Variety is the spice of life and the calling card of the Short North's bustling nightlife. Between Goodale Street and Fifth Avenue, you can get a beer at any price and a martini in any color, a range of happy-hour specials and high-end bourbon.

Variety is the spice of life and the calling card of the Short North's bustling nightlife. Between Goodale Street and Fifth Avenue, you can get a beer at any price and a martini in any color, a range of happy-hour specials and high-end bourbon.

Bernard's Tavern, which debuted Wednesday, sits somewhere in the middle, literally and figuratively. Beautiful yet friendly, this bar delivers in every area - and never overdoes it.

"We're just a neighborhood-style bar, and we're not going for any special themes or anything," said bartender Andy Busold, who I'll nominate for Best Mustache in Columbus. "We just want to be a place where people can come in, have a good time and be themselves."

A largely LGBT crowd flocked to the space's two previous occupants, Union Station and East Village, but Bernard's is already drawing drinkers of all ages, backgrounds and sexual preferences. The robust gathering Thursday night after happy hour was a microcosm of the neighborhood's trademark diversity.

Larger and less cramped than many nearby haunts, the space features one large rectangular room with plenty of space to sit and maneuver from one end to the other. A bar that's roughly 40 feet long will come in handy on what are sure to be many evenings packed to the gills.

From said tending arena, you can opt for wine, tons of liquor and a good number of craft beers like Breckenridge Avalanche Ale, Founders Double Trouble and Allagash White. Wells start at $4, domestic bottles at $3.

Design elements like exposed ceilings, rough-hewn brick and understated lighting are nothing new in the nightlife game, yet everything at Bernard's feels spunky and fresh - a requisite for doing business between Downtown and Campus.

A good place to post up is atop a high-backed leather bench along the southern wall. A series of large TVs above the bar are in full view, and the people-watching is prime.

The super-friendly staff, great happy-hour discounts and a full food menu make this one of my new favorite places.

What's on tap

Beer is one specialty at Bernard's Tavern

Allagash White

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Rye Porter

Bud Light

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Goose Island Honker's Ale

Goose Island Matilda

Great Lakes seasonal

Guinness

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Sam Adams seasonal