The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Not Rated.
The Flying Saucer Draught EmporiumThe Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
BA SCORE
88
very good

47 Ratings
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: n/a
Taps: 24
Bottles: 30
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

931 Senate St
Columbia, South Carolina, 29201-3153
United States
phone: (803) 933-9712

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @flyingsaucercol

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: GCBrewingCo)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of jaswilson2
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of HuntDaddy540
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Seanem44
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.25

I have frequented this location often, as for a time I was going to Ft. Jackson every summer for officer and military development. I have made it a habit to go to flying Saucer every time I'm in town.

The atmosphere is great if you are in to loud college-scene bars. However, this one is a little more classy. It's comfy with a fair amount of space inside.

The waitresses are well dressed and very attentive, taking time to discuss beer choices.

Food is decent, though that's never why I go there.

The beer selection is great! Hundreds of beers, all there for your tasting delight. I usually do flights when I go, and the waitresses are quick to offer suggestions based upon your taste. They have great working knowledge of their products. Prices range from cheap to very expensive depending on the beer. They have it all.

I will say that every time I have gone there has been at least one or two beers I wanted that they did not have available, though they were listed.

If you are in an area by one of these, stop by. You won't be disappointed.

Photo of Kenyon
2.88/5  rDev -26%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3.75

Ok, I know the Saucer is a great place but the last visit was disappointing. The World Beer Festival was in Columbia last weekend and as usual for the last 6 years three of us in the retail beer end of things attended and as usual the first stop Friday was the Saucer. Sat at the bar and perused the draught beer list. Great, several excellent beer appeared there. We ordered one, "sorry we are out of that one" order another, same answer. We went through 5 selections before we found an excellent beer but not a stellar "we done get this very often" selection. We asked why those several stellar beers weren't available and the answer was "well the World Beer Festival is inn town". This is Friday afternoon, not Saturday night. Someone planned very poorly in the ordering department. Next, in years past the Saucer has replacement kegs for a tap when the serving keg was empty. Maybe a different selection but at least a new offering. This year they just put golf club covers over the empty kegs and had fewer offerings. Finally, unlike last year when Sam Adams was raffling off tastes of Utopia and there were lots of brewers and brewery reps around the Saucer, this year there was very little going on.

Later that night we did find a couple of stellar beers and several brewery reps and brewers but the were all next door at the World of Beer.

We will be back next year and hope that the beer festival is as good as it was this year and that the Saucer is back to its previous outstanding self.

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Bernoulli
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Comfortable and non-crowded in the heart of Columbia's Vista. The inside, like the rest of Columbia is non-smoking. Unfortunately the patio attracts an appalling number of cigar smokers.

Over two-hundred beers and ciders on the menu at any one time... but you should have a back-up ready because it isn't uncommon for them to be out.

Some of the food is very good (the Nacho's, the pizza, the spicy beer cheese soup) and some of it is generic bar food.

For the past several years the waitresses have been attentive and consistently knowledgeable. There are supposedly places within a block or two with a better selection or with better food... but its hard to leave a place that feels like home.

Edit: Upped the service to 4.5. The two servers we've had since we first entered this have been much more knowledgeable and attentive.

Photo of alanforbeer
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Decent place that has improved in the last year or so. They have a large selection of brews, and decent rate of turnover. Plenty of local stuff, lots of Highland, Thomas Creek, RJ Rockers.

Food is decent if you know what to order. I recommend the brats. Burgers are good, and they make a darn good German-style potato salad.

My primary complaint about this place is the prices. This can be mitigated by going on a Monday night (half-price pints). They have other deals on other days of the week, including half-price local brews (i.e. the Carolinas) on Sundays. They also get occasional "rare" kegs, but you'll pay a premium for a pull of one of those...

Photo of katahdin01
2.68/5  rDev -31.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

I have been to Flying Saucer in Cola, SC three times. The service was comically slow. Waitresses were unfamiliar with the selections listed on a board as specials. *Stock*: many-many of the non-seasonal beers on the menu were out of stock. We ordered appetizers which took over one hour to arrive, despite the slow crowd (2-4p). Burger was overcooked. Other Flying Saucer locations I have visited were fine, this one seems to be an anomaly. The waitresses, decked out in the traditional (for this location) mini-skirts, seemed pretty spaced out and were not able to answer any of the most basic questions (about the beers) from others in our party. On the third visit, I brought some concerns to the manager, about the very slow or absent service, and the low stock. He seemed aloof, disinterested.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

If you've been to one Flying Saucer you've been to them all, or at least you know what to expect. Lots of taps, usually deals on local beers, plaid skirts with knee-high socks, passable food. You can generally find something pretty special on tap (2009 Abbey St Bon Chien this time) and lots of very solid beers of many styles.

Convenient to downtown hotels, this was only a 2 block walk from the Hampton Inn. Columbia looks like a sleepy town to me, and although a World of Beer just opened (never stepped foot inside) Flying Saucer is an easy and reliable choice.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Noticeably smaller than the Flying Saucer in Austin, TX. Otherwise, pretty much the exact same menu aside from a different selection of local/regional brews.

Not cheap. The constantly rotating "fire sales" on the chalkboard are your best bet for getting a good beer at a decent price.

While this place has a pretty big number of beers, my main beef with it is that any beer geek has probably had the vast majority of them. Their craft beer selection seems to come straight from the shelves of Albertsons or some low end beer store.

On the plus side, they did have a nice selection of Trappist beers. Pretty much one from each brewery except for Westvletern, obviously.

Worth going to if you're in the area and want some craft beer you've probably had before. Otherwise, your best shot at finding something new is just to hit up Green's beer store.

Photo of Brewski4Drewski
4.2/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The Flying Saucer is the only bar and eatery in Columbia, to my knowledge, that I feel comfortable going to drink at and handing out my hard earned cash. The vibes are solid, lots of stuffs on the wall and couches to sit and chill at. Good ambiance. Dart boards and arcade games are there for those who enjoy them. Long bar with dozens of tap choices. Large selection of bottles as well. Overall the pub-ish feeling bar has a good plethora of beer (if not the best in downtown Columbia). Flying Saucer's Beer Goddesses will make sure you are thoroughly lubricated and informed, they are required to take tests on the menu first and foremost, the beer. As the name implies the serving staff might be the best also, 2nd maybe to Hooter's. The bar staff is good, but some better than others. Holler at my man Judson, (usually wears a black "Weiss Ass" shirt)he is by far the most knowledgeable and just overall a cool guy. Show them love and rest assured you will see the love returned. As for food I have only messed with the Luxe Cheeseburgers (standard burger with gourmet cheeses ex: gruyere, cotswold, goat, etc.) and cheese fries, which are satisfying bar food. The Saucer gets my vote and I usually fly 1-2x a week. Maybe lower prices would make it the top destination. Only gripe I have here... more dark beers!!

Photo of gatorbreath
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Come through on Sun-Mon nights for good deals on local beer, and pint nite!

This place offers the card where you can achieve one revolution by trying 200 beers and getting a plate on the wall, then you can do it all again. This idea was bitten by a restaurant nearby. The concept is cool, keeps people coming back often, and makes for less of a Bar environment.

Lots of couches to sit, tables for friends, room at the bar.

Service is good, the girls know whats up with their beers because they must take tests, etc. The bartenders always look out.

Rare keg, buy the beer, get the glass, pint nite, usually up there 3z weekly. Enjoying the vibe.

Lots of pretty ladies, lots of TV screens for sports/events, and the suds are most definitely flowing.

They have a few decent eats as well!

Enjoy!

Photo of biermark
2.4/5  rDev -38.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 4

We been going to the Columbia, SC Flying Saucer for 5 years. Just like the review below, a step above BMC but barely.

After several managers, the place has steadily declined from the best beer-bar in Columbia to a so-so joint. The first to go were high gravity pours and live bands. The selection of drafts has steadliy declined, almost the inverse of the best local beer shop Greens. Belgian pours avg more for a snifter than for a 750ml. Many craft and import pints are the priced the same way. The happy hour 22 oz tall glasses at pint cost are gone, replaced by -$1 on pints. The place is being ran into the ground and it's really sad. The Charlotte FS is much smaller, doesn't have as large an outdoor deck but has much more going on. Beer Advocate mag is full of unique places, Columbia used to have one.

Captain Keith - step in and save this place!

Photo of southside
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It's the best place to grab a craft beer in Columbia, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. It is an awesome place to someone just getting into anything other than the BMC beers, but to people who drink beer as a hobby it is nothing too amazing. The atmosphere is really cool...they have bands occasionally and porch is great when the weather is warm. The prices are a little high and their beer on draft is never very impressive and mostly subject to local beer and anything you can pick up at a gas station.

Photo of mattkoon
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

the flying saucer delivers as soon as you walk in the door and see the long bar with a huge variety of taps behind it. they have a very large draft selection. you can even order "beer tours" where they will give you a tray of samples so you can try several beers in a visit. the food there is good and the female servers dress in schoolgirl uniforms... which is just an added perk. the saucer also will have live music from time to time which makes for a fun expierence. its one of the better beer bars in columbia if you aim to get a taste of several different beers in one sitting.

Photo of mmonagh1
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

The beer quality and selection are excellent, including of regional beers. Also, the menu changes, with new beers added regularly. The food is good with the beer, and includes hummus, smoked salmon and a good selection of cheeses and meats. The physical space is big and relatively open, so the atmosphere is good but not exceptional. The bar and the booths are the best. It is also nice to sit on the deck. Like other Flying Saucers I've visited, the service is mixed, since they hire young women who seem to have uneven beer knowledge and interest - some know a lot and care and some don't.

Photo of jpmclaug
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've been to 3 Flying Saucers and I would rank this one as the second best I've been to (after Memphis before Charlotte).

This place is big and I have never had a hard time finding a place to sit. Granted I've never arrived late at night on any of their busier nights. They have several TV's and a huge projector they use for special sporting events. There is no smoking inside so that is a definite plus, however you can smoke at the tables outside so when my dad comes to town I can still take him.

The service is pretty good. Sometimes you can get a bad waitress but most tend to be pretty good. They aren't as knowledgeable as your average BA but they aren't clueless when it comes to beer.

The selection is great. They have an extensive draft list and a lot of other things in bottles. They carry a lot of beers brewed in the Carolinas (and even have those on special on Sundays, my favorite day to go). They even had 3 different vintages of Sexual Chocolate when I went a few Sundays ago. Only the newest was on special but $2.75 SC was a great deal.

The food is solid. If I wanted to go out to eat somewhere nice I wouldn't go here but if I wanted to go out and have some beers and have a decent meal then I would. The big dipper is a great sandwich. Also the hot German potato salad is delicious. Cheese fries are also pretty solid. They also have a decent selection of vegetarian options and even some vegan ones.

Overall this is one of the better places in Columbia to drink beer. It doesn't wow you but it is a good place to go and I visit this place regularly. Luckily for my wallet it is on the other side of the city so I'm not in there all the time!

Photo of ocmpoma
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

visited on 28 Nov 09:

Stopped by the Flying Saucer after dinner while in town visiting a friend for Thanksgiving. After stopping at a couple of disappointing bars down in the Five Points area earlier in the weekend, I was looking forward to Columbia's premier beer bar. It wasn't as good as I expected, though.

Granted, it was on a Saturday after a big USC game, but the bar was not overly crowded -- there were more than a few empty tables. Service was still slow; I had polished off my pint (a German hefe poured into normal US pint glass) well before our waitress returned to see how we were doing. She also took a bit to come back and tell one of us that the Tripel Karmeliet ordered was not available, recommending a Tres Pistoles instead... So, in addition to an at-best average experience and an overall vibe that just didn't work for me, but my major gripe was that their vast number of taps were taken up with what for me are a lot of stand-bys or US pale ales. In other words, most of the beers I would like to have on tap were available only in bottles because the pale ales, etc. were eating the tap slots.

That said, this place is head and shoulders above the other bars we stopped at in town. So, while I was disappointed, I'd still head there if I was in the area and wanted some brews on tap.

Photo of Fireboy
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This Flying Saucer is similar to the others I've been to. They have a huge bar with about 70 taps, tables for eating and the couches, living room chairs, and coffee tables for just kicking back at. Mondays are $2.75 draft night, as long as it's not "high gravity" which seemed to be about 7ish% or above. There is a pretty good selection of regional beers including; Sweetwater, Terrapin, Highland, Foothills, and Thomas Creek. All the drafts I had were fresh and seemed well cared for.
The food menu is a bit more limited than the beer menu. The double brat sandwich was good, but I'd steer clear of the beer cheese soup. It was way spicier than I would expect and there was only about 4 oz. of it in the small bread bowl it's served in.
Since Columbia is a college town, most of the waitresses looked very nice in their uniforms. Both of the servers we had on our visits there last week seemed knowledable about the beers and were very attentive to our needs. When back in Columbia we'll definately visit again.

Photo of theghost3
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Flying Saucer is definitely a college bar. Just walk in the Columbia location, and you'll see what I mean. Lots of cute girls & frat guys. They also have a sort of hall of fame where they list the names of people who have had 200+ varieties of beer there.

Quality is good. I had a Victory Moonglow in the bottle, and it was very fresh. The taps lines seemed clean as well. The service was a bit lacking. Inattentive, and a little on the flakey side with comments like, you know that's a bottled beer, right?

Selection is excellent--Avery, Victory, Highland, Carolina as well as lots of German & English beers. Then again, anything is better than Louisiana. The food's pretty good too. There's the typical bar stuff--hamburgers, pizza, and sandwiches. There are also cheese pairing boards.

Overall, a pretty decent experience.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Atmosphere is pretty good. The location in the Vista makes for a pretty nice mix of people, always a welcome change from the overall belligerent attitude of the Five Points crowd. Pint Night on Monday is obviously a different story, as can be expected when pints of delicious beer are a mere $2.75.

I think the selection of beers is outstanding, particularly for South Carolina. I like being able to line up Victory Prima Pils, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Allagash White, Bear Republic Red Rocket, and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. It's all the names you're familiar with from being a BA. The pre-selected flights and build your own flights are also great ways to try something new without having to worry about being stuck with a pint of something you don't enjoy.

Service isn't great, but it's also not poor. Yeah, the girls wear skanky outfits. It's nice, but it doesn't make up for them being slow. On Pint Nite, I can understand it. On the plus side, the waitresses I've had have all been pretty knowledgeable. I don't care if they're just mentioning stuff the guy at the last table ordered, at least they're being helpful.

I don't care for the food here at all. If I'm eating at Saucer, it's going to be appetizers. The giant pretzels are a personal favorite.

Pint Nite is a great value. The firesale special is a great value as well. If it's not on special, I'm unfortunately not ordering it. I'm giving it 3 dollar signs. I was torn between 2 and 3, then I remembered what you pay for the food.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

The atmosphere has been pretty good the times I've been there, but can get a bit swollen with USC Law douchebags and people spouting off about high gravity beers without knowing anything more than the ABV of the brew they're seeking.
Good quality selection, and the service leaves little to be desired. The food is pretty pedestrian. My only complaint about the selection is that it seems that they focused on having a set list of all the important beers a quality beer bar would have, but without the inventiveness and dynamism that are present in some of the ever shifting, seasonal-aware venues that I prefer. I might also like more domestic microbrews, but that's a trifling complaint.

Photo of felipesegundo
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place is great to try and find new favorite beers. I have been frequenting this bar for several years, but only recently joined their beer club. I could have finished the list twice by now. But the food is pretty good, they have lunch specials every day and they have a lunch card that gets you a free meal every 7, not bad. When I go, it's pretty much to drink great tasting beer, have fun with friends, and gawk at the beer goddesses. What else you need in life? This place is definitely one of my favorites to hit when I do get a night out. See ya there!

Photo of mikesgroove
3.58/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Ok, so I make my first trip down to Columbia in a good long while and since I am actually staying for a couple days, I make it my mission to check out a few places along the way. First up had to be the saucer, as I have heard a ton about this place. Walk in during the panthers game and the place was seriously pretty dead for what I would think it would be. No matter I cozy up to the bar, and this is where i will differ with most. I was a bit underwhelmed with the tap list I have to admit. Most everything was fairly common. Those of you who know me, know that if I hit up an Andygator, it was relatively common. Still over two hundred beers with alot of focus on imports, and almost complete lineups from Abita, Highland, Thomas Creek, North Coast and Great Divide. Food was rather bland, with the burge just being plain average. Service was good though, but seriously I asked for seasonals and everything was Summerfest?

Overall this was a bit dissapointing for me. I was used to Barleys and Thirsty Monk, Brick Store, and really good beer bars, and I think they are a little to Mainstream Craft Scene if that is even a term, Anyway Not bad and if this is the best Columbia has, then its ok.

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The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Columbia, SC
88 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.