Things We Love: Picks from St. James Tavern's Michelle Hill

Justin McIntosh, Columbus Alive

You can blame Michelle Hill for this summer monsoon that won't seem to end. "I did a rain dance a few weeks ago, but I didn't know it'd last this long," she admitted during a recent interview. A typical June in Columbus can be rough for her bar, St. James Tavern, because there's a festival every weekend and it's prime patio season (and St. James doesn't have a patio, alas). "So I'm like, come inside," she said, laughing. "It's one of the best Junes I've had in years, and definitely one of the best ComFest weekends I've had."

Matinees at the Drexel

The Drexel is such an old, historic theater. I love the feel in there, the history. Going during the day still feels like you're playing hooky from school because everyone else is at work, which makes the movie better for me. A Wednesday afternoon at the Drexel is pretty sweet. And 11 a.m. movies too. It's like wake up, have breakfast and go to the movies.

Branstool peaches

I know some of the farmers markets sell them, but we love driving out there. It's in Utica, just past Johnstown, maybe a 45- to 50-minute drive. Take the top down on the convertible and just go. You can pick them, but we just go in and grab a bunch. I can't wait to go home so I eat one in the car and make a mess all over. Even if I eat three peaches a day I can't get through them, so I take a bunch and when I'm working at the bar, I'll slice them up and put them on plates in front of customers. Sometimes people look at me like, "Oh no, I'm good." I think it's because people only remember crappy grocery store peaches that are hard or, even worse, canned ones their mom had them eat when they were little. A lot of them are very hesitant so the look on their face is priceless. It brings me so much joy because they're like, "Oh, I had no idea."


I've been in the beer game for a very long time and I'm still impressed when I go in there. They have so many more unique beers that most places don't carry, and the vibe is totally a place I can hang out in. Sadly, there are fewer places like that, that are just chill, with no TVs. It's just comforting in there.

Alana's Food & Wine

It's a great unique atmosphere, like you're eating in her house. The menu changes daily and long before anyone was doing local or seasonal, she was doing it. My favorite dish there is the tofu peri peri. It's an African pepper spice dish. It's super garlic-y, so you have to know you're going to smell for the next 18 hours. I make that commitment. I can't help it. If I see it on the menu, my face lights up and I'm like, "OK, I know what I'm getting."

Day trips to Yellow Springs

We take the convertible, and, of course, it has to involve brunch at the Winds, and then just stroll around to the different stores, the book stores, Urban Handmade, Pangaea. I have a silly little mini fantasy that that's some place I'll go when I retire, but I'm also like, I don't know man, I might get really bored after two weeks. Although Dave Chappelle doesn't seem to get tired of it. I see him there every time and he's always smiling.

Michelle Hill

St. James Tavern