food and beverage underground

Blue Tapas Bar & Cocktail Lounge

by Nancy Silver
(Columbia, SC)

Blue is one of the newer bars in the Vista area of Columbia. Look for the Wild Wings Café off of Lady Street and you will find this little gem hidden behind it. This lounge is famous for being the only place in the area to have an “ice bar”. There is actually a section built into the bar where a layer of snow-like ice is placed so that you can keep your beverage cool to the last sip! It is definitely worth experiencing at least once.


What will keep me coming back however are the deals. I visited Blue on a Friday night after work one week and made it in time for their happy hour half price deal. Every Monday through Friday from 4:30 – 7:30PM you not only get half price drinks but half off on food items as well. The prices are already reasonable, ranging from $4 to $11. But those with a hungry appetite might appreciate that they can order more food since it is a tapas restaurant which means expect small portions.

My guests and I started with the cheese plate which comes with three cheeses (chef’s choice, types not listed), pita bread, pepperoni, apple slices, and honey mustard sauce. It was a good portion to share but also very tasty. We were fighting over the last pieces; it was one of the best cheese plates I have ever had. I would recommend ordering this if you were just coming for drinks mainly.

For my main course I decided on the tacos, 3 tacos for $6 or in the half price case, 3 tacos for $3. You get your choice of chicken, steak, or fish each prepared in their own unique way. I hate making decisions so I decided to try one of each. The fish however was my favorite, topped with a creamy sauce and shredded cabbage as most traditional fish tacos are served. The steak was surprisingly second for its rich flavor, followed by the chicken which was a bit plain in comparison. These were served with a cilantro and onion mixture. I had also opted for the side of cheese and sour cream for a small additional fee.

I believe my meal was the best pick of the night; I was full after the first two tacos and really had to force myself to finish. My husband had ordered the ceviché which looked tasty but not very filling, it is usually ordered as an appetizer. Our guests ordered the bar-b-que brisket sandwiches, mini sandwiches served with delicate fried onions and the paella which were my backup choices. The paella looked very good, filled with fish, meats, and flavor, but my guest was still hungry after she finished. The bar-b-que brisket would be a more filling option.

Overall, the food is good and gourmet for a great low price. Just remember the portions are small, think appetizer with a drink, not main course dinner. Otherwise you might leave hungry and disappointed, so order accordingly. I also liked the atmosphere of Blue, more of a late night, sophisticated appeal with dark colors. The waterfall wall décor, blue lights and big, bright aquarium offer a nice contrast. They have made good use of the space but I wish the bar was bigger. With it being the only ice bar around, it might be hard to find a stool at the bar if you get there late, though I prefer the cozy round booths any day. Also, check out their website for updated weekly specials like their Wednesday 80’s night with $0.80 well liquors.

Blue Tapas Bar & Cocktail Lounge
721 A Lady St.
Columbia, SC 29201
803-251-4447
www.bluecolumbia.net

Comments for Blue Tapas Bar & Cocktail Lounge

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Feb 04, 2013
Rating
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Best Happy Hour in Town
by: Ben Camping

blue. located right behind WIld Wing Cafe on Lady st. in the vista has the absolute best happy hour ever. My friend and I visited a couple of weeks ago and filled up on different tapas entree's and left pretty tipsy for only $30 combined!!! :) The food and drinks were incredible as well as the service and atmosphere. I definitely would suggest everyone to check this place out.

May 23, 2012
Rating
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Directions
by: Anonymous

How do you get here? There is no easy way to find directions to this place on the site. Just an address that shows other restaurants in Columbia. May be its near one of them? Do I have to walk around for like 20 min to find it? Put directions prominent on your page if it isn't easy to see where the place is from google or other online maps.

Dec 14, 2011
Rating
star
Service and Management was horrible
by: Anonymous

First of all the management is very unprofessional and rude. Our waiter told us first thing he was new which is ok but the manager on duty didn't know what was included in the happy hour special. The manager said that everyThing we ordered was half off needless to say the check did not reflect that... I ordered a pita pizza and I ask for no oil or butter when I finally got my pizza 45 min later it was soaked with grease. I ask for the manager again and he tried to sell me on the fact that it wasn't oil but water from the spinach.... Ridiculous. Also the manager had to ask the bar tender if wine was part of happy hour.. Make your own decision but we will never be back!

Dec 13, 2011
Rating
star
NEVER AGAIN
by: Anonymous

WIll never go back. Staff was rude. My friend I got up to use the restroom and the waitress(her name is Liz) stopped us and said, "Where are you going, you know you haven't paid the bill yet?' I told her I know and we are only going to the restroom. But I'm not just boycotting because of the service but also because I didn't leave a tip and I guess Liz got mad and added her own tip. Didn't find out until I looked at my bank statement which did not match my receipt. If I do get dragged back in there, Im not buying anything...they stole my money.

Apr 22, 2011
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Not happy!
by: Anonymous

I lost my wallet there not happy!

Apr 01, 2011
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You've got to try the food!
by: Foodlover

I've been going to Blue for quite a while now but last night i decided to try some dinner since I got there earlier than usual..Man! Was I glad i did! They had crab stuffed chicken breasts on special for like 10 bucks and it was fantastic! I was with a group of friends who all ordered different items and we were all raving about it. The food is priced extremely reasonably and was all delicious..Plus every beer we ordered was only 2 bucks for their thurs special. I've been a regular drinker there for some time and now will be a regular eater..I highly recommend Blue!

Apr 01, 2011
Rating
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You've got to try the food!
by: Foodlover

I've been going to Blue for quite a while now but last night i decided to try some dinner since I got there earlier than usual..Man! Was I glad i did! They had crab stuffed chicken breasts on special for like 10 bucks and it was fantastic! I was with a group of friends who all ordered different items and we were all raving about it. The food is priced extremely reasonably and was all delicious..Plus every beer we ordered was only 2 bucks for their thurs special. I've been a regular drinker there for some time and now will be a regular eater..I highly recommend Blue!

Mar 16, 2011
Rating
star
A Shame!
by: Nancy Grace

The Blue is a very nice spot tucked away in a cornor that comes to life with it's waterfall. It is too bad, that poor customer service and being rude to guest who want to spend their money and time in a nice setting have to put up with management who act like they could care less if they spent one red cent.Guest should not be subjected to watching managment ruff house customers they want to kick out of their establishment.

There has been a recent change of managment and ownership and The Blue is no longer me and my crew spot to hang out on Thursday and Saturday nights. And I'm not the only one that notice that. Now the Blue is empty. Learn how to treat customers, cater to guest and act like you want us there. If not, stay empty!!

Feb 16, 2011
Rating
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Tapas SF Catering
by: Anonymous

Tapas SF Catering
www.tapas-sf.com
650-218-3334
Tapas Catering Specializes in traditional & Contemporary Tapas, Small Plates, Hors d'oeuvres and Appetizers. We cater to Private parties, Corporate events, Weddings and Holiday gatherings throughout San Francisco Bay Area.
Our Tapas Tasting Menu combines beautiful Passed mini dishes with Buffet Station Menu, allowing your guests constant access to a dazzling array of tastes.
Our menus allow for a culinary adventure of sorts while also enabling your guests to move and mingle freely while enjoying the diversity of a spectacular tasting.

Feb 01, 2011
Rating
star
You Can 4get About Customer Service
by: Charlie Wilson

And when it turns into a dance bar around 7 or 8 PM you can 4GET about ASKING their Nasty DJ Byron to request a song. The dude clearly acts like he does not like women. On several occassions, females have gone up to him to say hello or just to request a song and "Nasty Byron", looks them up and down, then frowns and turns up his nose, acts like they did'nt ask him a thing, waits until they leave and tells a bouncer not to let anyone up there to ask him for ANY request. IDK about you, but I have Never encounter a nasty DJ. I thought that at a party, atleast, the DJ would be happy to play your music, but I don't think The Blue got the memo!

Feb 01, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
You Can 4get About Customer Service
by: Charlie Wilson

And when it turns into a dance bar around 7 or 8 PM you can 4GET about ASKING their Nasty DJ Byron to request a song. The dude clearly acts like he does not like women. On several occassions, females have gone up to him to say hello or just to request a song and "Nasty Byron", looks them up and down, then frowns and turns up his nose, acts like they did'nt ask him a thing, waits until they leave and tells a bouncer not to let anyone up there to ask him for ANY request. IDK about you, but I have Never encounter a nasty DJ. I thought that at a party, atleast, the DJ would be happy to play your music, but I don't think The Blue got the memo!

Nov 20, 2010
Rating
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Consider with Caution
by: Anonymous

Having be to Blue numerous times, I can say that the scene is unique, the wait staff are very professional, and the offerings are for the most part reasonably priced and on par with surrounding establishments of similar quality. However, I will caution anyone interested in making special arrangements. Be very specific with your wishes and intentions. For despite the assurances from the owner by phone that a corking service is routinely provided, you may find yourself turned away at the door, with bottle in hand, upon the timely reconsideration by or misunderstanding with the owner. While it was my first time requesting such service (with prior arrangement), the affair was poorly handled and the customer service provided by the owner was terrible. The interaction made for an unforgettable and thoroughly regrettable evening.

Nov 08, 2010
Rating
star
Disappointed
by: Al

My first visit to the Blue was on 11/5/10 {a Friday night} with a group of about 25 who were celebrating a co-worker's birthday. We arrived between 5:30 - 6:00pm and was seated together as a group. At approx. 7pm, after everyone had ordered food and several drinks, the manager informed us that a large party had reservations for 7:30pm and we would have to give up our table, even though we were still eating and purchasing drinks. We questioned why we were not informed of the so-called reservations when we were seated the Manager stated that he did not think we would be there more than an hour. A gentleman who identified himself as the Owner of the restaurant was very very rude, which made mwe feel that they did not want our particlar patronage. I feel this matter was very poorly handled and I have no intentions of ever visiting this establishment again.

Oct 22, 2009
Rating
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Excellent!!
by: Anonymous

A group of us went there to check out Blue after they advertised martinis for less than $1 on ladies night (Thursdays). Their signature shot was excellent as was their wine and drink list.

We all tried the fried green tomatoes and garlic shrimp which were tasty, but then each of us got an entree. I can tell you that their filet with a red wine reduction sauce is one of the BEST MOST TENDER filets I have EVER had!! Better than most steakhouses. I am hooked!!! I am usually pretty picky about my steaks but it was cooked to perfection and large in portion.

The food, drinks, and environment were excellent and provided something much better than all the other loud noisy overcrowded places in the vista.

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