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Date Night in the Capital City

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Playful cocktails are sure to elicit smiles when you visit the Robinson Room.

In the capital city of Columbia, date night takes on different flavors, depending upon which area of town you’ve set your sights on and the kind of evening you’re envisioning. Among the most popular settings for a couple’s night out is Main Street and the vicinity in the heart of downtown. The options for fun, entertainment and great dining are rich and varied to suit whatever your purpose is, from just-getting-to-know-you activities to close encounters of the romantic kind. Here is an itinerary guaranteed to suit both styles and everything in between.

Have a ball solving riddles and clues with a downtown scavenger hunt from Let’s Roam.

Follow the Clues

Discover more about what makes the city—and each other—tick when you team up for a scavenger hunt. Let’s Roam offers interactive, date night-themed walking excursions you can undertake at any time on any day. Select the “date night” option when you purchase tickets online, then don your walking shoes for a leisurely 90-minute to two-hour hunt. Download the Let’s Roam app on your phone and navigate your way down Main Street and the vicinity as you follow the provided clues. Locate landmarks, solve riddles and take wacky pics and selfies to document your adventure. Passing an enticing pub or coffee shop? Stop when and where you please by putting your hunt on “pause.” Whether you’re working together toward the common goal of snagging a cold beverage or successfully finding every hotspot on your hunt, it’s bound to be an informative and entertaining couple-building exercise.

Tip: Make sure to bring along a more stylish pair of shoes to change into when the scavenger hunt is over. 

Bites and Sips

Stop by the car, change your shoes, then stroll hand-in-hand (or drive to a Main Street parking spot if you’re all walked out) to the Lula Drake Wine Parlour. It’s an ideal spot for cozy conversations, crave-worthy eats and thoughtfully curated drinks featuring an impressive lineup of wines, craft beers, cocktails and low-alcohol spritzes. Many of the food offerings on the menu (think sumptuous charcuterie boards, cheesy arancini, sherry shrimp with toasted bread) invite sharing for added intimacy. But feel free to opt for your own dish of fresh, house-made pasta or a bountiful green salad flecked with fruit to reflect your individual tastes and satisfy a dinner-sized appetite. Fun fact: The wine bar’s name was inspired by the discovery of a trunk in the building’s basement. Tucked inside was a gold-embossed calling card with the name “Lula Drake.” As it turns out, Ms. Drake, who owned her own hat shop, was a force to be reckoned with in a world teeming with male entrepreneurs. Keep that bit of history in mind for a lively, date-night topic of conversation.

Tip: Don’t linger too long and do leave a little tummy room. You’ll need to take one more short walk to reach the evening’s romantic, sweet finale.

 

Save room for one of the Robinson Room’s world-class desserts.

Sweet Dreams

Because you reserved in advance, a late-night table awaits you and your honey at the Robinson Room—a dessert and cocktail lounge operating in the lower level of everybody’s favorite adult fun zone, The Grand on Main. This hidden gem really delivers the “wow” factor with its swanky vibe and world-class creations developed in conjunction with New York Michelin-starred pastry chef Rory MacDonald. Each dessert is paired with a cocktail crafted with ingredients from an outstanding roster of rare and exclusive liquors. By way of example, there’s the Chocolate Orange, a decadent orb of Earl Grey-infused chocolate mousse sheathed in a blood orange glaze and served with a Smoked Old Fashioned. Presentations can also take a whimsical turn to deliver smile-inducing delight. Consider the cheery cocktail called Duck, Duck, Drink!—a creamy concoction served in its own tiny claw-foot tub with a darling rubber duckie floating on top. It goes great with the Apple Tarte Tatin, served warm in a cast iron pan with a scoop of house-made smoked ice cream on the side. Date night endings don’t get much dreamier—or delicious—than this.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.