5 O'Clock Somewhere: Michael O'Toole's

  • Jodi Miller photos
    Michael O'Toole's
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From the 5 O'Clock Somewhere: Michael O'Toole's edition
In the late 1800s, Mike Toole's Place was a small tavern built into southern Ohio's Appalachian foothills by a hardworking Irish immigrant.

On Monday, the legacy was continued with Michael O'Toole's, a new bar and restaurant opened south of the Greater Columbus Convention Center by the barkeep's great-grandson.

You won't find coal dust or camphor at the family's new digs - just a rustic-tinged charm that will appeal to many, miner or not. The name might make it sound like a cheesy Emerald Isle imitator, but there's not a Mylar shamrock, drunk-leprechaun logo or drop of green beer in sight.

It's the kind of classy, open-late place far too rare Downtown.

Inside is a good-sized main room with vaulted ceilings, plenty of tables and giant, rounded windows that overlook a small slice of the Downtown hustle. Rich wooden accents and King Arthur-esque chandeliers give the space the feel of a comfortable, countryside lodge.

That's just the kind of place to grab a brew, and Michael O'Toole's has plenty of suds for the swilling. Drafts include Goose Island 312, Smithwick's and Great Lakes Burning River. The bottle list is even more impressive - Anchor Steam, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, among about 30 others.

You won't be disappointed just stopping in for a quick drink, but the food is definitely worth a longer stay. (The co-owners are alumni of Hyde Park Grille.)

The extensive menu ranges from Loaded Potato Skins ($9) to Cedar Plank Salmon ($15) to a 14-ounce boneless ribeye ($25). The veggie burger ($8.50) and the Bahama Mama sausage sandwich ($10) were delicious.

Though just stretching its legs, the spot should quickly become a favorite for families coming to the convention center, Downtown workers in need of a new lunch spot and weekend warriors exploring the outer boundaries of the Arena District.

Exclusive Ale

The beer list at Michael O'Toole's has plenty of familiar favorites, some rare craft selections and one draft not found anywhere else. O'Toole's Amber Ale is made by the family in Zanesville. Rich and reddish brown in color, it starts with a bit of lemony sweetness and finishes with a slight burst of hops. It's a great way for American lager fans to venture into darker, headier territory.