Columbia, SC offers a variation a variety of outdoor seating options.
When it comes to spending time outside on a sunny South Carolina day, there’s nothing quite like finding a great patio to kick back and relax on. The best patios offer a combination of scenic views, welcoming vibes, delicious snacks, and ice-cold drinks, creating the perfect environment to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
In addition to these must-haves, some patios go above and beyond by being dog-friendly. For pet owners, finding a dog-friendly patio can be the icing on the cake, creating a holistic family experience that everyone can enjoy together.
When asked where to spend a relaxing afternoon or an evening out with friends and family in Columbia, I often find myself suggesting Publico’s patio space for its backyard feel. This gem boasts an array of amenities, including yard games which are sure to keep everyone entertained for hours on end.
The picnic tables are perfect for large groups to gather and enjoy each other’s company, while pitchers of margaritas are a refreshing and tasty way to cool off on a hot day. One of the best parts of this patio space is that dogs are welcome, and they even have a menu specifically designed for our four-legged friends.
Publico is a vibrant and festive (iconic Christmas pop-up location) destination that’s beloved by locals, college students, and visitors alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a spicy margarita, nacho fries, or tacos (try the soda city taco – trust me), this oasis is the perfect spot to spend a sunny day in Columbia.
Black Rooster is elevated – both in elevation and in dollar signs. The view alone is worth two dollar signs, but the food and drinks deliver.
While they do have tables on the main level patio, the rooftop seating is truly the crown jewel of the restaurant. From there, you can enjoy optimal views of the Columbia skyline, taking in the city’s most iconic buildings and landmarks from a primo vantage point.
And let’s not forget about the cocktails. The Last Word cocktail is a particular standout. The bartenders are skilled at mixing up a range of classic and creative cocktails, making this establishment a popular spot for after-work drinks, date nights, or special occasions.
When making your plans to visit, be sure to check out their weekly specials – including Wednesdays when they offer half-off bottles of wine!
WeCo has its own vibe. This is your place if you’re looking to grab a beer and do some work on a nice day if you don’t have a yard of your own – it’s possible I’m speaking from experience. It’s a great space if you’re looking to meet more people as it attracts. a really laid-back, friendly crowd who enjoy quality beer.
Market on Main
Two words: big screen. Oh – and: live music.
Market on Main is a great destination if you’re looking for dinner and a show. Located on Columbia’s Main Street, just one block from the capital is one of the most fun outdoor settings. It offers a slightly urban feel being surrounded by buildings but also has its stage and big screen where you are guaranteed entertainment. I recommend Market on Main for big game days and karaoke nights.
Their rotating cocktail selection is always fun to try, and the warm pimento cheese with garlic naan is non-negotiable.
River Rat Brewery
River Rat understands the value of a cold, crisp beer on a scorching summer day in Columbia. They take it a step further by offering Prosecco Pops, a refreshing treat to beat the heat. With ample outdoor seating options, including a large yard-like area, a covered patio, and a rooftop space, River Rat Brewery ensures there’s always a spot to enjoy their craft beers and frozen cocktails. And fear not, their food is equally impressive.
Steel Hands Brewing
Steel Hands is a little out of the way, off the beaten path, but its setup, beers, and menu are well worth the drive. It has a lot of seating around the stage, but also around their building as well as a walk-up window to order at.
*Steel Hands also featured on Best Chicken Tenders in Columbia, SC
Check out their Event Calendar to see who’s playing – they regularly have live music in the evenings, but also offer other fun events like Woodstock, yoga and more.
There’s something for everyone at Savage Craft. They have a full bar and champagne on tap – you read that right, and a really diverse food menu that never disappoints. Similar to River Rat, they have a large seating area outside of the building, as well as a rooftop area with its own bar.
Dogs aren’t allowed upstairs, but they’ll be plenty entertained on the main level as there tend to be a lot of families that come here.
Cocktails, sunsets, and skylines at my favorite rooftop bar in Columbia. Whether you’re seeking a romantic evening overlooking the ceiling of lights or a sophisticated gathering with friends, Hendrix is the perfect destination for any occasion. They have a separate food and cocktail menu for the rooftop, which occasionally includes frose!
Similar to Market on Main, Hendrix offers an urban feel downtown.
The War Mouth
Just a stone’s throw away from downtown, nestled in the Cottontown, you’ll find The War Mouth—a haven for cocktail and deviled egg enthusiasts. With its quaint patio space enveloped by lush greenery, The War Mouth offers a relaxing and inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to savor its Southern fare while enjoying the setting.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, the outdoor seating at Smoked is like a hidden garden. The flowers and seating make you forget you’re in the middle of downtown. It’s easy to lose track of time here on a sunny day.
This is such a fun place to head to after the Soda City market for brunch.
Best Outdoor Seating in Columbia, SC
In summary, the best patios in Columbia are:
- Black Rooster
- Market on Main
- River Rat
- Steel Hands
- Savage Craft
- War Mouth
If you’re looking for more Columbia inspiration, check out my other Cola Eats blogs below.