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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: 12.34%
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 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 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 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 huntermop
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Ozone
3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

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 Ant4711
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Robyn
3.5/5  rDev -10%

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.

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 slander
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
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...

Photo of CraigTravor
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jshusc
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Cubfanpete
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Very nice beer selection. The food was highly OK . The bartenders were very helpful. However several beers were empty,

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

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 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 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 SaCkErZ9
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I visited the Saucer on a Wed afternoon around 530 or so. It wasnt very busy when I got there but patrons soon flooded. It still wasnt overly busy. The only thing dissappointing about this place was the service. I was promptly greeted when I walked in and asked for a moment to paruse the draft and bottle offerings. Mistake! After what seemed like 10 minutes, the bartender served me a Rogue Choc Stout. No head was formed due to a poor pour (I watched intently). The menu said $4.75 (Im not sure if it was for a pint or 23 oz glass but I was served in a pint) but he charged me $5. The guy next to me got a 23 oz. [It was Highland Oatmeal Porter] beer for $3.75, which was the menu price (again, not sure if that is for pint or 23 oz.). So a little confusion on price and serving size.

I was empty about 3 minutes before being approached again. If you want a refill of water, you must ask. They will just look at your glass half full of ice and wonder what was supposed to be in there but not refill it.

I had the pretzels with cheese and spicy mustard and they were really good. Fairly priced too.

Everyone was nice and the waitresses wore naughtly school girl outfits. Yummmmy! I love a naughty catholic girl. Definitely recommended for the beer and pretzels, but service needs to step up a bit.

They also have a Flying Saucer club wherein one pays $14 dollars for a shirt and membership and then attempts to drink all 200 beers, or atleast 200 beers I guess. They would then be rewarded with a party in his or her honor and a plaque on the wall. Lets see, 10 beers a day, 20 days...

Photo of gbarron
4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of barronkr
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of jaswilson2
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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