The manager talks new ownership and old ghosts at the Upper Arlington bar

On a recent visit to Pointe Tavern, manager Matt Woods described what the watering hole was like when he was a customer in the late '90s. Back then, there was a wood fence surrounding the patio, and the UAOH (Upper Arlington, Ohio) mural on the outside wall didn't exist.

Inside, the floor was carpeted and the wallpaper was “tacky,” Woods said. And there wasn't a draft system or a kitchen.

“Within the past five years, we've made so many changes to this place that people probably aren't aware of,” he said. “So they just don't know to come back in.”

One of those changes includes a recent transfer of ownership to Jimmy Woodland and Ed Hastie of Woodlands Tavern. That means there might be more entertainment (the bar currently books local bands once every few months) and updated furniture on the horizon, but customers can still expect the same neighborhood feel.

“It's very community-oriented,” Woods said of Upper Arlington, where he grew up. “You hear a last name and you can recognize [it] like, ‘Hey, is that your sister or your brother or your dad?' Everybody knows everybody around here.”

While many bars foster those friendly relationships through karaoke or trivia, Pointe Tavern aims to be a bit more unique. Some patrons play in a disc golf league each Monday at the bar.

“They can't go play outside during the winter time, so they'll come in here and set up little baskets on [one] side of the pool tables,” he said. “They call it putting.”

You'll also be hard-pressed to find a Keno machine in another bar in Upper Arlington, or a set of steel-tip darts in another bar in the city. “Most of the bars now have the automated ones you have to pay for,” Woods said.

Given the activities, the surprisingly spacious interior — “Everybody just thinks it's a tiny little bar on the end of a strip mall,” Woods said — and the 18 beers on tap, new patrons are often impressed, Woods said.

And older patrons remember the businesses that once inhabited the establishment, built in the 1960s. “They told me that it was a steakhouse,” Woods said. “I don't know what the name of it was or anything.”

The fact that there aren't any ghosts lurking around from 60 years ago is another attribute that sets Pointe Tavern apart from other bars in town.

“I think a lot of them say that because it actually piques people's interest,” Woods said. “So maybe just tell everybody that we're super haunted. Come see the ghosts from the steakhouse. Maybe it'll work.”