Bar profile: Newly opened Crest Gastropub already packing in Clintonville crowds

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the May 16, 2013 edition

The Crest Tavern was a beloved watering hole in Clintonville for decades, and with the complete overhaul — from the food and the drinks to an impressive interior and exterior renovation — the Crest Gastropub is born with the potential to become even more beloved. There’s a reason the place has been packed since it opened a few weeks ago.

Sure, people are flocking to Indianola Avenue partly out of curiosity (and word-of-mouth recommendations), but the truth is that the Crest is a fantastic place to get a drink and a bite to eat. It’s still early, but the Crest has to be the early frontrunner in Alive’s Best of Columbus poll for Best New Bar. So what exactly is the Crest doing so well?

The best place to start is the beer list with 58 drafts. It’s an eclectic, well-rounded collection of crafts that offers something for everyone. That prices range from $4 to $10 should be a good indicator of the variety.

What are most impressive are beers you don’t see anywhere else. The Crest has a strong Ohio presence with its drafts, like many bars, but it’s far more extensive — multiple selections from Jackie O’s, Seventh Son and Weasel Boy, just to name a few.

Besides the Ohio stuff, there’s a laudable selection of Belgians and Belgian-inspired brews — St. Bernardus Abt 12 was available but is now obviously gone. It could return, but count yourself lucky if you got to sample that beer on tap.

But enough about one of the best beer lists in the city; the Crest is also forward-thinking with its cocktails. Three barrel-aged cocktails ($10) — a negroni, Manhattan and margarita — are the standouts, but the regular cocktail list is occupied by well-executed seasonal recipes.

On the food side, the Crest’s scratch-made menu is an intersection between contemporary American and comfort foods. There are burgers (even one with lamb) and other pub grub-type options, but also some more refined dishes. All are presented and executed with skill.