA memberships cost $35 for one person and $60 for a family. — David Clarey

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