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The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Not Rated.
The Flying Saucer Draught EmporiumThe Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
BA SCORE
87
very good

46 Ratings
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.92%
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: 46 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of khiasmus
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%

As you can see from my avatar, I've patronized the saucer once or twice. It's not the best bar, but it's got the most beer, at least here in Columbia. Things have changed since these last reviews... the staff have to sample the beers, review them, and learn about styles now, and the menu is set up by style with prices right next to the selections. If you go, eat. the food is amazing. From my favourite chicken sandwich in the world (the kick-ass chicken) to an excellent spicy beer-cheese soup, to brats that make german bars jealous... the food is GOOD. Ok, so for the beer. We can't get beers over 6%ABV in South Carolina, at least not legally. (if you're here, and want to know where you can, then message me:-) With that taken into consideration, the flying saucer is the best place to go for beer. They do have a bunch of old standbys, but they try to keep beers from as many countries as possible. Don't go anywhere near any bar after a USC game. And don't go to the saucer to see the eighties cover bands that frequent it either... unless you want to stand in an aisle for 30 minutes just trying to mosh your way to the bathroom. We always sit on the patio, even in freezing temperatures, they drop these clear plastic sheets down over the windows and turn on a big heater... it's comfortable. Go on a Monday night, almost all drafts are $2.50. Oh, and the waitresses... you need to see for yourself. Hopefully I'll see you at the next table!

khiasmus, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of harpo111
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%

Oh my goodness!! 200 differnt beers in one place is enought to make you have a serious beergasm! They had pint night on monday, and firesales on great stuff tuesday and wednesday...I wish i lived in columbia..i could get used to this place. The bar help were very knowledgeable and the service was great. I will definately be dropping in again.
They have a nice menu of food, nightly specials...and they have a firesale each night with whatever it is on sale for 2.75 a pint...can't beat that. They have a beerknurd terminal where you can keep up with what you have tried. Glassware for sale, tshirts...girls in miniskirts waiting tables...yes a college boys dream...too bad i am past 40...
For the beerhog ...this is nirvanna....no much more you could ask for. They have a lot of odd beers too and supposedly rotate things...so you might find something new. But at a count of 200+...it will take a while to get through them all.

harpo111, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of Nesued
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%

On tap:

76 beers, 3 ciders, 1 root-beer

Bottled:

120 beers, 4 ciders, 4 non-alcholic brews.

I've been living in Columbia for at fifteen years now and am well pleased with the introduction of a Flying Saucer to Columbia.

The variety of options is quite good, with many unexpected brews available on-tap. This allows a nice "what shall I try today?" experience.

With an outside, under-cover seating area, the spring/fall/winter drinking experiences tend to add a more friendly "communal" environment. However "summers in South Carolina" pretty much leave this area a sauna.

With a 23oz glass option for any beer during the "happy hour" time period, the value of drinking a beer you enjoy is almost doubled. However, if you are in a "searching" mode, you may be "stuck" with more than you want, of something you don't like.

I have "mixed feelings" regarding the food, and I find that the only weekness of this Flying Saucer. While the "beer food" is very good, the sandwiches are a bit of a disappointment. On two occasions I tried their sandwiches (the "pastrami reuben-esque" the first time and the "Turkey Meltdown" the second) and were not overly impressed. The "beer food" selections are very good, and compliment the variety of brews present. Specifically the Chips and Queso goes well with the brown ales available (there's even a bowl of salsa that comes with it) and also the "Big Soft Pretzels" add a more "Germanic" feel to outdoor dining.

I must comment on the waitresses, and digress to a purely "male-perspective" for the moment. The added value of a girl wearing a short plaid skirt and a rather "form-fitting" top emblazoned with "beer-goddess" serving you adds a bit more "spice" to a drinking establishment.

Kudos.

Nesued, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

The Flying Saucer in Columbia is a very nice place. It has a large covered patio as you enter and the exterior is pretty easy to spot due to the flaming gas torches. It is about 1/2 a block off Gervais street.

The interior is cavernous in size. The tables are large and the ceilings are very high. Even though the table next door was smoking, the smell did not permeate my clothes.

The service was pretty good, could have been slightly better, but nothing to complain about. The selection was huge for Columbia, SC. Lots of great choices, all within their legal limit.

Beers were served for the price on the menu in 23 ounce glasses for some reason. You would think that would be a plus, but only being able to drink two beers before you have to call it a night and head out was a little dissapointing. Much better IMO are the standard 16 ounce pints you find elsewhere.

The food was very good, but the size of the portion was very small for the amount paid.

The Flying Saucer gets high marks all around. I'll definitely stop back in when in Columbia.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of Fireboy
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

Fireboy, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of mmonagh1
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

mmonagh1, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of kingjames1
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%

This is part of a chain, but well worth checking out nonetheless. If in Columbia, be sure to swing by. The beer selection was really good, especially considering the rather limited availability of good beers in South Carolina (thanks to 'the cap') -- though I was disappointed that they did not have Paulaner Oktoberfest available.

I was very impressed with the atmosphere - very cool. The service was slightly slow, but helpful and informed. Oh, and despite some of the horndog comments in previous posts, this is NOT a Hooters type experience, thankfully.

The food, well, ours was quite greasy. Over all, definitely a cool place. Now, if only SC would lift the cap...

kingjames1, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of MTNboy
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

Atmosphere- I was frequenting this place quite a bit on my last stay in Columbia. I have to say that I really love this bar. It is fun, very beer orientated, great music on the weekends and there are plenty of fun themed nights. I love glass night on Wednesday.

Quality & Quantity- They about 200 beers on their changing menu over if you include the beer mixed drinks. Also everything is always fresh.

Selection- Is great. There are lots of different imports and micros from all over the country. They have plenty of samplers called saucers that have a wide variety of beer or you can create your own this is perfect for some one who gets on this site.

Service- Is usually great and most of the waitresses are cute to hot. I had bad service one time and I had not seen the waitress since. She was super rude and did not know anything about beer and slow. Like I said I did not ever see her after that night. Blair is great and seems to know her crap.

Food- I eat here a lot and I have no complaints. The turkey sandwich is great.

Value- A little pricey but all the bars in the Vista are.

MTNboy, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of velkyal
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

Visited Flying Saucer a couple of times last summer when visiting SC with my fiancee, and when we move to Columbia next year, it will definately be a regular haunt.

With an extensive range of British ales, including the magnificent Fraoch, Fuller's London Pride and the sublime Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Flying Saucer has everything for the ale drinker.

I particularly enjoyed the sample trays which introduced me to the delights of American beer - which has a poor press in Europe due to ignorance.

I only ever got superb service, though I wonder how much of that was due to the fact I am Scottish and have an "accent".

Even so, this is a great pub.

velkyal, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of Brewski4Drewski
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

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!!

Brewski4Drewski, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of Seanem44
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%

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.

Seanem44, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of mattkoon
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

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.

mattkoon, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of hellomcfly
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

Probably my most often visited beer joint in Columbia. They have a great selection with tons of beer on draft and in bottles. They have a fire-sell beer every day offered at $2.75. I've seen things like Sierra Nevada Celebration, Bigfoot, and Kasteel Brune for fire sell. They have Carolina pint night on Sunday (anything brewed in SC or NC priced at $2.75) and a regular pint night on Monday where almost everything on tap is $2.75. On Wednesday night they have glass night where you keep the glass to a specific beer.

I'd probably best describe the food at saucer as average. Some things are better than others. I've never had anything I would call bad there. Their burgers are pretty good.

Service is usually fine but I've had a few really slow waitresses. Service does get a plus since they wear nice "beer goddess" uniforms.

They also sell glasses leftover from glass nights for $2. I picked up a nice Corsendonk tulip and North Coast snifter this way.

hellomcfly, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of gatorbreath
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

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!

gatorbreath, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%

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.

ZenAgnostic, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of felipesegundo
4.13/5  rDev +7%

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!

felipesegundo, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of Bernoulli
4.13/5  rDev +7%

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.

Bernoulli, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of jpmclaug
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

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!

jpmclaug, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of HeyItsChili
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

HeyItsChili, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

TurdFurgison, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of gbarron
4/5  rDev +3.6%

This is undoubtedly the place to go drink beer while in Columbia, SC. It's essentially one large room filled with booths, tables, and long bar. Although smoking is permitted (it's a college town, come on), the ceiling is very high and they have lots of fans going, making it pretty tolerable. The clientele is a college crowd, but the night I was there, it was a seemingly older group and generally pretty normal (this was on a Tuesday night, however).

The beer selection, given South Carolina's neo-prohibitionist laws, is outstanding. They have approximately 75 taps and nearly twice that many bottled brews. The selection is pretty varied and their beer list is sorted by country. They had several standard large micros like Sierra Nevada PA and Porter, Sam Adams, Rogue Dead Guy and Brown Nectar. Wide selection of draft imports as well. The bottled selection had some nice rare finds and several beers I had never heard of, including a few German rauchbiers, Belgians, etc. They had one neat feature on their menu called 'flights.' Basically for around $7 or so you could try six or seven five ounce samples of beers centered around a theme - i.e., American Micros, English/Irish Beers, etc. You could even make up your own flight of beers.

They also had about a dozen or so local/regional micros from the S. Carolina/Georgia/N. Carolina area.

We sat at the bar and the two bartenders were very attentive despite the place being pretty crowded. They were also very familiar with the beer list - we didn't have to say Pilsner Urquell or Fuller's ESB twice. Prices were very reasonable, most of the very good imports and American micros were in the $4.25 to $4.75 range.

As far as comments below on the waitstaff, yes, it is true, they were some cute little outfits - basically short plaid skirts and tank tops - that are nice to look at. However, it is not a hooters type joint, the place seemed pretty upscale for a college bar, frankly.

If in Columbia and you are looking for a big beer selection, this is the place to go.

I did not try any food, but the menu appeared to be your standard bar food fare.

gbarron, Feb 22, 2006
Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev +3.6%

ZEB89, May 23, 2014
Photo of barronkr
4/5  rDev +3.6%

barronkr, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of jaswilson2
4/5  rDev +3.6%

jaswilson2, May 21, 2014
Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev +3.6%

ADTaber, Jun 23, 2014
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The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Columbia, SC
87 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.