Blue Tapas Bar & Cocktail Lounge
by Nancy Silver
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