From the unassuming corner of North Fourth and Detroit Avenue in Italian Village, a cozy, wood-paneled bar has quietly witnessed a lot of neighborhood changes in its 12 years.
And although there's no longer live music acts performing upstairs - for now, at least - not much else has changed inside St. James Tavern, said Anne Ward, who's been bartending there for five years.
It's a friendly bar, filled with regulars, and Ward was one of them before she was recruited to join the staff. The Iowa native moved to Columbus to attend the Columbus College of Art & Design and has stuck around since.
"I just sort of stumbled upon it," Ward said of her bartending work. "It wasn't really intentional."
What draws people into this place?
It's very laid-back, it's a neighborhood bar. We've got a great jukebox, good beer selection, good prices. So that's been the draw for years. Nothing's really changed.
I think some people are surprised, although the neighborhood has been changing in the last few years, that ... you don't expect there to be such a cozy neighborhood bar here.
St. James Tavern
1057 N. Fourth St., Italian Village
What's the atmosphere like?
Busier on the weekends, of course. We have a steady regular crowd, for sure. We get a lot of grad students and musicians. It's not usually rowdy or anything, so you can just kind of come in and relax and feel comfortable.
What do they like to drink?
Right now, it's Bell's Oberon Summer Ale. And we've had Chimay on tap for a while; it's not on tap many places. We have a lot of specialty beers - some we keep on tap all the time, some we rotate so there's a variety. [Owner] Michelle [Hill]'s been known for years for having a really good beer selection, before anyone else hopped on that bandwagon.
Do you guys have a blender?
No. That's pretty much the antithesis of this bar.
So there's no longer live entertainment upstairs, but what else is going on?
She just started a bicycle night on Monday and Tuesday - you ride a bicycle, you get drink specials.
What do you like about working here?
The patrons and the staff are all great. There's never any problems here. There's lots of interesting people that hang out here. It's just generally fun.
What else do you like to do?
Read, crosswords, draw - I mean, anything crafty. Cook. All that kind of stuff.