The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
Taps: 24 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
2.4/5 rDev -38.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 4 | $$$
We been going to the Columbia, SC Flying Saucer for 5 years. Just like the review below, a step above BMC but barely.
After several managers, the place has steadily declined from the best beer-bar in Columbia to a so-so joint. The first to go were high gravity pours and live bands. The selection of drafts has steadliy declined, almost the inverse of the best local beer shop Greens. Belgian pours avg more for a snifter than for a 750ml. Many craft and import pints are the priced the same way. The happy hour 22 oz tall glasses at pint cost are gone, replaced by -$1 on pints. The place is being ran into the ground and it's really sad. The Charlotte FS is much smaller, doesn't have as large an outdoor deck but has much more going on. Beer Advocate mag is full of unique places, Columbia used to have one.
Captain Keith - step in and save this place!
05-25-2011 20:31:31 | More by biermark
2.68/5 rDev -30.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2 | $$
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.
09-08-2012 11:58:05 | More by katahdin01
2.88/5 rDev -25.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3.75 | $$
Ok, I know the Saucer is a great place but the last visit was disappointing. The World Beer Festival was in Columbia last weekend and as usual for the last 6 years three of us in the retail beer end of things attended and as usual the first stop Friday was the Saucer. Sat at the bar and perused the draught beer list. Great, several excellent beer appeared there. We ordered one, "sorry we are out of that one" order another, same answer. We went through 5 selections before we found an excellent beer but not a stellar "we done get this very often" selection. We asked why those several stellar beers weren't available and the answer was "well the World Beer Festival is inn town". This is Friday afternoon, not Saturday night. Someone planned very poorly in the ordering department. Next, in years past the Saucer has replacement kegs for a tap when the serving keg was empty. Maybe a different selection but at least a new offering. This year they just put golf club covers over the empty kegs and had fewer offerings. Finally, unlike last year when Sam Adams was raffling off tastes of Utopia and there were lots of brewers and brewery reps around the Saucer, this year there was very little going on.
Later that night we did find a couple of stellar beers and several brewery reps and brewers but the were all next door at the World of Beer.
We will be back next year and hope that the beer festival is as good as it was this year and that the Saucer is back to its previous outstanding self.
01-25-2014 22:56:33 | More by Kenyon
3.15/5 rDev -18.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$
First, I admit that I visited on a Saturday night in the wake of a USC football victory over Florida, so I can't say my experience was typical. As others have written, this bar is large, with some picnic tables out front that are closed in during colder months, & I assume exposed to open air otherwise.
When you enter, there is a long bar with all the taps along the right hand wall, & a recessed area with tables takes up most of the rest of the space. There was an extremely large TV at the far end the night I was there, but I'm not sure if it's a permanent fixture or a seasonal thing. The Flying Saucer that night was packed with college aged folks, many of whom were smoking.
Service was pretty awful, but it was an atypical night, so on a weeknight it's probably better. The server did not know anything about beer or the beer list, which was arranged by country as others have said. Service was so slow (busy with other patrons), we learned to order our next beers as soon as she delivered the previous order.
Availability of beers on the list is my major complaint. I ordered no fewer than 7 (I was looking for IPA's & other hoppy brews) before I found one they had on hand. I ended up drinking several beers I can find at my corner store back home, & the selection there is good but not expansive.
Still, I'll go back to give this place another chance, partly because of the mayhem that night, but mainly because there aren't many places in SC that at least claim to have a lot of beers on hand. In other words, around here, you have to do what you can to support the "100 taps" business model.
04-13-2006 15:51:47 | More by Ozone
3.35/5 rDev -13.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$$
Decent place that has improved in the last year or so. They have a large selection of brews, and decent rate of turnover. Plenty of local stuff, lots of Highland, Thomas Creek, RJ Rockers.
Food is decent if you know what to order. I recommend the brats. Burgers are good, and they make a darn good German-style potato salad.
My primary complaint about this place is the prices. This can be mitigated by going on a Monday night (half-price pints). They have other deals on other days of the week, including half-price local brews (i.e. the Carolinas) on Sundays. They also get occasional "rare" kegs, but you'll pay a premium for a pull of one of those...
10-04-2013 18:44:37 | More by alanforbeer
3.58/5 rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$
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.
09-07-2008 23:39:38 | More by mikesgroove
3.6/5 rDev -7.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
visited on 28 Nov 09:
Stopped by the Flying Saucer after dinner while in town visiting a friend for Thanksgiving. After stopping at a couple of disappointing bars down in the Five Points area earlier in the weekend, I was looking forward to Columbia's premier beer bar. It wasn't as good as I expected, though.
Granted, it was on a Saturday after a big USC game, but the bar was not overly crowded -- there were more than a few empty tables. Service was still slow; I had polished off my pint (a German hefe poured into normal US pint glass) well before our waitress returned to see how we were doing. She also took a bit to come back and tell one of us that the Tripel Karmeliet ordered was not available, recommending a Tres Pistoles instead... So, in addition to an at-best average experience and an overall vibe that just didn't work for me, but my major gripe was that their vast number of taps were taken up with what for me are a lot of stand-bys or US pale ales. In other words, most of the beers I would like to have on tap were available only in bottles because the pale ales, etc. were eating the tap slots.
That said, this place is head and shoulders above the other bars we stopped at in town. So, while I was disappointed, I'd still head there if I was in the area and wanted some brews on tap.
11-30-2009 03:53:47 | More by ocmpoma
3.6/5 rDev -7.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
Just a block or two from the brewpub I just left, easy enough to find. I'm expecting to find this Flying Saucer to be similar in concept yet different in selection from the location I've visited in Houston, although hopefully the range of beer is a constant. What with the "space ship crashing into the building" motif from yesterday's pizza adventure in Asheville, and a place called the Flying Saucer today, I have to wonder if there's a preoccupation with UFO's in the South. Assuming the worst, I will have to refrain from having more than 2 beers here and be on my guard as not to become a victim of alien abduction again...
Big open room with high, high ceilings. An "L'ish" stainless steel topped bar to one side seats 15, looking over some 81 taps alternating on 2 rows (upper, lower, upper, lower, upper) on the pennyback panel wall running the length of the bar. 90+ bottles displayed from end to end above the dark wood bar back unit, lined with spruce & white strung lighting, and spaced stockings & Xmas ball ornaments. "Just landed" bottles & taps board located centrally above, with smaller longer boards to both sides listing wines & daily specials. Wines displayed up there, and a sign reading "Amateurs request frosted mugs" as well. Phil's golf game (complete) and a pair of dart boards in a nook wrapped around the corner of the bar. Flatscreens mounted in all the corners, and decorative plates of all sizes, shapes and patterns covering the walls and ceiling. Angled trim above holds numbered name plates with cutesy quotes or one liners of people who've completed the mug club quota. The walls wood slat lowers with painted yellow uppers, large checkerboard floors in light/dark blue, drop glass star lamps and lighting on ceiling fans. 2 dozen booths & tables throughout the room and a some couches & easy chairs, plus a few more in the elevated areas to the rear separated off by railings with end pillars holding potted plants, and nearly a dozen and a half picnic tables in an outdoorish plastic tent wall seating area along the entranceway beyond.
They've got a 3 page beer menu, differentiating first draught from bottled, then secondarily by pale, amber & dark, and then by country. The list here is dated for Fall 2006, so done seasonally, I cannot expect it to hold any great accuracy which would explain the "just landed" board above the bar. The beer menu shows roughly half the taps as being American micros, with a dozen and a half of them local/regional (Charleston, Palmetto, Thomas Creek, Duck Rabbit, Highland, Carolina, Terrapin, RJ Rockers), and then elsewhere (Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog, Sam Adams, Harpoon, Abita, Red Hook, Shipyard). The rest of the tap list is made up of mostly standard and blah imports and some macros, ciders and a root beer.
The bottled list is also heaviest on the American micros, with a decent collection of Germans and English, and then the obligatory beers of the world (There once was a Lager from Lima...), macros, maltos, ciders and N/A's. They offer a variety of flights ("The Carolinas", "UK & Ireland", "USA", "Germany", etc), and beer mixers, if that's your thing (in which case, please go sit over there by yourself). Also, there's a pricing key on the cover of the menu with symbols that you need a secret decoder ring to decipher. I spun the (rigged) wheel in my head and it landed on the Highland Oatmeal Porter.
Beer was fresh, just a chore getting it because the service gods were frowning on me. And, it's dankish here. Okay, here's the thing. It's Saturday, early afternoon, the place is dead empty and smells like, well, it just doesn't smell very good here and I'm a garbageman with no nose. Doesn't anyone else smell that? Not cool. Good beer here, but overall, it just wasn't...
02-16-2007 20:05:35 | More by slander
The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Columbia, SC
88 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.