Photo by Collins Laatsch.

Closer To God

Columbus levels up their patio game.

VASO | 6540 Riverside Dr.

Look, we know that it gets cliche to say something or someplace provides a whole new view of the city, but atop VASO, it doesn’t feel Dublin, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Columbus. One of the more exciting facets of the suburb’s new Bridge Park development, its upscale rooftop space is cozy and contemporary at once, and the see-for-miles perspective of the county is as impressive as they come. (Plus, you can see all the hospitals from there!)

Novak’s Tavern & Patio | 474 N High St.

The OG of the OT (on top) drinking space. Back in the day, their tiny square of fire-escape-adjacent was what sufficed for legal rooftop revelry, and when the new owners took over a few years back they made sure to put dollars and thought into the space. It’s really just a bar—but that’s part of its charm. No dance parties; no Jenga, just a place to belly up to the bar—where you can turn your back to the world and get a little sun on your neck.

Callahan’s | 520 Park St.

One of old-school rooftop spaces, Callahan’s is one of the few bars that may be better known for their second floor than their ground floor space. After recently renovating their space, it’s alive again with a good old-fashioned bump-and-grind dancefloor, something we could all use a little of every once in awhile.

Juniper | 580 N Fourth St.

You’re not really doing Columbus right now if you haven’t made at least one visit to Juniper. Doubling as the best wedding view and patio, this for-rent venue on the weekends, bar/restaurant during the week has made quite the splash atop the Smith Brothers building since its opening last year. Mind the calendar, though: it’s only open to the public Tuesday-Friday, and could be booked for a private event.

BrewDog Franklinton | 463 W Town St.

The rakish lads from Scotland never do anything without fanfare, and the second of their two new brewpubs is no exception. Its open-air, two-story concept is an imposing addition to the Town Street block of Franklinton, the literal crowning achievement being the second floor patio. One of the best, and perhaps the only patio view of the city from the West Side, you can easily gather the crowd in front of the corrugated steel-covered container bar from street level. Extra points for massive bean bag chairs and access from indoors and out. At BrewDog, you’re on top of the world—but looking up to Columbus.

RAM | 906 N High St.

These guys can claim the only rooftop space in the hottest area of town (Short North) and its half-facade provides cozy cover and a little protection from the elements. No frills here—just all chill.

Little Rock Bar | 944 N Fourth St.

One of the first new bars to kick-start the rooftop rally, Little Rock is on their second summer of secondary space—a small L-shaped outdoor lounge that complements the main floor’s beer-and-shot simplicity. No smoking, no cover, and no worries overlooking Fourth Street’s busy buzz.

Seventh Son | 1101 N Fourth St.

It was a 4/20 miracle when Seventh Son pulled off a last-minute open of their new second floor space just in time for Willie Nelson’s birthday (needs fact-checking). Never afraid to do their own thing, Seventh Son’s next-level expansion isn’t open to all of Columbus—but to all people, of course. Retractable roof tiles give them the advantage of year-round use, giving it adaptability for all seasons. It’s not the old Seventh Son, but it’s an even better version of the same vibe.

Platform Beer Co. | 408 N Sixth St.

Just like their Cleveland birthplace, Platform is the blue-collar lunch pail patio of the capital city. Come by on Tuesdays to drink for a good, rotating cause and take a pint up-top where you can once say you saw the city before it developed into what it is today (tomorrow).

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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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