This year’s Best of Columbia issue marks the 25th anniversary of the annual readers’ poll, first launched by Free Times in 1989.
And make no mistake: Best of Columbia is a readers’ poll — we aren’t handing out awards to whoever spent the most money on advertising, nor are the writers and editors of Free Times deciding who gets the nod in any given category. The winners presented here are your choices. So, whether you’re thrilled or disappointed with the results, just know that the verdict reflects the will of the people.
The Best of Columbia poll has come a long way since the days of full-page, paper-only ballots. These days, voting is online-only and readers are voting in greater numbers than ever.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed, either: Your tastes have become more discerning, too. Though homogenous corporations still win in some categories, your choices overall have become more locally focused in the past few years, zeroing in on the things that make Columbia such an eclectic and charming city. Some people have argued in years past that we should ban national chains from winning; we’ve always said that the Best Of Columbia poll should reflect local tastes, not dictate them — and we’re glad to see that local tastes continue to evolve.
Of course, just like our readers, writers and editors are an opinionated bunch, too. So — just as we do every year — we have included Writers’ Picks in categories where we feel the voters might have overlooked a worthy competitor.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Brew Pub Site Available
3520 Augusta Road, West Columbia. Click for more information.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Wing Zone is now hiring for experienced delivery drivers, cooks & cashiers. Apply in person @ 132 Assembly St. or call 803-933-9464.
Free Times is looking for a highly organized, detail-oriented self-starter to assist in gathering material from advertisers, coordinating between the sales and production departments, and handling routine clerical tasks. Must be proficient on a Mac, able to conduct business via phone, email, text, Dropbox, social media platforms and face to face while under deadline in a fast-paced, sometimes distracting work environment. The position requires the ability to multitask, excellent oral and written communication skills, and solid experience in quickly learning new computer programs. This is a full time position with benefits. Send a cover letter, resume and salary expectation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com