Having a Novak’s in the Short North/Arena District is a good thing. The old spot was enjoyable for its no-nonsense appeal asbar with a good patio. The renovated and re-opened Novak’s Tavern & Patio still carries a similar no-nonsense feel, but is upgraded from the original quite nicely.
“We didn’t want to go too far off the map, and [lose] the neighborhood bar feel it had,” said Greg Tishkoff, who co-owns the new Novak’s with fellow industry vets Eric Goodman and Katie Frankl.
The entire placeunderwent an extensive makeover, and the result is entirely pleasing. The main, second-floor space is still long and narrow — though much easier to maneuverwith aesthetic and functional improvements(a new bar top, better seating, massive beer coolers).
The other big renovation took place on the popular patio. A full bar was installed, which limits the space, but overall is a welcomed addition. And there’s still plenty of room up there.
Most notable is the progress made behind the bar. (No, not the staffAlthough they’re the all-too-rare combination of cute andgenuinely nice.) The beer list has a wealth of options—14 crafts on the main floor and patio tapsplus a bunch of bottle optionsthat pairs with a bonfide cocktail list created by consultant extraordinaire Nicolene Schwartz.
The wide-ranging drink options parallel Novak’s inclusive vibe. Sports fans have plenty of TVs (and gameday specials), but it’s not a sports bar exclusively. Good pop and rock ’n’ roll tunes pump out of the speakers, but it’s not deafening letting conversations prosper. A number of happy hour (until 8 p.m.) and daily specials also keep your tab low.
Novak’s also partnered with next-door Barley’s Brewing Co, to offer food options. It’s not the full menu, but there’s plenty to like.
Novak’s is basically a simple, good-time spot with the right mixture of neighborhood affability, Short North swank and drinks for everybody.