Despite its fun "Soda City" moniker (attained when the U.S. Postal Service shortened Columbia to "Cola"), the capital city is a hotspot for refreshing drinks of all kinds. This includes, of course, adult libations and creative mocktails.
From lively brew-centric gatherings to sublime sit-downs over hand-crafted concoctions, fine vintages, and inspired small plates, Columbia's restaurants and bars offer a variety of experiences for ending your day - or beginning your night - on a relaxing, sociable note.
Motor Supply Co. Bistro
What it's known for: The farm-to-table concept doesn't just apply to the food at Motor Supply, a mainstay in Columbia's Congaree Vista. All of the cocktails are farm-to-shaker, from the house-infused liquors to the fresh bitters, plus they supply craft beers from local Carolina breweries. And let's not forget, Motor Supply's cocktail program has earned accolades from the likes of Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure and Southern Living, among others.
Style: Farm-to-table, dinner, eclectic
Address: 920 Gervais St., Columbia
Hampton Street Vineyard
What it's known for: Unwind after work like the Europeans do when you opt for l'apero hour at Hampton Street Vineyard, a French-style brasserie tucked away in a downstairs aclove just off Main Street. Each weekday from 4 to 6 p.m., enjoy the French traditon of pre-dinner drinks and light eats. It's the perfect way to ease into your evening or kickstart a night of romance in Columbia.
Style: Cozy, French, lunch, dinner, brunch
Address: 1207 Hampton St., Columbia
What it's known for: This narrow, lively gathering spot near the SC State House is aptly named Bourbon to honor the drink and its New Orleans-inspired menu. The list of cocktails as well as the selection of bourbon and spirits are extensive - as in close to 500 whiskeys, most of which are bourbon, rye or Tennessee whisky. Find out why this favorite haunt of the cocktail hour crowd repeatedly lands on Bourbon Review's list of America’s Best Bourbon Bars.
Style: Southern, Cajun, lunch, dinner, brunch
Address: 1214 Main St., Columbia
Gervais & Vine
What it's known for: Though they specialize in delicious Spanish and Mediterranean-style tapas, Gervais & Vine also boasts a stellar wine list featuring more than 40 wines by the glass. They have a great selection of beer and top-shelf liquors as well, so you can eat well, drink plenty and always be merry.
Style: Dinner, Mediterranean, Spanish
Address: 620 Gervais St., Columbia
The Rooftop Lounge at Sheraton
What it's known for: One of Columbia's best spots for cocktails can be found on the rooftop on one of its oldest high-rises. The beautiful Sheraton Hotel has a bar simply called "The Rooftop" that provides the most picturesque views of South Carolina's capital city. It's the perfect place for drinks and conversation.
Style: Rooftop bar
Address: 1400 Main St., Columbia
Coa Agaveria y Cocina
What it's known for: Coa Agaveria y Cocina is a true gem of a find in South Carolina’s capital city, and an absolute must for your cocktail hour bucket list. With a authentic menu representing the drinks and cuisine of Mexico's Oaxaca and Jalisco, this exotic, dimly lit lounge brings a touch of the exotic to the heart of Columbia’s Vista. Stop in for hand-crafted sips like the El Conejo de Sonora, the La Isla Bonita or the Otro Planeta. No mixes here - cocktails are made from freshly squeezed juices, muddled herbs, the finest agave-based spirits and high-end tequila and mezcal.
Style: Tapas, lunch, dinner, Mexican
Address: 823A Lady St., Columbia
Lula Drake Wine Parlour
What it's known for: Cocktail hours at Lula Drake are defined by cozy conversations, crave-worthy eats and thoughtfully curated drinks featuring an impressive lineup of wines, craft beers, cocktails and low-alcohol spritzes. Nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Hospitality Award in 2023, this inviting wine bar is sure to be a favorite on your cocktail hour line-up.