Our Favorite Coffee Shops in Columbia, SC — Top 3 (2019)

THIS IS NOT AN AD. WE JUST LOVE THESE SPOTS.

Let’s talk coffee. I’m a coffee lover. I’m still not hardcore enough to drink black coffee, BUT everything else, I love. It all started back at 13 years old when I got up early in the morning to fish with my pops. Coffee made me feel like an adult.

Around 23, coffee became more of a crutch than a pleasure.

I started the business and along with that came not only having 2 cups in the morning, but also two cups in the evening :0. I could not stay awake and work without it. It may be one of the reasons I was able to grow. Debatable?

Dialing back a bit, at 26, coffee has become much more of a pleasure. I am no connoisseur, but I enjoy it. Mochas. Cappuccinos. Lattes. Espresso shakes. Macchiatos. You name it. I really enjoy people-watching and coffee-drinking. So naturally, my thing is…… COFFEE SHOPS.

As an entrepreneurs and artists, we (BOWGO) take coffee shops super serious. Living in Columbia, SC for going on 6 years, I feel like I’ve witnessed a huge uprising of them, and I could not be more excited!! So let’s break it down. I feel a longer list coming, but for now, here are our three favorite coffee shops in Columbia, South Carolina.

P.S. There are other amazing coffee shops in Columbia, but these are our personal favorite right this second. I’ll list the others at the end:)

3. Drip on Main (@driponmain) — 4/5

1441 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201

With the prime business location of downtown Main Street, this location of Drip is PERFECT for business meetings and people watching. I’ve met here for internship interviews, interviewing others, quick snacks, thinking / people watching, BNI meetings and so much more. Let’s break down what we love.

Coffee *****

There is zero doubt that drip knows how to make their coffee. I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad cup. Literally every single type and style. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Internet *****

As someone who’s business lives a majority of its life on the internet and out of our home, it is extremely important that we take breaks at places with amazing internet. If the internet is shady, we almost never go back. We don’t have time for it. Anyways, we never have problems with Drips internet.

Food ****

I haven’t tried everything on the menu, but everything I’ve personally tried I’ve enjoyed. Bagels, muffins, scones, cookies, turkey and brie, etc…

Do yourself some good, and try it too.

Parking **

It’s Main Street. Parking is not the best especially during busy business hours. BUT this area of Main street is right by the hustle and bustle of Columbia. The walk from your car to Drip is far from boring. You’ll see lots of different types of people, Columbia Museum of the Arts, cool businesses and much more.

Vibe ***

When it comes to coffee shops, vibe is everything. Feng shui is included in the vibe. Drip is just full of cool people. Both locations. Main Street is definitely more put together and less creative compared to its counterpart, BUT they still bring some cool to Main Street.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND:

Jacqueline:

– Early Grey with Oat Milk w/ a shot of Rose-Cardamom
– ALL Scones

Cole:

– Espresso Shake
– Turkey and Brie

Drip on Main is great for…

– Coffee Dates
– Writing, Reading
– Meetings
– A Snack after a Main Street adventure
– People Watching

2. Drip in Five Points (@dripcoffeecolumbia) 4.5/5

729 Saluda Ave, Columbia, SC 29205

I know you may think this is repetitive, but honestly, this is a completely different coffee shop. Drip in Five Points is everything that you want in a coffee shop.

Coffee *****

They have 90% the same menu at both locations, but for some reason, I always eat a scone and an espresso shake at this location. Must be something in the air.

Internet *****

Internet is NEVER an issue. Shouts to Drip.

Food ****

Sorry to repeat, but it’s the same. So good though. *edit- They have different menus that change roughly every 6 months. We still love it!!

Parking ***

Parking is ALMOST never an issue. Unfortunately, you still have to dodge parking tickets with your Passport App, but when you park in Five Points, you are right next to drip. It’s a nice 10–20 meter stroll, and you get to see other DOPE shops and eats like Sid & Nancy’s and The Gourmet Shop.

Vibe *****

This is the ONE when it comes to vibe and feng shui. When you walk into Drip in Five Points, you immediately feel COOL. Best way to say it. Say what you want you will see artists, hipsters, old, young, all races, college, entrepreneurs and everything in between enjoying coffee. There are records in the back room. All the walls are lined with the dopest art. The tables and chairs are an eclectic assortment.

Everyone that you meet and see in Drip is inspiring in some way. Most people are open and smiling. Staff is always friendly and tries hard to remember names. It is the ultimate people watching spot because of the amount of different personalities.

1. smallSUGAR (@smallsugarSC) 4.8/5

709 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201

Right now, smallSUGAR is our go-to coffee shop. It was such a close call between it and Drip Five Points. But there’s really one thing that takes it above the others…the FOOD. I am no journalist so I do not know all the details of everyone involved, but I do know it is a combination of some of the towns best bakers and chefs. It shines through in not only the display but also the taste.

Coffee **** (Drinks)

To be honest, we almost never get coffee, coffee here. I stick with an iced mocha or sometimes a sweet tea. Their sweat tea is incredibly flavorful. Jacqueline goes with the Matcha. They also serve complimentary water in these fancy glasses which makes it feel like more of a dining experience. Sometimes that’s what you want.

Internet *****

No issues here. Does exactly what you need to do as an entrepreneur or someone just cruising the web. Just ask for the password per usual.

Food *****

This is why we can’t stop coming here. I am in love with the Turkey Melt, and judging from the plates that they send out, everyone else is too. The garlic aioli is incredible. Turkey is always fresh, and the green salad on the side is the perfect amount of greens to supplement the meal.

There are so many options on food, but Jacqueline and I both love the BREADDDDDD. The croissants are insanely cooked to perfection. Along with danishes. The country loaf is so good I could die. Everything is so on point. It is THE PLACE for coffee snacks. Hands down. I’m done.

Parking ****

You have to park in the Vista. It’s only open from 7AM-3PM so there is never any parking issues. Just have to pay for it. Which sucks in itself. But it’s worth it when you taste the food.

Vibe ***

I know this may be contradictory because Drip in Five Points vibe is so awesome, but let me explain. smallSUGAR is not cool from an artist’s perspective. But it is most definitely cute. The tables inside aren’t the most stable, but they get the job done. They’ve crammed a lot of tables into a tiny space which creates a very intimate area inside. Which is great for small lunches with friends or a quick coffee date. I also want to note that the staff is EXTREMELY FRIENDLY. As per their sign inside, their food is slightly more expensive (we don’t think so) because they pay more to their employees. This definitely shows, and we support that.

With that being said, we love to sit outside. Even on the hottest days, it’s not too hot because the entire area is shaded. There are several large tables outside with plenty of space to have small meetings with your team or solo. On the week days, we come to sit in a relatively quiet environment and knock out some computer work as well as have weekly meetings.

On the weekends, I enjoy reading my “Empath’s Survival Guide” book in peace and watching the different people chat and eat.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND:

Jacqueline:

– Greens & Grains
-Country Loaf
-Matcha with Oat Milk w/ a shot of Orgeat

Cole:

-Turkey Melt
-Cheese Danish
-Iced Mocha

smallSUGAR is great for:

-Coffee Dates
-Lunch Dates
-Business Meetings
-Solo Reading
-People Watching

So that’s it folks. If you’ve been thinking about trying these places or traveling to Columbia, definitely stop by.

This is not to say that Columbia does not have some other amazing coffee shops. These are just the ones we go to right now. Other great options:

Curiosity Coffee

Owners are hyper local -great for creatives and hosting shows

Blum Coffee Shop

Newest addition, Instagram-worthy — go to for trendy drinks

Indah Coffee

Great for a quick coffee, wouldn’t count on seating — also hosts art shows

The Local Buzz

Spacious, lots of pillows, Bojo vibes

Cool Beans Coffee

College student spot, bunch of board games

What are your favorite coffee shops in Columbia? Do you agree with us?

Article by Cole Connor

@coleconnor803

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Cole — Old Soul, Thinker, Artist | IG:@thecoleconnor | coleconnor.com

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