Beck Tavern by Collins Laatsch

Old School/New School

Welcome to a new series at Stock & Barrel, where we pair two establishments that highlight the restaurant/bar scene in Columbus—one with a younger footprint, and another steeped in character.

The Rules: 

Choose one destination for dinner and a second destination for a nightcap. One must be new—the other old. The locations must be within walking distance of each other.

 

Notes by Collins Laatsch

This month: German Village/Brewery District

New School: Copious/Notes

Located at 520 N High St. in the Brewery District, Copious opened its doors for business in October 2015 and has been a boon to local night life since. Three different concepts hosted at Copious fall under the same umbrella and mesh together seamlessly.

The first concept is Notes, an intimate music venue located in the basement. Notes regularly hosts Columbus Jazz Patriarch Bobby Floyd as well as other local and national jazz and blues artists. Notes offers full bar service and a limited food menu.

Most Note-ably, it also hosts the O-GEE Hip Hop dance party on the last Saturday of every month and has food and drink specials Thursday through Sunday. At Notes, there truly is something for everyone.

The restaurant on the main floor is the building’s namesake and is hip and chic with hardwood floors, open spacing and an art gallery dedicated to local artists. The art is available for purchase and creates an ambiance that is unique to Central Ohio.

The dining area is large but not cavernous, with windows that allow patrons to view the action on High Street. The dining room also hosts smaller areas allowing a limited privacy to larger parties.

There is also an informal, relaxed bar that offers ONLY Ohio drafts as well as top-shelf liquor, two televisions and a staff that pays attention to detail.

Copious’ menu is concise, offering diverse options and a nightly market-price seafood entrée. I started with the Fried Green Tomatoes, which were a restaurant week special.

Topped with jumbo lump crab meat and Old Bay Buerre Blanc, the tomatoes had a crisp outside, warm inside and contained a rich, creamy herb cheese. Copious would be well served by promoting this item to the regular dinner menu.

For my entrée, I chose the seared scallops. Expertly seared, the scallops were served with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, and a mustard white wine butter sauce. This dish was robust and lively with compeimentary and diverse textures.

For those looking to really get the party started, check out The McGowan Loft. The upstairs event space hosts weddings/receptions, corporate events and other celebrations. The space overlooks High Street and has wooden floors and an industrial vibe highlighted by a raw ceiling with exposed ductwork.

After you have finished dinner, viewed the art, seen a show or made a scene (wedding reception), it is time to keep the party going with an Old School night cap located just a half mile away.

Old School: Beck Tavern

Colloquially referred to as the ‘Low Beck,’ Beck Tavern (284 E Beck St.) is a German Village institution. The building that houses the Beck Tavern is 98 years old and has been in continuous operation as a watering hole (of some sort) since the 1930s.

Dimly lit and filled with local sports memorabilia and neon signs, Beck Tavern has a divided block U pattern bar that seats about 25. On my recent visit, the bar hosted a diverse crowd that included neighborhood locals, interns from the Statehouse, and a couple on a date night. It seemed that every group was having a private conversation while simultaneously being part of a larger and continuous bar conversation where friendly insults and inside jokes were traded with impunity.

This routine seemed comforting to longtime bartender Ashley who was serving drinks, holding court, and supplying the jukebox with a steady diet of classic Wu-Tang. She knew her regulars, what they were drinking, and their backstories. Low Beck is the kind of place where accomplishments are celebrated, defeats are softened, and people take care of each other.

The west side of the bar contains four competition-level dart boards and a Golden Tee machine, where a group of four were trading swings in between trading shots of chilled Jäger. Beck Tavern takes their darts seriously and on Friday nights, it is not uncommon to find all four boards in use with a line of competitors waiting on winners.

Ohio professional sports are also a consequential topic at Beck Tavern and all Ohio teams are represented well. There are a handful of flat screens (on this night all showing the Blue Jackets), and I am certain they are all tuned to Ohio State Football on Saturdays in the fall.

Beck Tavern also has many welcoming nooks with larger square tables that are ideal for a long evening of drinks, camaraderie and neighborhood gossip.

So there you have it, a fun-filled night just south of Downtown. In one evening you can have a modern dinner at Copious, walk downstairs to catch great local jazz at Notes and follow it all up at Low Beck for craft drafts, darts and debauchery. Park once, drink twice, support local.

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