During the seasons when Columbus is lucky enough to bask in warm, sunny weather, (614) explores patios of all makes. We do research in the field, visiting three each month—a snapshot of these outdoor havens of drink and community.
Oddfellows Liquor Bar
1038 N High St.
Oddfellows finally added a shitty patio. The self-proclaimed shitty spot to drink in the Short North officially unveiled its outdoor space on May 2 in conjunction with the CD102.5 Cinco de Mayo bar hop. Despite overt attempts at tackiness on the inside, the area for open-air imbibing is imaginative and nearly kitsch-free, a welcome addition to the scene.
Overhead, bare bulbs provide soft lighting, with a few pairs of sneakers thrown over the strings for good measure. A mosaic of neon and pastel bikes ornaments the rear wall, and communal tables provide a gathering place for those celebrating Cinco de Mayo a few days early.
The Mikey’s Late Night Slice truck parked inside makes for convenient one-stop shopping, and the line extends to the gated entrance for the duration of the night. It appears to grow by mitosis, each patron somehow replicating just as the person at the front receives pizza. In the space where Mikey’s used to project movies onto a brick wall for drunken customers, the patio now hosts crowds throughout the intoxicating journey.
Drink: Tallboy PBR, served in a brown paper bag, just how the god of shitty beer intended it to be drank
1227 N High St
On the actual date of Cinco de Mayo, Condado is packed to the seams. The hostess patiently explains to every new group through the door that there aren’t any tables available. She can’t even give an estimate for a wait time because, well, people just aren’t leaving. It’s a Mexican holiday at a taco and tequila bar—every ounce of space is accounted for.
Outside, the picnic tables are also filled—people celebrate with mason jars full of colorful booze while pork smokes on a wooden roasting cart in the corner. A makeshift bar has been erected to keep everyone sated with margaritas. The interior motif is Day of the Dead, but the painted designs out here on the patio are more vivid and whimsical. From the street outside, the top of the north wall is still visible over the fencing—the word “Condado” floating in the sky just above pink-capped mountains. It’s gorgeous, one of the first truly hot days of the year, and the bar is buzzing. Long live the dead.
Drink: Mezcaliente, a margarita-style cocktail with jalapenos and cucumber
220 W Nationwide Blvd.
The end of May brings Memorial Day, and on that Monday evening the streets of the Short North and the Arena District are dotted with people trying to wring every drop from the extended weekend. Nada provides the last polished outpost before Huntington Park, and it serves as the last stop for many revelers on a three-day holiday.
Across from the colossal arch that greets pedestrians to McFerson Commons, the patio is a vibrant oasis. Red plank walls buttress the restaurant entryways, and gardens sit atop the wooden barriers that frame the space’s edges, with little yellow flowers and bristly bushes lit from below. A massive pergola encases the far end.
Families and couples dine and drink in waning light. Servers bring margaritas of every shade to the tables, accompanied by salsas, guacamole, and shared plates of modern Mexican fusion. Kanye West’s “Lost in the World” plays over the outdoor speakers, and casual conversation floats on the breeze between tables as the sky fades to purple.
Drink: Chile-Mango, another spicy take on a margarita