Turn it Up: Music in the Midlands
Wednesday, August 19, 2020 12:00 AM by McClelland Schilling
Columbia SC has something to offer music lovers of all genres for a guaranteed rollicking good time. From concert halls and lively bars to virtual events, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about our eclectic music scene. And although we can’t enjoy all of these venues in-person, dancing in the front row right now, we can Dream On until we can get back to our favorite stages.
Dinner and a Show
In the heart of The Vista, the Tin Roof knows how to do dinner and a show. Weeknights call for laidback, acoustic vibes, while Friday and Saturday are for the weekend warriors. Before you hit the dance floor, start the night with some “Better Than Bar Food” dishes and their signature “Tin Roof Favorites” mixed drinks. Check their website to make a reservation. Connected to Tin Roof, you’ll find The Senate, a mid-size venue that knows how to rock. Hosting a full calendar of artists, you can expect an alternative rock, hip hop, EDM, country, or bluegrass show to be going on any given day.
Za's on Devine
You know what pairs well with wine Wednesday? Live music. And Za's on Devine knows how to both. Stop in for select $4 glasses of wine and music. The sweet tunes will definitely have you wanting to stick around a little longer. May we recommend an order of the zoodles with your jazz jams?
Down in the Main Street district, the Main Course is serving concert goers with the ultimate experience. Enjoy live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and while you wait for your favorite act to go on, challenge yourself to a virtual sporting game or take bliss in the award-winning chef-inspired menu.
If jazz and blues are your go-to genres, then you need to know about Columbia’s best-kept secret: Chayz Lounge. Right across the river in West Columbia, this sophisticated and warm lounge is the perfect place to kick back, raise a glass, and experience performances by talents from all over. For those who prefer to enjoy their tunes at home, Chayz is also offering virtual events.
The White Mule
Laidback and unique, The White Mule is for music lovers who want to take it all in. At this community favorite, every chord and every key will be music to your ears as you relax in the intimate ambiance of this Five Points venue.
After having dinner in The Vista, let your ears guide you toward Park Street, where you’ll find Art Bar. From the strings of lights to the vibrant décor, this isn’t your average bar y’all. Become immersed in the music at this cozy venue, and discover some of the best local bands in the heart of SC.
The Joint at 1710
Columbia’s temperate climate means experiencing the outdoor music scene is a must. Start in Lexington and you’ll find the beautifully landscaped Icehouse Amphitheater. With its electric atmosphere, and plenty of space to show off your best dance moves, Icehouse Amphitheater is a good time, anytime.
Front Coffee and Tap
Or take it down to the Conargee at The Front Coffee & Tap for Jazz on the River, where you can settle in for a relaxed evening of live music while you sip on draft beer or wine.
Market on Main
Shopping for Music
Papa Jazz Record Shoppe
Nothing compares to the experience of watching music being performed right in front of you, but that also comes with post-concert blues. The cure? Turn to your trusty music library for comfort. Expand your collection by taking a trip to Papa Jazz Record Shop in Five Points. Jazz is their specialty, but you’ll also find R&B, punk, rock, reggae, and more hidden gems at a great price.
Get your coffee and music fix all in one place: Drip Coffee in 5 Points. In the front of this popular coffee shop, you'll find bustling baristas and a bar full of baked goods. Head to the back of Drip though, and a quieter space with hundreds of vinyls to sort through awaits. Grab a coffee to fuel the hunt for your next favorite album.
Virtual concerts are all the rage these days, and we’re not mad about it. Being able to watch a concert in the comfort of your PJs while supporting local artists? Sign us up! Live stream shows with ColaJazz, and tune into Jazz from the South, presented by The Skipp Pearson Jazz Foundation, to bring the music home to you.
Big Venues to Visit Down the Road
Colonial Life Arena
Elton John, Ariana Grande, Hootie & the Blowfish… When the biggest names in the music industry come through the Capital City, Colonial Life Arena is where they take the stage. The largest arena in the state of South Carolina, this state-of-the-art facility is equipped with a technologically advanced sound system that makes for a concert experience like no other.
If you prefer to keep things classic, you’d be remiss in not seeing a show at Columbia’s premier performing arts hub, Koger Center. The South Carolina Philharmonic performs here, and the center hosts shows by the University of South Carolina School of Music, including the UofSC Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading ensembles in the Southeast. Broadway In Columbia also calls the Koger Center home, and who doesn’t love musicals?
At Township Auditorium, you’ll find non-stop entertainment. This historic venue hosts a variety of performances that range from seated concerts to rockin’ shows that will be sure to get you up on your feet. Make a whole day out of it and start with tours at Historic Columbia and end your evening right next door with a show at Township Auditorium.