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A former Vista hotspot that closed its doors after 16 years in December is undergoing a renaissance. The Flying Saucer's space, located at 931 Senate Street was acquired by Tasha Shmanske and will be transformed into a new sports bar concept for Columbia.

According to Johnathan Lemond, regional manager for Prestige Dining Group, the building is being remodeled to house Republic Biergarten and Kitchen.

Lemond described the new establishment as having an “upscale sports bar vibe.” He said that the new bar will include six 70-in. TVs, with two projectors indoors and one projector outdoors, along with two pool tables.

Though the fate of sports is still uncertain, Lemond said the bar will play whatever is on. He said he took comfort in knowing that golf, baseball, and SEC and ACC football will be held this fall.

A variety of beers and other mixed drinks will be served at the new sports bar. Lemond said management is working with beer distributors to create a wide range of options for customers.

Republic Biergarten and Kitchen will also serve a specialized selection of food. “The cuisine is hard to completely explain, but will include upscale bar food with southern fusion,” he said. “Our chef was the executive chef at Ruth’s Chris in Atlanta, so we’re coming up with an amazing menu.”

Lemond said management and staff have experienced delays in opening because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This plan was implemented a little bit before we knew how serious the pandemic was,” he said. “We’re starting off with smaller staff and working with half capacity, which is difficult.”

Once the remaining details are finalized, Republic Biergarten and Kitchen is scheduled to open within the next two weeks, according to Lemond.

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