Everyone’s got a secret, even Columbia. Whether it’s unknown local history or a restaurant with a secret recipe, these hiding-in-plain-sight or exclusive hidey-holes in West Columbia are just waiting to be explored.
On your drive into West Columbia stop the car in front of the Gunter-Summers House on Center Street. Listed in the National Register, this Victorian house with a two-tiered front porch and pressed-metal roof was one of the first houses built in New Brookland, renamed West Columbia in 1936. The town of New Brookland was originally established as a resort village along the Congaree River. The Gunter-Summers House, built by Joseph Gunter in 1895, is a great example of 19th century architecture, early Columbiana history, and its property is host to two turn-of-the-century outbuildings: 1900 barn and 1910 smokehouse. Roughly 120 years later, the house remains a private residence.
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Where to find it: 841 Center St.
Speaking of homes, what about rooms? Or more specifically, escape rooms. The Final Door gives participants 60 minutes to solve clues and piece together puzzles to find the hidden door in a room full of highly immersive components meant to fright and enthrall. Have you always wanted to hunt vampires, be part of a ritualistic sacrifice, or escape a serial killer? Now you can. Choose a game, list the number of participants, and pick a date — it’s as simple as that.
Where to find it: 930 Knox Abbott Drive. Open 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday. www.thefinaldoor.com.
Treat your great escape team to a slightly more tasty mystery at Maurice’s Piggie Park. In 1939 Joe Bessinger poured his tangy, mustard-based barbecue sauce over a serving of hickory-smoked pork. This sauce’s secret recipe was passed down from Joe to his son Maurice, who decided to open a barbecue joint for pit-cooked pork featuring Joe’s original secret sauce. The pit crew working in West Columbia are the children of Maurice Bessinger, and are still churning out some of the best “secretly sauced” barbecue in South Carolina.
Where to find it: 1600 Charleston Highway. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. www.piggiepark.com.
Stealthy take your nightcap at the members-only sports bar Roosters Den Sports Grill. Not only does this sports club offer free pool on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, it’s outfitted with arcade games that are free to play. Membership is $5 a year. If you bring a friend and they buy a membership, you get a drink for free — making this one secret worth telling.
Where to find it: 1215 Augusta St., Suite A. Open 2 p.m.-2 a..m. Monday-Tuesday; 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 10 a.m. on Sunday. www.roostersden.org.