1230 W. 5th Ave., Grandview
Pop culture references for “Mickey”: Go!
•America’s favorite rodent.
•An exuberant pop song about a man so gorgeous that he causes women’s brains to explode.
•A center fielder in the pantheon of legendary Yankees.
It’s hard to shake such entrenched connotations, but in Grandview, nobody thinks about such things. The word “Mickey” conjures something different altogether, though it’s also something friendly and familiar.
In the heart of a 5th Avenue strip marked by supermarkets and fast food joints, Mickey’s is an oasis of simplicity. It is a dive — unfettered, uncomplicated. You pay with cash, or you don’t pay at all.
Mickey’s lacks flash, but not personality. It’s the kind of joint where the regulars roll deep, and if you’re new, you feel like a regular real fast. Park yourself at the bar to nurse $1.50 domestics at happy hour and find yourself swept into the kind of friendly barkeep chitchat you thought only happened in movies.
One outlier to the no-frills approach: Mickey’s has styled itself as a four-nights-a-week karaoke destination. When night falls Thursday through Sunday, a bar soundtracked by clinking bottles and cascading billiard balls gets drowned in the sound of would-be rock stars cutting loose. If the camaraderie doesn’t get you ready to belt out your favorite song from seventh grade, the highly affordable liquid courage ought to do the trick.
1105 W. 1st Ave., Grandview
Conventional wisdom says you can choose between doing a few things exceedingly well or doing lots of things not so well at all. Nobody told the brains behind Marshall’s, the bar and restaurant that keeps Grandview’s southern segment hopping from the crack of dawn to the wee hours of the morning. When your breakfast is this scrumptious and your drafts are this cold, closing up shop for the night barely seems necessary.
Also: Party bus!
Knotty Pine Bar & Grill
1765 W. 3rd Ave., Grandview
The Knotty Pine strikes a delicate balance. Situated at the brink of the increasingly ritzy residential area where Grandview blurs into Upper Arlington, it’s legitimately classy compared to your average run-down neighborhood watering hole. But it’s not so classy that you wouldn’t feel comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt cheering on your favorite team while pounding pints — you know, the sorts of pleasures neighborhood bars were invented to facilitate.
1168 Chambers Rd., Grandview
You think you know what you’re getting when you walk into the wood-paneled basement that is Meister’s. Then you notice The Replacements are blaring from the speakers, an impressive array of craft beers is on tap, and they’ve even got couches in the darts area. Around this time, synapses firing with a sensation you may recognize as bliss, you begin to realize why the clientele is so deeply devoted to the place. (And we mean deeply — just ask the guy who got the Meister’s logo tattooed across his lower back.)