At long last, River Rat Brewery in Columbia is ready to open its rooftop lounge, just in time for fresh kegs to flow in honor of its fourth year in business at the taproom.
According to a post on the brewery’s Facebook page, local beer fans can finally get up to the lofty space Wednesday, March 7 starting at 4 p.m.
Construction of the scenic space began in August of last year, and onlookers and brewery regulars have eagerly awaited their chance to sneak a peek of the open-air bar with unobstructed views of downtown and Williams-Brice Stadium. According to owner Mike Tourville, it’s taken long enough. He’s ready.
Over the past four years, River Rat has cultivated a reputation as a local hotspot. On any given day, the sprawling yard of the brewery can be filled to the brim with 20-somethings playing corn hole, young families with children ambling about and more dogs and puppies than you can count. The specialty beers brewed by the River Rat crew have earned accolades and respect in the beer industry.
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But if mingling with toddlers and terriers isn’t your ideal brewery experience, the rooftop lounge might be the place for you.
“The rooftop is adults only,” Tourville said. “Twenty-one and older ... It’s going to be a sanctuary for people adulting but not wanting to have kids around.”
No pets will be allowed up in the open-air space, either.
Once you’ve made it up the stairs to the lounge, you’ll have everything you need. Tourville says the lounge will have eight taps for specialty and limited-release beers, full food service, a TV mounted above comfy couches, a bathroom, speakers for music and fans, misters and a soon-to-be-installed canopy to block inclement weather.
“It’s a great place if you’re coming to tailgate, or if you want to watch (the game) but don’t have a ticket ... you’ll hear it, you’ll see the fireworks, you’ll hear the Gamecock crow on the touchdown. It’ll be electrifying,” Tourville said.
The rooftop lounge also will be available to rent for special events and could be the scene of chef dinners with beer and wine pairings in the future.
“There will be a lot of special things happening under a starry rooftop up here,” Tourville said.
Aside from the new lounge, there are plenty of other things to keep patrons busy at River Rat, including weekly trivia nights on Thursdays, the return of outdoor yoga classes on Sunday mornings starting March 4, and special lunch service on Fridays. Tourville said lunch will expand gradually to each day of the week, and soon they’ll start brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
“We’ve expanded in every direction,” Tourville said.
And with the addition of the rooftop lounge, the expansion is certainly going up.
If you go
River Rat Brewery will host its four-year anniversary party on March 10. Tourville says they’ll have 40 beers of varying styles available, including their new Edisto IPA, a session-style IPA with notes of pine and spice, that will be available only at the taproom.
River Rat is located at 1231 Shop Road in Columbia.