Nestled between a concert venue and a ballpark, A&R Music Bar is overshadowed by its noisy, jumbo-sized neighbors. The Arena District bar may not be the final destination for many of its patrons - in fact, it's usually only open during area events - but it's a choice stop for drinks along anyone's journey.

Nestled between a concert venue and a ballpark, A&R Music Bar is overshadowed by its noisy, jumbo-sized neighbors. The Arena District bar may not be the final destination for many of its patrons - in fact, it's usually only open during area events - but it's a choice stop for drinks along anyone's journey.

Occupying the former House of Crave above The Basement, the new bar was bustling on a recent Friday night. Baseball fans slowly trickled in, while outside, the lights above Huntington Park protruded into the dimming skyscape.

Booming but muffled, Third Eye Blind could be heard playing at neighboring LC Pavilion. A&R's roomy outdoor patio, cluttered with steel tables, overlooks the venue and a nearby set of stairs makes it easy to move between the two places - providing you have concert tickets.

"Music is definitely our focus," said Dan Arrasmith, A&R's building manager.

Part of the PromoWest family, A&R's ambiance pays tribute to the varied shows the promoter has brought to Columbus. The bar's brick and burnt-orange-painted walls are covered with colorful rock memorabilia and posters for shows that came through town over the last 25 years.

The bar is just starting to book bands, according to Arrasmith, and they eventually hope to offer live music every weekend. For now, A&R often hosts pre- and post-game shows when the Clippers play, offering free admission with a ticket stub.

"I want to feature local bands here," Arrasmith said, pointing out that the venue's name, A&R - or artists and repertoire - comes from the industry term for scouting and developing talent.

A&R sports a small performance area, but stage lights and trusses run throughout the bar to add rock ambiance. If you look closely, you might notice some of these battle-worn lights are actually stained with fake blood from past Gwar shows.

Fortunately, patrons don't pay rock-show prices for booze at A&R. Bud, AmberBock and Goose Island 312 run $4 a pint, and pitchers clock in at $8. If hunger ails you, Boston's provides pizza and light bites at the bar.

Many of the mid-twentysomethings in attendance seem to opt for 24-ounce Bud Light cans ($4). The easy-drinking house shot, the Gummy Bear ($3), is a thrifty way to get a buzz going before heading over to a show. And if you couldn't score tickets, listening to the muffled concert from A&R's patio is the next best thing.