Since last June, Old North Columbus has been torn up by a city improvement project, making High Street nearly impassable between Lane and Arcadia avenues.

Since last June, Old North Columbus has been torn up by a city improvement project, making High Street nearly impassable between Lane and Arcadia avenues.

During the past several years, this historic district nestled between Campus and Clintonville has also experienced a fair share of growing pains, as those looking to conserve the neighborhood clash with rowdy partiers spilling between residential sections after last call.

Through all this hubbub, Oldfield's on High has endured as a no-frills bastion of local music. Only the strong survive, they say, so kudos for not collapsing like a house of cards during the hullabaloo.

In fact, the bar has stepped up its game since coming under new ownership in November. Sunday and Monday hours were added a while back, and nightly live entertainment sets it apart from sister bars The Thirsty Scholar and Oldfield's Bar and Grille on Fourth Street.

Would-be crooners come in for a lively karaoke session on Wednesday, and there's hip-hop on Tuesday and a jazz jam most Sundays. Regular appearances by touring bands round out the bill each month.

Garnering the most attention lately is Outer Sounds, which has settled into a Thursday night slot. Started by local promoter James Allison, the weekly concert series highlights upstart indie bands and the table dexterity of DJ Self Help, who usually stirs up a healthy dance party by night's end.

Bands as diverse as Blastronauts and Paper Airplane, Old Worlds and The Harlequins took the stage this month.

Like most rock bars, Oldfield's is prettier at night, and the confines can be a bit lonely at first call. Happy hour runs until 9 p.m., though when I went the bar was out of Bell's, the only beer on special. Instead try Black Label, Miller High Life or Pabst Blue Ribbon, each running $1.50 at all times.

Once the sun sets, a strand of holiday lights shines above the U-shaped bar, and an energetic crowd surrounds a small stage tucked into a far corner. Things feel right, whether your friend's in the band or not.