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Discover: Al Fresco Dining

March 4, 2019

While the winter months can be rainy, and the summer months unbearably hot, March and April tend to provide Columbia residents with some truly spectacular weather. And, there is no better way to enjoy being outside than sitting down at a nice cast iron table and doing what Southerners do best: eating.

In celebration of the anticipated warmer months, we’ve put together a list of the best “al fresco” dining spots in the Greater Columbia area. This collection of restaurants is not comprehensive, but should give you a good idea of what Columbia has to offer in terms of outdoor dining.

Liberty on the Lake

Lake Murray 1602 Marina Rd, Suite D, Irmo, SC 29063 | 803-667-9715 | Website

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Located on the shores of Lake Murray at the Marina at Marina Bay, this beautiful waterfront property is not to be missed!

Relax at a table on their either level of their expansive deck, and take in the spectacular view. Whether you’re there for lunch, brunch, or dinner, you’ll have a stunning backdrop.

Everything on the menu is delicious and reasonably priced, but we recommend going the aquatic route. Start out with the Crispy Calamari, served with a refreshingly scrumptious citrus-curry aioli. For your entree, perhaps select the Seared Atlantic Salmon, or southern rendition of the British favourite: Fish n’ Chips!

Liberty on the Lake makes for an excellent stop when out cruising on the lake, as they provide free docking to patrons! And, there’s no better way to end an amazing day on the water than with a cold beer and some good times.

Frankie’s Grill

140 Parkridge Drive
Columbia, SC 29212 |
(803) 781-2342 |

Take a break from the mini-golf, go-karts, and arcade games at the one-of-a-kind Frankie’s Grill! Enjoy some of the most classic American fare you can get, whether it’s cheesy nachos, cheeseburgers, or corn dogs! Frankie’s Grill even sells beer by the cup, for those parents that have worked hard all day keeping track of their children.

The restaurant features two patios, where diners can eat and watch fellow customers navigate the mini-golf courses.

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

921 Brookwood Drive, Columbia SC 29201 | 803-939-2589 | Website

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Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company has been a heavy-hitter in the budding Columbia craft-beer scene since 2014. Between their delicious beer, awesome atmosphere, and engagement with the community, their stock continues to rise.

Sit outside under their large pergola, and have a craft beer! This dog-friendly business is constantly coming up with new ideas to entertain their loyal customers, such as Crab Boils, trivia nights, and even a running club! Plus, they frequently host local food trucks, meaning you can complement the delicious brews with some tacos or BBQ!

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East Bay Deli

Main Street:
1426 Main Street Columbia, SC 29201 |
803-814-2277 |

West Columbia: 108 Sunset Ct. West Columbia, SC 29169 | 803-791-1150 | Website

Irmo: 7688 Broad River Road Irmo, SC 29063 | 803-708-3188 | Website

It’s hard to find quality deli meat in the south, but East Bay Deli seems to have the secret formula. Luckily, we’re spoiled with 3 different locations in the Columbia area! Between Main Street, West Columbia, and the new restaurant in Irmo, people from all corners of the capital can enjoy some of the best sandwiches in town!

And, as the nicer weather rolls in, feel free to eat at the umbrella tables that sit outside each of the three locations. Pair your al fresco experience with a healthy mix of greens from their famous salad bar, and you’ll be eating “fresco” on two levels!

If you’ve got a dog that just can’t leave your side, bring it along, and don’t worry about having to leave it outside while you eat.

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