Numerous new bars, breweries, or restaurants opened up in the last year, signifying a legitimate boom for the Columbus food & drink industry.
These are just a few of the standouts:
987 N Fourth St.
We know what you are thinking: dining in the Italian Village means plates full of pasta, bottles on top of bottles of wine, and, wait, what? Tacos? Yep, you read that correctly. What was once a dairy barn in the Italian Village has been transformed into Cosecha serving up authentic Mexican cuisine. And while tacos aren’t a part of a traditional Mexican food menu, you’ll want to have a small fiesta after taking a bite out of one of the seemingly endless taco options that include fried cod, chorizo, or chicken al pastor. Fear not, vegetarians, as pleasing your palate here will come with no shortage of options, like vegetable tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas. And like all great Mexican restaurants, you can always sip on an ice cold lime margarita while you finish your fifth bowl of chips and queso or enjoy our personal favorite side dish of esquites; corn-off-the-cob with lime, chile powder, salt and cheese. Holy shit, someone point us in the direction of the largest spoon…
Over the Counter
5596 N High St., Worthington
A thing about us Ohioans: we’re dying to bring back the classic lunch counter. Sure, you can always belly up to the bar and make your order, but it’s not quite the same as the traditional set-up, where server and customer have a simple exchange resulting in a simple meal. And OTC in Worthington deals in simple: pretzel and corn dog bites, as well as grilled cheeses, patty melts, and hot dogs—the menu could have been frozen in time and delivered to the present without changing much of a word. While the rest of the city’s collective palate keeps taking two steps forward, how about laying back for a second and enjoying our simple, cultural staples? After all, sometimes you just need to get a bite to eat after a ball game—not a fried egg and truffle fries.
1205 N High St.
If the ending of the Prohibition era was supposed to kill off speakeasies, Two Truths either didn’t get the memo, or is just too focused cranking out delicious cocktails in a comfortable setting. This isn’t the bar to hit with your buddies to crack a few cold ones and watch the game. Rather, this is where you invite your old friends from college to show off how damn cool and cultured you have become. Instead of cramming a television on every blank space on the wall, Two Truths has no televisions and offers patrons shelves with books. And what’s a speakeasy without some great background tunes to complement that retro vibe? On the weekends, catch jazz bands, singer-songwriters and street musicians take over the stage while you sip on one of their many popular cocktails, such as the Marie Antoinette, which is topped with an egg white. Kick up your feet, grab a book, or talk to a stranger while you let the nostalgic 1930s atmosphere surround you, without a care in the world about the fuzz shaking down this speakeasy.
958 N High St.
With over 200 wines to choose from, we can already see the Facebook posts and Snapchats of “Girls night!” with the geolocation tag at Tastings in the Short North. Going to a grocery store and looking at wine options is overwhelming and a place like Tastings might present a little fear to a newcomer, but don’t worry. Tastings has taken the hassle and stress out of wine tasting with three easy steps. First, read over the descriptions of the wine at the testing station, then use your preloaded tasting card to get a sample of the wine. Finally, write down your review of each you tasted that night. Once you have emptied your preloaded tasting card, hopefully you have found your next favorite wine, or at the very least, you can go home buzzed off of samples.
Flowers and Bread
3870 N High St.
Step one: leave your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or whatever you use to connect to the internet at home. Step two: stop and literally smell the flowers while munching on some homemade citrus focaccia topped with homemade butter at Flowers and Bread. Step three: repeat until satisfied or out of money, whichever comes first. This is science, folks. The science of Flowers and Bread knows no bounds. Fellas, if you are looking for a first date option, look no further. Whether you want to take your special someone out for a light breakfast of homemade pastries with coffee or an elegant lunch with artisan sandwiches, you can’t go wrong. We will warn you, you have to show restraint because it is incredibly hard to not devour your food–such as cinnamon monkey bread or buttermilk chocolate bundt cake–as quickly as humanly possible, but try your best. As you enjoy your delicious pastry or bread option of your choosing, you can relax as you watch the bakers in the kitchen prepare more menu items or florists prepare bouquets in a peaceful environment where the hustle and stress of the technological world are put away for a few blissful minutes.
Mad Moon Cidery
2134 Britains Ln
Do you love hard apple cider? No, not Redd’s Apple Ale. We are talking real apples locally sourced and freshly-pressed that creates a crisp, clean and refreshing taste in your mouth after a hot summer day. If your thirst is desperate for some apple cider relief, Mad Moon Cidery can quench your thirst by the growlerful. With six different ciders on tap, Mad Moon boasts five different styles of apple cider, including a take on the fall favorite caramel-apple flavored cider, as well as a blood orange cider. The Taproom is open every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., so grab a few buddies, refuel with some cider and take a drink every time you hear someone’s dad say, “You like apples? How do you like them apples?!”
1455 W Third Ave.
After waiting nearly two years to see what the renovations would do to the old-style cafe and pub, it seems Grandview Cafe might have found its perfect middle ground for sports nerds, bar hoppers, and families to enjoy a meal while watching one of Columbus’s favorite teams. The combination of rustic hardwood floors with minimalistic brick walls complement well with the more modern windows creating an industrial vibe that seems to be catching fire in terms of popularity in the Columbus area. The menu reflects the atmosphere at GC with traditional pub food, but upscaled. Appetizer options include a mouthwatering four cheese macaroni and cheese that is broiled and served because who doesn’t love bubbly, melty cheese? If you are feeling adventurous, share an order of mussels cooked in a white wine and butter sauce with chorizo, garlic, blistered tomatoes, caramelized fennel, and chili flake, plus a side of shoestring french fries. Of course, if you are feeling safe, the cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle is always an option, but what’s life without risks? Order up a glass of bourbon from their selection of over 30 options and sink your teeth into crowd favorites such as the GC burger which features caramelized onions, smoked bacon, tomato jam, and white cheddar cheese—1all encapsulated by a pretzel bun, or the beer-battered haddock fish and chips.
697 N Fourth St.
Is there anything better than a high quality sandwich shack? I’m not talking about one of those restaurants flooding Columbus, I’m talking delicious-as-hell local food with all the beer and liquor options you can choose from. Folks, if you too dream of a world of non-chain bullshit, City Tavern might, metaphorically, be the next best thing since sliced bread. Speaking of bread, you’ll get a nice view of the iconic Wonder Bread sign outside as City Tavern is located in the building. The menu is loaded with endless options for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, with appetizers ranging from Hungarian stuffed peppers to Caprese flatbreads, along with the sandwiches featuring grilled chicken and portobello mushroom burgers. And these aren’t just regular burgers, as Jules Winnfield would say, “These are some tasty burgers!” Try the City Burger with portobello mushrooms and gouda cheese and reflect on if you will ever eat a burger the same. Do you love Ray Ray’s BBQ as much as we do? If answered yes, check out the Farmhouse Pulled Pork sandwich with the pulled pork and bbq sauce provided by Ray Ray’s and topped with a fried egg and onion straws (Stock and Barrel does not recommend this on first dates, but live dangerously, my friends). If you answered no to loving Ray Ray’s, please consult your doctor.
50 W Broad St.
Inside the LeVeque Tower sits another cocktail bar for the people of Columbus to take a trip back to when the towering monolith was originally created. Outfitted with dim lights, easy listening music, and oversized cushioned chairs, The Keep is a minimalist’s dream with a twang of nostalgia. For the time being, the menu is split up into two simple lists: “Drinks” and “Not Drinks.” For those looking to kick back a few before hitting the town or calling it a night, drink options include the LeVeque 75 which showcases Watershed Bourbon Barrel Gin, lemon, simple syrup, and cava, or take your taste buds to the beach with the concoction of white rum, coconut milk, lime, mango puree and bruleed mango, and simple syrup that is known as the Hush and Wonder. Sometimes drinking is hard work and creates quite the appetite, so browse the “not drink” options for smaller plates like shrimp cocktail if you are a traditionalist, or splurge a little with the lobster roll.
South Village Grille
197 Thurman Ave.
Well, German Village regulars didn’t have to wait long to get back through these familiar doors, with South Village Grille replacing the former Easy Street in only a matter of months. With George Stefanidis moving on to focus on his Red Brick concept, the space is now in the hands of a different restaurateur named George, this time Tanchevski, who has seen tons of success in the market with his Local Cantina spots. He and his team have replaced the kitsch and kookiness of the Easy Street vibe with modern touches—a marble bar and wood and brick upcycled from an Ohio barn. The menu trades in classic for contemporary, too—cocktails and crab being more common than fries and gyros. With German Village Coffee House and Thurman’s keeping breakfast and lunch on lockdown, we don’t mind the Village gaining a nice happy hour spot. That corner has it all covered.