Liberty Tap Room
by Nancy Silver
The Liberty is one of my favorite places in Columbia. When you first walk in, you can choose to sit in the main dining area on the right or go to the left side of the building and sit in the bar area. You can also choose to sit on the outside covered patio on nice days. I prefer the outside atmosphere which adds a tropical feeling or the bar area with its black comfy booths and a beautiful patriotic replica of the Statue of Liberty.
The Liberty Tap Room is right in the heart of the Vista which makes it a popular spot for happy hour after work. That and the fact that they offer an extensive beer list, the second largest selection in Columbia, first being the Flying Saucer. You may have to fight for a table in the bar area. Look for people who are just getting their check and stand close. As soon as they leave, grab it or somebody else will, even if there are still dirty dishes on the table. This is not the place to be shy. On weekend nights they offer promotional drink samples and either live music or DJ. Since it is the Vista, the crowd tends to be a bit more mature, late twenties to thirties range. The younger people tend to stick to the five points area. So this is really a great place where you can have fun in a classy atmosphere.
Besides the great atmosphere, people, and beer, they also have a great food menu with a wide range of items from salads and burgers to steak and fish dinners. I love the Caesar Salad with tenderloin tips and the gourmet pizzas that are big enough to share. The ingredients are always so fresh and the portions are huge. Prices are very affordable for all the food you get, ranging from $8 for sandwiches to $20 for dinner entrees. I tend to stick to the left side of the menu here such as the Roasted Chicken Nachos which are some of the best I have ever had, covered in toppings such as cheese, refried beans, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and jalapenos to spice it up a bit.
They also have a great Ahi Tuna sandwich which comes with a homemade wasabi mayonnaise and they offer some southern foods such as the She Crab Soup and the Carolina Shrimp and Grits. They also have their own themed dishes such as the “Red, White, and Bleu Burger” which you guessed it, has bleu cheese crumbles and bleu cheese dressing on it. Another interesting special that I have yet to try is the Liberty Club which is a grilled chicken sandwich with some gourmet additions such as sun-dried tomato and pesto mayo, uniquely topped off with a fried egg.
The Liberty also serves a great brunch menu on Sundays from 10am – 2pm. Get a nice gourmet breakfast for $8 and use the extra money you save to get yourself another Mimosa or Bloody Mary. I enjoy the Mimosa’s because they aren’t overly sweet like most places make and their Bloody Mary’s are made with some of the best ingredients; a combination of Zing Zang and Absolute Pepper, plus it comes topped with celery, olives, a boiled shrimp and the rim is coated in Cajun spices. I took my weekend guests here for brunch before their send off and they said it was the best Bloody Mary they had ever had.
For brunch try one of their exquisite benedicts, how about a prime rib omelet? Or for those of you with a sweet tooth try the Bananas Foster French Toast with a banana caramel sauce and whipped cream.
On top of being a nice restaurant with good food at affordable prices, the Liberty Tap Room is also one of the few restaurants in Columbia with a good wait staff. I have consistently good service here. Despite the fact that I had to send back my omelet because it was covered in onions, my waiter was very apologetic and the manager brought my corrected plate out to me, again with an apology. I also liked the fact that my entire plate had been recreated, not just the omelet, so my hash browns were steaming hot when I got them. It’s the consistency that keeps me coming back to the Liberty Tap Room.
Liberty Tap Room
828 Gervais St.
Columbia, SC 29201