Get excited! The future of Columbia SC is looking bright thanks to a slew of new breweries, restaurants and other projects that are on the horizon for the coming year.
Preaching “from the ground to the glass,” sustainability is the name of the game at this farm-style Lexington brewery. Located in the Old Mill, Hazelwood focuses on using local ingredients and includes an on-site farm, a functioning hydroelectric turbine, production brewery and taproom. While the brewery is not open yet, the team has already begun brewing and we think it’s safe to say that Hazelwood is going to be a #gamechanger.
Local chef and restaurateur Kristian Niemi is back at it with Black Rooster, a French restaurant planned for the Brookland Development in West Columbia. Inspired by classic brasseries and bistros, this eatery is going to be serious date night goals. Oh, and did we mention the rooftop bar overlooking the Congaree River, Gervais Street Bridge and downtown Columbia skyline? We have all the heart eyes for those views.
If you’re not feeling French, you can still get a quality Niemi dining experience right in the same development. That’s right, folks. He’s doubling up on restaurants near the river. This one, Capital Prime, will be located on the back side of Brookland and will offer patrons a high-end steak and seafood experience. Located on the ground floor, the restaurant will include a mezzanine that looks straight across the Gervais Street Bridge.
Niemi’s not finished yet. Now bringing a multi-use complex to North Main that will include a restaurant, bocce courts, onsite butcher shop and eventually a beer garden and event venue/ concert hall, Cottontown Social is gearing up to be the place to kick back and stay a while. The menu will focus on sustainability and heritage ingredients and, spanning about 7,000 sq. ft., this will be the first of Niemi’s many projects where space will not be a hindrance to his larger-than-life vision.
Cottontown Brew Lab
Though you’re likely to already see these brews at a few festivals and spots around town, the brewery itself is not yet open for biz. Located in a former auto garage in the North Main part of town, Cottontown is known for its Coffee Stout collaboration with nearby Indah Coffee and the oh-so-refreshing Tropicarolina IPA. Their dedication to community involvement and solid offerings thus far have us jumping at the chance to knock back a few straight from the source.
Piecewise Coffee Company
Get ready to grab a local cup of joe in Cayce with the upcoming Piecewise Coffee Company. Husband and wife owners Stanton and Lindsey Scoma are leading the charge of breathing new life into the district’s old downtown. Not only will the Scomas be caffeinating all who come to Cayce, they’re also taking over a couple of adjacent storefronts to open an art gallery and a Kombucha tea bar (the first of its kind in Columbia SC). Soon, this quaint stretch of State Street will be the perfect place for visitors and locals alike to while away a few hours.
Steel Hands Brewing
And if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than coffee, Cayce is also preparing to introduce its first brewery. Construction is currently underway on Steel Hands Brewing, which, at 10,000 sq. ft., is slated to be the largest brewery in the Midlands. Named for the nearby steel mill, the facility is paying homage to the industrial nature of the area. Co-owner Scott Lambert says their hopes are to provide a Southern anchor and destination point for visitors, while also acting as a catalyst for future hospitality investment. A taproom, restaurant and onsite parking will all be available and, in case they outgrow their 4-acres, they’ve included room for expansion. We’ll cheers to that!
Upgrades to Columbia Museum of Art
It’s no secret that the Columbia Museum of Art is an absolute treasure – displaying prominent international pieces and curating killer blockbuster collections. We honestly didn’t think it could get any better. Well, the museum is currently in the midst of a multi-phase renovation slated to wrap up in December 2018. Phase one (set for completion in August) will see 20 renovated galleries, flexible event space with a catering kitchen and restrooms and renovated meeting space. Phase two includes the new Main Street entrance, a new studio, new gallery space, a revamped gift shop, upgraded program spaces, new event space and enhancements to public spaces to allow for more comfortable places to linger and view additional art pieces. As if all this wasn’t more than enough, the outside Boyd Plaza is also getting a major makeover to generate the feel of a downtown park. New landscaping, seating areas, redesigned fountain and a pair of new pavilions are upping the ante of this popular public space. We. Can’t. Wait.
Two words – Riverfront. Dining. That’s just one of many things Sola Station will bring to the Vista and we are here for it. Part of the CanalSide development, Sola Station will include 713 apartments and 30,000 sq. ft. of retail space lining the public promenade that overlooks the Columbia Canal. It is here that the Saluda, Broad and Congaree Rivers all converge. The plans include space for two or three restaurants and the intent is to create a destination by the river. Uh, we think they’re going to succeed.
O’Hara’s Public House
All lads and lassies will be excited to stumble upon O’Hara’s Public House on Lexington’s Main Street in the near future. Order up some fish and chips or bangers and mash, then chase it down with some pints o’ Guinness. Sláinte!
Angry Fish Brewing
Start your summer by sampling a few craft brews at Angry Fish Brewing in Lexington. Opening June 2nd, this spot features lake-themed beers in a space designed to look like a rustic bait and tackle shop. Go for something sweet and spicy, like the Mango Habanero Ale or something sour, like the Blackberry or Key Lime Goses. Traditional options, like an American Wheat, will also be offered. Pro tip: Get a crowler to go, hit the lake and enjoy sipping in the sunshine.
The former fire station in the Vista is getting a major facelift. Columbia went from having no French restaurants to now getting two within the same year (#spoiled). Looking to open in September, this brasserie covers almost 6,000 sq. ft. and will include private dining space, an oyster bar, a lounge, open kitchen and more. Garage doors will open up onto the patio, where there will be additional seating. Expect to see steak frites and bouillabaisse on the menu, plus weekend brunch options like brioche French toast and eggs benedict. It doesn’t stop there, either. Sitting directly above the restaurant, you’ll find Upstairs at Central Station, a new 7,495 sq. ft. event venue, which will also include a private chef’s table for VIP diners. Merci.
Kao Thai Cuisine
Sharing the fire station with Central Station is Kao Thai Cuisine. If you love Tamarind in Asheville, you’ll love Kao Thai. Because it’s owned by the same dynamite mother-daughter team. Thai street food will combine with fresh, local ingredients to make for an authentic, yet modern, experience. Our mouths are already watering at the prospect of Classic Pad Thai, Basil Lamb Chop and Ginger Soy Scallops. And Kao Thai truly knows the way to our hearts, because the restaurant will serve brunch and potentially a late night small-plate menu. Fingers crossed!
Fresh on the Scene
While you (not so patiently) wait for the aforementioned hot spots to open their doors, check out these gems that are brand new and generating quite the buzz around town.
Kick back with some Bibimbap at this Korean eatery in the Vista. Chic, rustic décor is warm and welcoming, while the food is fresh and flavorful. Start with the Mandoo dumplings or Kimchi Nachos (yes, that’s a real thing and yes, we’re obsessed), then move into some stir-fry or Japchae sweet potato noodles (pssst - no carbs, but you can’t even tell) and then finish the meal off with a to-die-for dessert like the chewy Korean pancake filled with brown sugar and cinnamon topped with vanilla ice cream or the chocolate dipped hazelnut eclairs. Hello, decadence.
This beloved local food truck has gone brick-and-mortar, y’all. The eagerly anticipated restaurant resides inside the historic Endsor building next to Spirit Communications Park. Baseball and barbeque? Yes, please. Bone-In serves up sophisticated takes on Southern staples like Stuffed Collards, Brisket Stuffed Mac and Cheese and a Chicken and Waffle Club Sandwich. Don’t do meat? No problem. Chef Scott Hall has vegetarians in mind with menu offerings like Pulled Jack Fruit or Succotash. Wash it all down with a refreshing frozen cocktail like the Frosé or the Firefly.
If you haven’t poked your head into this stylish new boutique hotel yet, what are you even doing. The whimsical, yet edgy décor will give you major inspo and the local art found around every corner will keep you smiling. Here, unicorns are very real and local craft beer options are always on tap. Is it possible to make an open-ended reservation? Because, trust us, you aren’t going to want to leave.
Bodhi Thai Dining
The dishes at Bodhi Thai Dining in Lexington are equal parts delicious and truly beautiful to behold. Executive Chef Nivit Tipvaree hails from Nakhon Sawan, Thailand and is experienced in Thai, Sushi and French cuisines. Each dish Chef Nivit crafts is an opportunity to create art through taste, texture and appearance. Open for lunch and dinner, menu items range from more casual options like Toong Tong fried wontons and stir-fry or noodle dishes during the day to Pork Belly Steamed Buns and curry or seafood dishes in the evening.
We love a good before and after. In commemoration of the Hampton-Preston Mansion's 200th anniversary, Historic Columbia is debuting an updated interpretation, new exhibits, hands-on interactive elements, expanded public gardens, a new exterior paint scheme and further structural improvements to the building. (And we’ve gotta say, it doesn’t look a day over 150!) Executive Director Robin Waites says these changes come after almost 20 years of meticulous research and the new narrative – delivered through guided tours, digital interactives and hands-on elements – will strike more of a balance and be inclusive to all voices who have been associated with the property over the years. We’re ready to dive in and learn more about this old favorite… and then go enjoy our lunch in the breathtaking garden.
Ten local artists currently call Stormwater Studios home. Three industrial-style buildings make up the complex and include artist studios, galleries, workshop spaces and potentially even living spaces. However, Stormwater is also a place that invites the public. Interactive outdoor space, event space, a sculpture garden and a trail along Kinsler Creek welcome visitors. Stormwater joins Lewis + Clark and One-Eared Cow on the outskirts of the Vista to create an incredible arts corridor. We bet you can’t leave without something creative in hand.
Looking for something fun to do in Columbia SC? Visit our Things To Do page.