On a Saturday afternoon, tumbleweeds blow up High Street outside Brew-Stirs Clintonville Tavern. A propane grill hisses on the sidewalk outside the drowsy-looking stone bar. Suddenly, the tavern door swings open and a roar of cheering emerges from behind a scarlet-and-gray-clad man with a plate of bratwursts.
The muffled ecstasy inside comes from a fist-pumping crowd of Buckeye fans glued to flat-screen TVs mounted around the tavern. A corner table houses a communal trove of cookies, chips and grilled goodies for the taking.
"You can go to the games, but everyone just wants to be here," said bar owner Jose Hatlestad.
The game-day barflys represent a cross section of ages and backgrounds, but everyone seems to buzz around in neighborly harmony. After all, there's always something going on at Brew-Stirs, like NTN Buzztime Trivia on Mondays, Texas Hold 'Em games on Thursdays and DJs on weekends.
The humble tavern packs a pool table and two dartboards into a space dominated by a long wooden bar and tall tables. Light squeezes through glass-block windows, and the dark walls reveal sporty decor alongside goofy quirks like mounted skis and a snorkel mask.
"I lived in the neighborhood and the bars around here sucked, so I bought this place," joked Hatlestad, who opened the doors 13 years ago.
Brew-Stirs hasn't locked those doors for a day since opening. To accommodate third-shift workers, the tavern even offers $1.25 domestic bottles from sunrise to 1 p.m. - it's a good pre-work eye-opener, too.
"We get a little bit of a rush in the mornings," said bar manager Boli Rodriguez.
Tomato-juice cocktails are popular with early risers, especially on Saturdays, when Brew-Stirs hosts make-your-own Bloody Mary parties. Adventurous drinkers can concoct their own Bloody Caesars, made with Clamato juice ($2.75). Add spicy habanero vodka to the mix if you can hack it.
"I'm from the Dominican Republic and we don't drink Bloody Marys there, only Caesars," Rodriguez said.
A daily happy hour spells cheap daytime suds, but prices remain wallet-friendly at night - a pitcher of domestic brew clocks in at a meager $6.50. And while the tavern's half-dozen taps aren't too exotic, they include options like Killian's ($2.50), Bud Light and PBR ($1.75).
The bar often features a select mini bomb ($2.50), and straight shots never top $4, so feel free to buy a round for friends old and new.