Bar profile: Taj Bar & Lounge

From the August 23, 2012 edition

Many people are aware that Taj Mahal has some of the finest Indian food in Columbus, but some might have overlooked the hip bar and lounge next door. Located north of Lane Avenue near Campus, the Taj Bar & Lounge draws both Ohio State students and those post-college types with its well-made cocktails, lively events and outstanding patio overlooking High Street.

With a mirrored wall and fluorescent-lit bar, there’s an aura of cool that immediately comes across when you walk into Taj Bar. It’s a small bar area with about 10 or so bar stools, but the lounge area and patio offer other seating options. The lounge has the design of a living room you’d find in any duplex from Norwich to Patterson — complete with a neon High Life sign — but is offset by some chic decor like red leather couches, high-top tables and multicolored walls.

When ordering a drink at Taj Bar, I recommend taking advantage of the bartenders’ palpable skills and getting a cocktail — or two. The current list of martinis and Indian-influenced concoctions is being upgraded with a host of new craft cocktails that will be available by September. The bar will also add a late-night eats menu of Indian-style bar food at the same time.

The new additions will be stylish, polished and mixology-focused, and they’ll run $7-9. The Rose Garden — Watershed gin with a blend of ginger ingredients and rose water — sounds impressively refreshing. If you don’t see the drink you’re in the mood for, don’t worry; these bartenders are capable of handling any recipe. The Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned I had was perfectly executed.

Besides the potent potables, Taj Bar also draws in crowds for its nightly events. Every night offers entertainment — live music, karaoke and wildly popular trivia — with drink specials designed specifically for each event’s crowd. The other big event at Taj Bar, and the rest of Campus for that matter, is game days. Every Buckeye game is shown on a big-screen projector on the patio, and the drink specials are plentiful.

Photo by Joe Maiorana