You either hate them, or you totally love them: they’re the comeback kids of Columbia. These restaurants, watering holes, and events continue, and demonstrate their ability to come back time and time again.
College kids will be returning from summer break any day now, and one of the first places they’ll go is Cool Beans Coffee Company. The two-story College Grounds Café provides plenty of seating and stimulus in the way of coffee drinks and an all-day breakfast menu for working minds. Customers have the option of placing an order in person to stay or ordering a drink that can be delivered to their home or office. With so much flexibility and space, it’s no wonder this coffeehouse serves as a home-away-from-home for past and present Columbia residents.
Where to find it: 1217 College Street. www.coolbeanscoffeecompany.net 803.779.4277 Open 7 a.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-12 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
But nobody does comebacks quite like superheroes, which makes the Soda City Comic Con 2019 this weekend, “super” apropos. The yearly event features artists and vendors, along with pinball and arcade games. Attendees can pre-purchase tickets or buy them at the door. Even if you’re not a huge fan of comics, it’s worth the price of admission to see the cosplay, or for those non-nerds out there, costume contest. One-day admission costs up to $20, while a two-day pass is $25. Children from ages six to twelve get in for $5. Special guests this year include, Michael Rooker from Guardians of the Galaxy and Kathy Najimy from Hocus Pocus.
Where to find it: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (1101 Lincoln Street). www.sodacitycomiccon.com Open 10 a.m. August 10- 5 p.m. August 11.
And speaking of arcades, after you’ve gotten your fill of the newest games this season, drive to the Arcade Mall, the oldest shopping mall in South Carolina. In the early 1970s the lower level of this 1912 building expanded Columbia’s nightlife, complete with a bar and restaurant. While the Arcade has struggled since its initial boogie nights, over the past decade more retail stores and restaurant options including: Blue Sky Art Gallery; Indah Coffee; Stoner’s Pizza, and Swanson’s Deli, have brought this once vacant space back to life.
Where to find it: 1332 Main Street. 803.779.1234. Open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
But if eating and drinking amongst the Arcade’s cherubs is a little too classical for you and your craving a homelier feeling, stop by the Mousetrap. What was originally opened by the gamecock giant Bill Jerry in 1979 is now under new ownership. Open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, this once good bar with snacks is now a great restaurant with drink service. For dinner, order the Chicken Charleston: grilled chicken topped with tasso gravy and finished, finished with a sweet and spicy barbeque sauce served over red rice. One bite and you’re guaranteed to come back, kid.
Where to find it: 2711 Middleburg Drive. www.mousetrapsodacity.com 803.708.2592. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Alyssa Velazquez, special to GoColumbia