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.
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.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
Columbia’s newest total care spa is now taking appointments and offering $10 off services $25 or more for first time clients. Location, hours, and more info here.
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
This Week @ Social
Edward Shouse performs Friday the 21st, and on Saturday Absolut Vodka presents A Night in Sweden, with specialty Absolut drinks and live music by Christian Slick. Follow us!
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: