by Dr. Lori
Columbia, South Carolina
A trip to Columbia, South Carolina would not be complete without taking in the sites in and around the University of South Carolina. A major force in the SEC football conference, USC is located in South Carolina’s bustling state capital.
Columbia is home to a world-class university that attracts big name events and speakers, great dining options, and residents who share true southern hospitality with visitors.
I visited Columbia to present my Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show at the Columbia Convention Center. My tour stops at 150 sites every year and on this my first visit to Columbia i got a taste of the south at a few choice restaurants and, as expected in this college town, bars.
I had a craft beer featuring wheat with raspberries at a downtown bar called the Flying Saucer. It was a pretty cool place and an obvious undergraduate hangout. I liked the decorative china plates that lined the walls of the place. The printed and glazed transfer ware plates, hand painted saucers, tin beer trays, and decorated chargers adorned the walls in keeping with the name of the joint. Sandwiches were reasonably priced and filling. A turkey melt was served on ciabatta bread with honey mustard dressing and a side of French fries. Beer mugs overflowed and the atmosphere was fun-filled and meant for the 20-something set however, the place was not too loud or wild for a college bar.
For a late lunch or casual dinner after the football game with the family, I suggest the Liberty tavern. Entrees such as meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and fish & chips were Gamecock fan favorites according to our waiter, Conner, a surfer saving his tips to move to California after college.
The food and service were good. I chose a cup of she-crab soup which featured a good amount of crabmeat in a creamy broth with some veggies. For my main course, I had the Blue Ribbon chicken salad (a Liberty mainstay) which offered a generous portion of lettuce, ham, fried chicken, red onions, and tomatoes in a spicy dressing. I passed on their famous banana foster cheesecake even though our waiter Conner reported that one patron drives four hours every week to indulge in the rich dessert. With the price of gas, it must be worth it.
If you find yourself in Columbia, SC, don’t miss the football games, USC spirit, capital city’s history, or the fine food and drink. This southern city is great for a quick trip as it is long on charm.