So since parts of my review are way outdated after five years, I figured I'd write an update. First and foremost, Carabar has proven so important to OTE that it actually built a damn community around the bar, to such an extent that over the last five years, so many businesses have sprung up on the block with Carabar (upper cup coffee, old familiar barber shop, CS gallery, cap city tattoo, an antique shop and maybe another gallery or two) that the city had to back off it's plans to demolish Parsons ave and redesigned the whole highway reroute, which is well underway by now.
Let's not stop there. Where do the proprietors and staff of all the above, plus angry baker, yellow brick pizza and tavern old town (all owing part of their existence to Carabar) go when off the clock? Yes, Carabar.
So successful has Carabar been at (sort of) revitalizing OTE, that some genius developer thought it would be a grand idea to build a monstrosity of an apartment complex the likes of which you find in Grandview and Polaris with absolutely no input from OTE and NES residents. Not surprisingly, we don't want it here. Yet despite efforts to fight it, it looks like it will go up. Our goal now is to at least get it redesigned to take the neighborhood's aesthetics into account and maybe actually reduce its size since it's footprint is way too big for the block.
The owners of said businesses above, including Carabar, were all involved in that fight. Why wouldn't they want these new apts bringing more residents to the area? Because they know and ARE the neighborhood. They, unlike city council, know a good fit when they see it, and this isn't it.
People need to get off this hipster bitching bullshit too. Literally all walks of life come to Carabar. Gay, straight...Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin...black, white, Carabar, you make it happen. (RIP MCA.) There is a much higher percentage of wannabe hipsters and their yuppie counterparts at any bar between nationwide and Hudson, and they'll make up 95% of patrons in those bars. Not so at Carabar, and never was the case. Come see for yourself.
Thanks Carabar for being my bar for six years and counting. Still getting dinner here three nights a week. For under ten bucks. Total all week. Still never a cash show either. Win.
I'll go one further and state that this is the successor to the crown of Best Dive Bar in Columbus. Anyone still in Columbus from the days when you could hang at Bernie's all week and see the Queers on Monday, Guitar Wolf on Tuesday, the Donnas on Wednesday (not that anyone would want to), Oxymoron on Thursday and The Promise Ring on Friday now hangs out at Cafe Bourbon Street (okay, okay; maybe a few are at Carabar and a few are at Ruby Tuesday). It's not as good as Bernie's was then, but it's far better than Bernie's is now.
They have karaoke on Sundays, and it's a good time. They have Gennessee, Stroh's, Lone Star and Pabst, and for the right price. So yeah, it's a dive bar. The stage is maybe a foot high. There are no windows, it's dark, there's a broken pinball machine. It's one of the preferred venues of the likes of the legendary, yet still underground, Cheater Slicks and so on.
There used to be a delivery restaurant called Taco Ninja adjoined to it that was infamously rumored to deliver cocaine in addition to tacos. It has since been replaced with a wiener stand. There are no drug dealing rumors regarding the wieners yet.
I have devastating news to report. =( Well, devastating to myself and my friend/roommate Ron. We went to Oldfield's (I literally typed Oldfiend's the first go round; Freudian slip of the year) sometime before Christmas.
When we walked in, we both instantly knew something was up. Then we looked around a bit and the first thing we notice is that we know no one here. As our old neighborhood bar, neither one of us had been here in the last decade and not seen someone we knew.
We walked up to the bar to get drinks and an unfamiliar bartender came up and asked for our order...After getting carded at Oldfield's for the first time in a decade, I glanced over at the specials sign and noticed it read "Welcome to the New Oldfield's!" My heart sank.
I knew that Jim had sold the Thirsty Scholar a good while back, and that the former owner of High Five had recently purchased Oldfield's on High and turned it into Kobo. However, Jim had always referred to Oldfield's on 4th as his "baby." I never thought he would sell it!
To their credit, the new owners kept much of Oldfield's as it was, but they changed a number of things too, like axing a lot of the good microbrews. I can't quite put a finger on it, but something just FELT different. Before we even saw it had been sold, something was off about it. Sitting there enjoying our last Oldfield's drinks ever, we both just sort of looked at each other and knew. I said "I'll never step foot in here again." "Hell no," replied Ron.
On a serious and somber note, back in November, Ron and I learned that our friend E, who had worked the door, first at Oldfield's (all three of us had worked there at one time or another), then at the High Five and Circus, had passed away unexpectedly a few months prior at the age of 33. This certainly added to our instant rejection of the "new" Oldfield's, but I think our decision was inevitable.
Farewell Oldfield's, and farewell Emanuel.
Surly Girl is one of my favorite spots in Columbus. It has an incredible ambiance: pictures that fit the theme, bullhorns, a chandelier, and a sepia tone that makes you feel like you are in an old photograph.
The beer list is extensive and features indicators letting you know of beers that are Ohio brewed, women brewed, organically brewed, etc. They apparently now feature 24 draft selections, which seems like far more than the last time I visited.
They have a full page of cleverly named cocktails that is worth reading over whether you intend to order something from it or not. It also features interesting options like vodka and red pop (the Surly Temple) or bourbon and root beer (the "Sass" parilla).
The food is equally pleasing and underpriced for the quality and thought that goes into the dishes. There are a plethora of veg or vegan friendly options and plenty of meat to boot. The vegetarian chili is awesome, the Frito Pie is one of their signatures and worth trying. One of my favorites is the spicy peanut butter and banana sandwich. It is served with a side of marshmallows and a pint of chocolate milk, and costs a measly $5 all the time. The spicy peanut butter is made in house and is quite spicy. The milk is to help with that. Also, they feature a rotating selection of delicious cupcakes for dessert.
The kitchen is open late, but at night it becomes more of a bar atmosphere. It has a great jukebox, punk rock aerobics on Tuesdays and an open mic comedy night on Wednesdays. Both of these take place in the back room, so if it isn't your cup of tea you can just hang out up front.
My only complaint, and the reason for a 4/5 is that there is very limited seating, the wait can be very long, and I think they could do better at managing the wait.
Now, THIS is the best place to get a giant selection of draft microbrew in town. Their happy hour cannot be beat - 1/2 price on drafts, big azz margaritas and wings. Their stronger ABV beer comes in a 12 oz. glass, unlike Bodega where you are served in an 8-10oz glass (keep in mind, it's 16oz. for ABV less than 9% at both joints).
The service at the bar is always fast, and the bartenders are super friendly and helpful. Each Wednesday night they have a beer tasting featuring a different brewery, usually including a free pint glass from said brewery with purchase of a draft from said brewery.
Oh, I totally neglected to mention they have something ridiculous like thirty different brands of tequila. From Cuervo to Cabo Wabo and beyond. If you come here and drink Sauza or Jose Cuervo, you are missing out. Okay, so I went and counted from their online menu. 44. 44 types of tequila. Have fun with that.
The food offers one of the best vegetarian and vegan selections around. Many items are specifically vegan/veg and others can be made that way upon request. From 2-4 students eat for half price. Awesome. From 10pm til close everyone eats half price. Awesome.
If you don't sit at the bar though, expect less than stellar service. Every time, and I do mean, every time, I have been seated at a table, there have been problems, whether it be speed of service or accuracy of order. They put their good servers behind the bar, let's put it that way.
Oh, they also do amazing specials for nearly every holiday, including my favorite - Groundhog's Day. If he sees his shadow - half off margaritas all day, if he doesn't - half off drafts all day. That's a win/win right there.
Best dish on the menu? The Mahi Mahi Salad Salad. Get it after 10pm, it's $5 and worth every cent.
** To comment briefly on the review by Peter C. - The restaurant began around the University of Pittsburgh, where there are now, I think, four (nine in total throughout PA and OH). It was started by regular guys. It's not at all as contrived as you would think. It was basically started as a burrito joint for guys who love good beer. Point of fact - The only domestic beer available chain-wide was Miller Lite, but Buckeyes with dead palates complained so much that they had to add Bud Light to the Columbus menu. It was a sad day when I walked in and saw it on the tap list.**
Bernie's heyday has come and gone. If I could rate the deli side and the bar side separately I would give the deli 4 stars. The food here is quite good and cheap compared to the rest of the campus strip. But the bar no longer hosts any relevant shows. They used to have several national acts per week, now they have a couple per month. The people that made it a vibrant place worth going to now go to Bourbon Street, and a slew of other places. If you are looking for the happening place in town, this ain't it. That being said, there are a lot of beer choices and happy hour runs from 9am to 9pm. That isn't a joke. Still a fun place to hang out sometimes. Just don't go expecting much or you'll be disappointed.
"The bar that's hard to find and even harder to leave."
It's tagline is something very similar to that, if not that exact phrasing.
Previously owned by Andyman of CD101 fame, this bar has a stellar ambiance. It's a total dive in some respects. The beer is cheap, the jukebox is amazing, it's tiny and tucked away on an obscure portion of Chambers road. The performance area has a friggin' tree growing through the floor, taking up prime real estate for band viewing. Gotta love it. The pool table is pretty cheap as I recall. It's kind of hard to reach if you don't drive and even more difficult to get home if you did drive. Probably a bad idea for regular ole drinking if you don't live close by, but a great place to catch some local talent.
Went back for food. Not the best experience. Service is suuuuuuper slow at the Crest! It wasn't even busy when we ate here. The tables were full, but there was no wait, and the place was overstaffed, still being new and all. So why did it take 30 minutes to get our beers? And then another 30 to put in our food orders?
The food itself came out rather quickly (comparatively at least) and my portabella mushroom burger (veggie - cap as meat) was delicious. I don't know if I would go so far as to say it's better than the portabella burger at Barley's (the best in town), but it competed. On the other hand, it was half the size of the one at Barley's. It was just a half cap as opposed to a full cap. And more expensive than Barley's.
I still have high hopes for this place. Check out the size of the friggin' rain barrels they're using! Rainwater is being recycled as irrigation for the gardens they're growing. That's cool y'all. And it's a high tech system, (well, more high tech than most home apps), the irrigation line runs right off the rain barrel and you can turn it on with the twist of a spigot. Also learned that most of the building materials involved in the rehab were repurposed - from old barns, old buildings, etc. Again, good job. Now get the service improved and you'll be set!
Yo! What an awesome space. Had been planning to make a visit after seeing Seth's review, and finally got around to it on Friday. This is the closest thing in town to drinking in Hobbiton or at the Prancing Pony. The ambiance is just fantastic! Old, rustic large bench style tables that promote interaction between strangers, tables sitting on oak barrels, tables made out of pony kegs, candles on all the tables. Dark, woody, and homey. The stage is no more than a half foot high and looks perfect for intimate folk, bluegrass or acoustic performances. The owners were friendly, personable, and welcoming to boot. OH YEAH, plus the prices are freakin' great. $4-5 per draft and $6 for cocktails.
speaking of cocktails, I tried their take on the mule and the Headless Horseman. I thought the ginger beer in the mule was a bit understated and enjoyed the horseman a fair bit more because of the more prominent ginger in it (their mule is bourbon-based, the horseman vodka-based).
Why not a five?
- The selections are slim, so if you are looking for variety, this isn't the spot for you. That said, they pick and choose wisely, and I had things here that I haven't seen elsewhere in town. Selections being draft beer, mixed drinks made with their house sodas, and a few bottled options (or maybe just one).
- They have not an ounce of food in the place, not even salted beer nuts or the like.
- Parking leaves a lot to be desired (gotta park down at the school a few streets west).
- Hours aren't exactly great, but will pick up as business does. Currently only open weekends, starting at six and closing at midnight. This week they will start opening on Thursday too.
- Lastly, for a place that has live music all three nights that it is open, there are so many tables that dancing isn't really an option. Frankly, I like the tables, but I think that would be a negative for a lot of people, if the bluegrass jam at Dick's Den is any indication.
Honestly, a simply fantastic new addition to the Columbus music and drinking scene, with an offbeat location that should bring some life to the intersection (Hudson and Indianola - land of quik-e marts and pizza joints).
edit: Of course I'm the only jerk that didn't give five stars. It's hard competing with the yelp over-forgiving attitude sometimes. How ridiculous that I should feel bad about leaving a four star review.
|Reviews with 6-6-6 or greater FUC votes.||Nahmean?|
|Mostly Columbus specific, but not entirely. Also not all inclusive. There are a lot of happy hours I have yet to experience!||Best places to get beer for home in the 'bus. Includes takeouts and bars with carryout service.|
|Places I've been going for a long, long ass time.||
I had a dream when I was in high school
That I attended
The Punk Rock Academy
|With about half the world's population eating them, no wonder the cuisines of Asia reign supreme. List of (East) Asian restaurants in Columbus, from best to worst.||A list of places you should go to instead of Starbucks|
|Some of my favorite dining destinations in the city.||Places that kicked me out.|
Columbus, OH, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
August 2008Dinge, die ich mag
Daft Punk.Hier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
the club, bottle full of bub.Heimatort
Charleston, WVMein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm thinking about Yelping.Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
Cuz I don't be handing out 4 and 5 stars like they candy.Meine zweitliebste Website Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
The Road, and yes, I've read lots of books since then.Mein erstes Konzerterlebnis
Cheap Trick!Mein Lieblingsfilm
I Heart HuckabeesMeine Henkersmahlzeit
I had the most perfect meal typed out, but the character limit is too small.Erzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I've never joined FacebookMeine neueste Entdeckung
My dog has a mysterious dirt-eating habit. =/Ich schwärme gerade für