Downtown Happy Hour Hop: A guide to one of the most surprisingly bar-dense parts of Columbus

  • Grass Skirt Tiki Room
  • Curio
  • Curio
  • El Camino Inn
  • Milestone 229
  • Sidebar 122
By Columbus Alive
From the April 18, 2013 edition

Happy hour is that magical time when work is behind you — hopefully — and you’re ready to settle in for a drink — or three if it’s been one of those days. Warm weather means patios are open and the time-honored tradition of happy hour hopping is upon us. (I get excited for happy hour hop season like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn do for wedding season.) Even if you don’t work Downtown, there are, as you’ll see with this guide, enough sweet-ass bars and happy hour deals to make it worth the trip. So join me in the fun with a list of Downtown’s watering holes and what to expect at happy hour.

Hungry Soul Cafe

30 S. Young St. 

614-224-1944

hungrysoulcafe.com

Restaurant and bar located in a parking garage features complimentary appetizers Wednesday-Friday with the purchase of a drink.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$3 Yuengling, $2.50 Bud Light, $4 wells, daily bartender’s choice drink specials

Slammers

202 E. Long St.

614-221-8880

slammersbar.moonfruit.com

Lesbian bar with a couple pool tables, a nice patio and free pizza night on Wednesdays, and $2 PBR tallboys and $1 hot dogs on Thursdays.

Drink specials:

4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday

$2.50 pints and $6 pitchers Bud Light and Yuengling, $4 pints and $12 pitchers Leinenkugel and Blue Moon, $2.50 domestic bottles, $3.50 import bottles, $3.75 well liquors

Grass Skirt Tiki Room

105 N. Grant Ave.

614-429-3650

grassskirttiki.com

The latest offering from Columbus Food League is quickly becoming my favorite. The decor and dimly lit ambiance reminds of a place where you might find Don Draper committing his latest infidelity (and the potent potables to make any seduction easier). Grass Skirt’s island-inspired cocktails look downright gorgeous, and, most importantly, are boldly flavorful while containing just enough sweetness. The best time to take advantage is during Tiki Tuesdays when all the Tiki Classics and the flaming bowl drinks, like the pictured Rum and Happiness, are only $5.

Drink specials:

3-7 p.m. daily

$1 off all beers, $3 daily bartender’s choice cocktail

Element Pizza Bar

250 N. Third St.

614-232-8871

elementpizzabar.com

A welcoming watering hole with tasty stone-oven pies made from homemade dough and fresh ingredients. Also features happy hour-only appetizers for $5 and $6 and a full cocktail menu.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$3 drafts, half-price on all cocktails

Max & Erma’s

55 E. Nationwide Blvd.

614-228-5555

maxandermas.com

Good-time chain restaurant originating in Columbus known for its burgers. All full-size appetizers are $3 off during happy hour.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$2 drafts, $3 domestic bottles, $3 well liquors, $3 house wines

89 Fish & Grill

89 E. Nationwide Blvd. 

614-586-4585

89fish.com

Upscale restaurant specializing in fresh seafood. Take advantage of the happy hour small plates, including the “Angry” Mussels with a jalepeno broth and chorizo, and $5 specialty cocktails.

Happy hour:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. Saturday

Discounted drafts ($2-$4), $5 wines by the glass and specialty cocktails

Flatiron Bar & Diner

129 E. Nationwide Blvd.

614-461-0033

flatironcolumbus.com

Cajun, Creole, barbecue and low-country cuisine served in a classy, yet comfortable atmosphere. The $5 small plates — Jumbo Fried Chicken Wings, Crab and Corn Cake and Charcuterie Plate — are a meal themselves.

Happy hour:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday (at the bar and on the patio)

$2 domestic bottles, $3.50 drafts, $2 well liquors, $5 specialty martinis

Lexi’s on Third

100 E. Broad St.

614-229-LEXI (5394)

lexisonthird.com

Popular Downtown lunch spot with homemade corned beef has a happy hour with numerous food specials — some available only during happy hour — and a perfect patio for businesspeople watching.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$1 off drafts and house wines, $2.25 domestic bottles, $2 well liquors

Latitude 41

50 N. Third St. 

614-233-7541

latitude41restaurant.com

Swanky hotel bar and lounge with buy-one-get-one-half off small plates and pizzas during happy hour.

Drink specials:

4-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday

$6 Beefeater and Smirnoff martinis, $4 select drafts

Mitchell’s Steakhouse

45 N. Third St.

614-621-BEEF (2333)

mitchellssteakhouse.com

Famed steakhouse where you’re likely to see businesspeople schmoozing clients over dinner or a single barrel scotch at the bar. The small plates ($6-$7) are a thrifty way to do fine dining during happy hour.

Drink specials:

3:30-6 p.m. Monday-Friday

$6 select cocktails

Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails

73 E. Gay St.

614-221-8300

tiptopcolumbus.com

A hip spot where patrons blow off steam with the extensive — and inexpensive — cocktail menu and beer list. Get there early for a spot on the patio. Plus, half-price nachos during happy hour.

Drink specials:

$1 off Ohio beers

Due Amici

67 E. Gay St.

614-224-9373

due-amici.com

Upscale Italian restaurant and bar featuring a fine whiskey list and half off wine and champagne bottles on Monday nights. No drink specials, but buy-one-get-one-free appetizers and pizzas from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Ringside Cafe

19 N. Pearl St.

614-228-7464

ringsidecolumbus.com

The oldest bar in Columbus is known for its mouth-wateringly huge burgers named after famous pugilists.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$2.50 domestic bottles, $3 crafts and imports, $3 well liquors

Mall Cafe

26 N. High St.

614-221-3024

Downtown’s friendly dive fancies things up with white leather booths and a cushioned bar top.

Drink specials:

5-9 p.m. Monday-Friday

$3.50 well liquors

Cafe Napolitana

40 N. High St.

614-224-3013

cafenapolitana.com

New York-style pizza joint serving Downtown for decades recently added a bar and offers $4.49 single-topping nine-inch pizzas during happy hour.

Drink specials:

4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday

$.50 off craft drafts and house wines, $3.50 domestic drafts, $2.50 domestic bottles, $3.75 import and craft bottles

J. Gumbo’s

31 E. Gay St.

614-469-9900

jgumbos.com

Did you know the place with the tasty Cajun and Creole bowls also has a happy hour with all appetizers for $5 during happy hour? Then check it out.

Drink specials:

3-7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

$3 craft and import beers, wine and wine cooler, $14 five-beer buckets

Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus

161 N. High St.

614-228-0500

elevatorbrewing.com

Located in the historic Columbia building, this famed local brewpub offers some of Columbus’ favorite hometown beers that are ideal for washing down the $5 select appetizers.

Drink specials:

3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$3 drafts (except seasonals) and house wines, $3 well liquors

Milestone 229

229 S. Civic Center Dr.

614-427-0276

milestone229.com

Located in the heart of Downtown’s spectacular Scioto Mile, Milestone 229 has more than just drink specials during happy hour, even though there are plenty of those, too. Whether it’s daytime or night — when the city lights up — the view from the patio is gorgeous. And the recently updated spring drink menu has a number of libations perfect for sipping outside. The $6 small plates during happy hour are scrumptious comfort food; the Skillet Mac-n-Cheese and Four Snacks are highly recommended.

Drink specials:

4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday (bar and patio only)

$4 drafts, $5 specialty cocktails and wines

Manifesto Tuscan Grato & Scotch Bar

21 E. State St.

614-220-9327

manifestograto.com

A recent addition to the Downtown bar scene, Manifesto focuses on scotches, but its expert bartenders can make a mean cocktail too. Select small plates are discounted during happy hour.

Happy hour:

3-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

Half off all beer, $5 select wines, $4 and $5 select scotches

Mojoe Lounge

149 S. High St.

614-732-4899

mojoe-lounge.com

The Downtown location of this popular Columbus coffee shop/bar chain boasts a swanky setting inside and a patio overlooking the Columbus Commons outside. There are a number of food specials, but the Chicken Wings (buttermilk fried, jalapeno cornbread crumble, and maple and hot sauce) are can’t-miss.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Thursday-Friday

$2 off craft and import drafts, $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon and Yuengling drafts, $1.50 domestic bottles

De Novo Bistro & Bar

201 S. High St.

614-222-8830

denovobistro.com

The jazzy atmosphere is perfectly complemented by well-crafted cocktails, a great beer list and a wealth of deliciously discounted food ($5-$8), including the Kobe Chorizo Burger.

Drink specials:

3-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

$5 select wines, $5 bartender’s choice cocktail, half off drafts

The Main Bar

16 W. Main St.

614-228-3129

That dive bar you’ve walked past, but never walked in — you’re missing out. No drink specials for happy hour, but everything’s so cheap it doesn’t matter.

Sidebar 122

122 E. Main St.

614-228-9041

sidebar122.com

Sidebar 122’s recently revamped happy hour will entice you to swing by after work, and you’ll be pleased if you do. The $5 small plates menu was expanded to include some outstanding Spanish-influenced nosh, including the Beef Empanadas and Tilapia Fritters. Matching the food’s quality is the discount classic-inspired cocktails ($5.50) and beers ($3-$9) during happy hour. Try the Tiger Balm or Tequila Mockingbird cocktails.

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$5.50 select cocktails, discounted select bottled beers

The Jury Room

22 E. Mound St.

614-220-0964

juryroomcolumbus.com

You’re as likely to find young revelers as lawyers or judges drinking and enjoying half off appetizers at quitting time, thanks to cheap prices and bold cocktails.

Drink specials:

3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$1 Pabst Blue Ribbon drafts, $2 off craft drafts, $2 Jury Juice, half off glasses of wine, $4 OYO and Watershed liquors

Dempsey’s Restaurant

346 S. High St.

614-586-0511

dempseysDowntown.com

A friendly little Irish bar that has a great Irish whiskey selection and a tired-and-true shillelagh behind the bar.

Happy hour:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$1 off drafts and house wines, $2.25 domestic bottles, $2 well liquors

Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace

248 S. Fourth St.

614-824-4673

dirtyfrankscolumbus.com

Columbus’ favorite hot dog joint is just a simple, fun spot. Dirty Frank’s doesn’t have too many drink specials because it doesn’t need to — almost everything, beers and cocktails, is $4 or $5 at most.

Drink specials:

$1 Pabst Blue Ribbon, $3 beer of the week

 

Little Palace

240 S. Fourth St.

614-460-8888

littlepalacerestaurant.com

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

Half off drafts, $2 domestic bottles, $2 well liquors, $5 house wines (pinot grigio and Chianti)

El Camino Inn

238 S. Fourth St.

614-220-8877

elcaminoinn.co

Drink specials:

4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday

$2 Modelo, Tecate, Corona and Lonestar, $4 Paloma cocktails, $2 shots of El Toro, $2 well liquors

Since El Camino and Little Palace share the same owners — and sense of awesomeness — I’ll lump them into one. Both are super cool, slightly retro haunts that always have great tunes playing — El Camino even spins classic rock records! — and feature tremendous food at an even more tremendous price. El Camino’s Tacos, Gorditas and Tostadas all come in at $3 or less. And Little Palace has a Crispy Chicken Sandwich, (Double) Palace Burger and Meatball Mini for less than $4. Despite having a vastly different focus on drinks — El Camino is south-of-the-border honky tonk-chic and Little Palace has craft beers and stiff cocktails — both have great prices at happy hour. The best part is if you can’t get a seat at the smaller El Camino, it only means you’ll cheerfully head next door where you’ll surely get a seat at Little Palace.

Club 185

185 E. Livingston Ave.

614-228-3904

club185.com

Sure, German Village likes to claim Club 185, but it’s one of the most popular bars once 5 o’clock rolls around. Any bar with a photo booth is sure to know it means to have a good time.

Drink specials:

Half off drafts, $2 domestic bottles, $2 wells, $5 glasses of wine

Curio

491 S. Fourth St.

614-824-1769

curiocolumbus.com

Columbus’ best cocktail bar usually has a few tipplers milling around outside five or 10 minutes before they open. Is it because they desperately need a drink? No, it’s because they desperately need a drink made by the masters at Curio. Seriously, you haven’t had a cocktail until you’ve had one from these bartenders. The stylish speak-easy spot offers a different daily cocktail special, but you can’t go wrong with whatever you order. Sure, it costs a little more for a cocktail at Curio than at other bars, but when you realize how perfectly — and strongly — made each one is, you know it’s a steal.

Drink special:

Daily cocktail special