Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Columbia nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Columbia Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.


The Vista

An upscale hotspot catering to well-dressed professionals, Rust provides a comfortable atmosphere, unobtrusive jazzy music, a lengthy list of premium scotches, whiskeys and cigars, and a small plates menu with enough variety to keep everyone happy. Nibble on crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, ribs or a miniature peppercorn-crusted filet mignon. Order a dramatic flaming coffee or dessert for a fun finish.

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The Speakeasy is swanky and cool, and attracts a more mature crowd. Students are still here (this is Five Points, after all) but they're not as rowdy! Live jazz a couple nights a week, ample and cozy seating, and a vast drinks menu ensure repeat business. Professionally-dressed bartenders are adept, and serve from dozens of premium spirits and some 200 beers. Occasional theme parties are always a hit – get out your flapper costume!

Read more about Delaney's Speakeasy →

On weekdays Mac's does a brisk business with the lunch crowd, offering a full buffet of Southern favorites like fried chicken, ribs, shrimp and grits and peach cobbler. In the evening, dinner is accompanied by live music from the house band or a local or visiting group, or perhaps an open jam session. Stop by for a heaping plate of down-home goodness and stick around for some cool jazz or rockin' blues.

Read more about Mac's on Main →

The Vista

A stylish nightclub atmosphere, an eclectic schedule of entertainment and tasty appetizers have made Hush a popular hangout. Enjoy jazz and poetry, Latin rhythms, rock, '80s hits and soul from live bands and DJs. If hunger strikes, sample crab cakes, spinach artichoke dip, mini beef Wellingtons, or smoked salmon on salad greens. A great place to meet with friends, or for a date.

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University Of South Carolina

This ultra-cool bar is the perfect place to have a microbrew and a quiet conversation. Though it fills up on weekends, weeknights are relatively calm. It's fun to people watch, as a cool, artsy crowd congregates here, but the décor is equally interesting, with dark walls, ethnic art, and a mezzanine level. Excellent house-brewed ales and a hip roster of live music, including jazz on Thursdays.

Read more about Hunter-Gatherer Brewery →

This Vista spot is a upscale gathering spot that gets great reviews for its wine list (more than 40 available by the glass) and awesome selection of tapas. The setting is sharp and sophisticated without being too dressy, and there's patio seating for evenings when it's nice out. Well-heeled 20-somethings keep the bar area lively, especially on the weekends, and they're especially keen on Gervais & Vine's lineup of craft brews.

Read more about Gervais & Vine →

The Vista

A small Southern chain with a dozen locations from San Antonio to Charleston, Flying Saucer has special appeal for beer aficionados. That's because the place keeps about 80 beers on tap, and dozens more in bottles. Plant yourself out on the deck or on a couch inside, and start exploring the beer list! The bar food is filling and good and appropriately enough, has a German slant.

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A fashionable destination in the Vista, Blue Martini specializes in creative cocktails and upscale nibbles such as unusual stuffed olives and baked brie. If decision-making is not your strong point, good luck choosing from among the 80 or so martinis on offer! Live jazz on weekends, and a connected art gallery, provide enjoyable distraction. Lively and fun but not at all your typical college hangout.

Read more about The Blue Martini →

If beer is your poison, Liberty Taproom should be on your itinerary. You'll find an array of ales, lagers, stouts, porters and more on tap, both domestic and imported, along with their own special brews – it's an ideal place to sample something you haven't tried before. Wash your beer down with all-American favorites like burgers, steaks, wings, big salads, pizza and barbecued chicken. Fun and relaxed.

Read more about Liberty Taproom & Grill →