Bar profile: Midway on High

By Columbus Alive
From the May 3, 2012 edition

Midway on High, a Campus bar that’s taken up residence in the former Bento Go Go space, deserves a pat on the back.

Yes, the team from Fourth Street Bar & Grill — another hospitable Campus-area hangout — did a nice job renovating the space and adding a large patio out front. And yes, Midway has super-cheap happy hour specials. But it’s the bar’s commitment to bringing craft beer to college students that deserves recognition.

With 20 taps of mainly solid craft varieties, we may be seeing fewer Ohio State students lugging suitcases of Natural Light down High Street. OK, maybe not, but Midway is at least presenting better options and helping educate beer newbies about the craft industry.

The appropriately named Midway — centrally located next to the Newport Music Hall and across from the Ohio Union — caters to an assortment of students’ party interests, not just to beer snobs like me.

A dance floor upstairs — a big space with a DJ booth and its own bar, stocked with a cornucopia of flavored vodkas — revs up later in the evening. I was there too early to see the upstairs at its most hedonistic. Also, I’m not much of a dancer. The downstairs, acting as a sports bar/lounge, is more enticing.

Large flatscreens spread around the room usually broadcast the game or ESPN’s bevy of talking heads. A wide, wooden bar offers a reliable spot to mingle. Privacy-seeking diners should grab a booth or table to eat.

The ample draft selection ($4-$6 crafts and imports, $3 domestics) introduced me to a new favorite, Widmer Brothers Pitch Black IPA. The bottle list includes 60-plus beers, most of which are $2-$6. The bar shelves are stocked with premium liquors you won’t normally find on Campus — see: 15-year-old Redbreast Irish Whiskey — and everything is half-off during happy hour.

On the food side, Midway is big on Asian flair. Noodle and rice bowls ($6-$8) and sushi rolls ($5-$14) dominate the menu, but there are also a handful of Asian-infused American dishes. The Midway burger ($8), a soy-glazed patty topped with spicy mayo, pepper jack and tempura flakes, is a good example of East meets West.

Photos By Tessa Berg