Featured Venue

South Campus Gateway, LLC.

Photos by Megan Leigh Barnard

Shed Show

“Forget Man Caves, Backyard Bar Sheds are the New Trend”

Whatever you say, Internet.

I saw this post sliding around my Facebook page last week, and I thought: Let’s let Columbus be the judge of that.

Meaning: if backyard bars are truly a thing, I know this town of ours—with its ample backyards and overstocked fridges—would produce a few. Within minutes of re-posting, I had three fall into my lap. And now, I want to invite myself over to all of them. Cheers to these inventive imbibers who’ve found a much fancier place to catch a buzz and give kids/husbands/dogs/book clubs the slip.

Mike & Kristine Ream

If you love to entertain and you live in Clintonville, you have to get pretty inventive.

So, when Kristine Ream saw a shed come up for auction, she had to have it. Not only did she hope to make it the new location for her and her husband’s famed karaoke parties, but also an everyday escape.

“I imagined a nice backyard oasis where I can read or drink with friends without tying up the one living room that we do share between my husband and my Minecraft-addicted eight-year-old,” she laughed.

It’s not the easiest thing to explain, but that’s part of the charm.

“So… she has a little house… outside… to drink in… that’s right outside of the other house?” she said of people’s responses. “‘Why is that cool?’ I really don’t know. But it is.”

A proud bargain hunter, the entire shed was furnished for $125, including all the furniture found at auction, which Kristine admitted to being slightly addicted to.

“The choices were primarily made on what I could get for pennies on the dollar, but were still cool and functional,” she said.

She also hopes the shed will become the new meeting place for her and her fellow beer geeks. She’s worked in the industry since 2001, and since 2005 has been one of many hosts of a traveling beer club, a group of once-strangers that are now best friends, bonded over the love of the brew.

“We’re all a bit ornery after 10 samples of bourbon-barrel-aged-whatever, so the shed is a great place for us,” she laughed. “Plus, we don’t have a garage.”

J.B. & Anne Diehl

Just because you’re in your 50s, doesn’t mean you can’t be on the cutting edge of home improvement. Forget social media—Anne Diehl and her husband were shacking up the spirits in their backyard before there were iPhones.

“It is nice to know we are still relevant,” Anne laughed. “We don’t party as hard as we used to, but love that we can share our fun space with family and friends.

HB’s Smoke and Tan, the affectionate name for their backyard bar shed, was born circa 2004 in the way many great ideas are: from a night of indulgence.

“We came up with name while smoking under a strong heating lamp of a bar courtyard,” Anne said. “We thought, those are the two worst things you can do—smoke and tan.”

It’s a simple setup that has evolved over the years, just like other bars, with improvements being more a matter of necessity than strategy. The men were pitching golf balls over the roof once and broke out a window; a basement bar was donated along with a mini fridge. All power comes from one extension cord snaking from the house.

It’s a joint that evokes the classic road stops of America—a place you could get a beer, a slice of pie, and a tank full of diesel for under $3—and it’s decorated accordingly. Old-school handbills for booze and cigs, vintage decanters lead the way, and Old Blue Eyes keeps watch over the bar’s lone stool. The posted rules for the establishment brings home its tongue-in-cheek tribute the world’s carnal pleasures:

Grab a Smoke, get a Tan

Bring the kids in the minivan

Stop in for a wax or just a trim

Don’t forget the 40 ouncer and the Slim Jim

We’ve got snacks and Porn for you

And something special for you-know-who

Do your laundry, shoot some pool

Play the lottery, it’s all real cool

Come inside, or drive on thru

24/7, we’re here for you…

I mean, tell me where you can find a bar like that nearby?

Craig & Kelli Clawson

Be the change you want to see in the world, eh?

Or, in the case of Craig Clawson, build the bar you want to be in.

The Falcon’s Roost evolved from a project that he was determined to finish, to a hobby-as-solace after a rough career patch, to an epiphany.

“I built a small version of the bar I would want to be in,” he said. “For me, going out has always been about going to a place where you can sit, get a good drink, and talk to a small group of friends. I have some hearing loss and I’m an introvert. So, I can’t stand going to loud crowded places. I built the place that I would want to be in, and invite over the friends I want to hang with.”

But the Falcon’s Roost is so much more than that. Now, it’s the home studio for 6pod4, a podcast he started with friend Robert Gratton, the site of an Ernest Hemingway-themed party, and even a wedding venue.

“At first we didn’t know what we were going to do in terms of the show—we started just sitting around drinking and talking about tacos and whiskey,” he laughed. “We quickly found our voice as an interview podcast talking with the people behind the things that make the Central Ohio region great.”

For Clawson, it’s a sanctuary; a place of reverence. Makes sense for someone who’s also an ordained minister.

“I was very honored to be the celebrant for our friend’s wedding last fall, after the Supreme Court decision that removed barriers to same sex couples. I performed the wedding at 1, was the bartender by 2, and by 6, was on a plane to Virginia to perform consulting work for my then company,” he said.

His wife refers to it as his “old man garden.”

“I go there after work, or on weekends, and tinker around—either cleaning, trying out new recipes, or hanging out with friends who have come over,” he said.

“Tinkering” plans for this year include adding pavers outside of the door, to create a patio with a firepit. He’s kicking around the idea of a mini stage with electrical outlets that could accommodate live music, too.

“For me it’s the ultimate neighborhood bar.”

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Travis Hoewischer

I've been working in journalism in central Ohio for more than a decade, and have been lucky enough to be a part of (614) Magazine since the very first issue. Proud to live in a city that still cares – and still reads.

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