The Columbus cocktail scene is actually a lot cooler than you’d imagine.
When it comes to Columbus nightlife it’s great to have a nice neighborhood dive within stumbling distance of your home. But let’s not forget, equally as important is finding the kind of place that’s a bit more upscale and can put together the perfect Pisco Punch or a mean Manhattan.
Cocktail bars aren’t just great for dates (although that goes without saying) they also exorcise that bit of fancy folk in all of us. It doesn’t matter what your job or walk of life is, it’s pretty dang important to indulge your senses once in a while and walk on the finer side of things.
So whether you want to treat yourself to a tasty adult beverage after work or go out for drinks with your girlfriends, this is a list of the very best places to get cocktails in the city. Also, let’s not be sexist, dudes can enjoy a nice muddled fruit drink with the best of them. So yeah, cheers bro.
This charming little cocktail corner sports large floor to ceiling windows facing the street. It’s perfect for settling in with a drink and watching the outside world unfold into the night around you. Their mixologists are well versed in their trade, perfectly willing to go off script and make something catered to your particular tastes. It definitely has a modern chic look but with a comforting and inviting sort of charm.
Where: 954 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
This space has a lot of style and personality to it, and so does the service. It definitely conveys a sort of metropolitan business vibe, which makes sense because it’s certainly the kind of place to get drinks with friends after a hard day at the office. It can get a bit busy here at times but their bartenders do a fantastic job of keeping up and staying friendly. Got a friend coming in from out of town and you want to impress them with a place? This is exactly where you’d want to go.
Where: 463 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Hip without being hipster, laidback while remaining vivacious, Two Truths has honed the perfect balance of everything you’d want out of a night on the town. This is the kind of place you’d go to get the ball rolling on the weekend. It isn’t enough that they have great drinks and a great atmosphere, they top it off by having some killer musical acts wailing into the night. From super chill DJs to banging jazz quartets, you won’t just be sipping a cocktail casually, you’ll be moving and dancing too.
Where: 1205 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
Actual wooden barrels decorate this whiskey lounge and cocktail bar. Tall aged ceilings tower directly above as you enjoy your drink and listen to the low hum of conversations buzzing all around you. It’s hard not to marvel at the building’s interior while you sip casually with friends and co-workers. If you’re a whiskey fanatic then you’re in for a treat, they have a huge collection of bourbons and scotches that you can enjoy as a cocktail or just straight.
Where: 36 E Gay St, Columbus, OH 43215
The mythos about the Blind Lady Tavern is that it’s one of the oldest bars in Columbus, trading off different owners and different names as the years went on. It’s always sort of enjoyed a reputation as a lawyer’s bar though, with the Franklin County Municipal Court just around the corner and down the street. Not just a decent cocktail bar, the Blind Lady Tavern offers some great food options and even has a pretty killer brunch on Sundays.
Where: 22 E Mound St, Columbus, OH 43215
If you’re a seafood addict like me, Mitchell’s is definitely the place to check out. With bacon wrapped bbq shrimp, hand battered fish and chips, and crab stuffed flounder, the food itself is a huge draw. But don’t be waylayed by their awesome dishes, they also have an amazing menu of drinks. I recommend the “Oh My!”. It comes with Russian standard platinum vodka, strawberry purée, fresh strawberries, fresh lemon and orange juice, and egg white. Yeah, try and resist that concoction, I dare you.
Where: 1245 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus, OH 43212
Not only is it old-timey and gorgeous, this bar also serves Harvest Pizza from next door, some of the best in the city. The low lighting and intimate atmosphere make it perfect for a date or a private drink with a friend. Their cocktail names are also cute and kitschy, something I genuinely appreciate. For example, there’s the Tinder Date (a little too spot on but hilarious), That’s What Shiso, and (something I personally got a kick out of) Alternative Facts.
Where: 491 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43206
The Bottle Shop is exactly what you want out of a cocktail bar if you need something a bit more comfortable and low maintenance. Part of the business serves as a carryout, offering bottles of wine and the usual snacks you’d find in a convenience store. The bar side serves up some amazing cocktails without the expense you’d usually pay at a more upscale establishment. More than anything, the atmosphere is inviting and not stiff at all, perfect for letting your hair down and cutting loose.
Where: 237 King Ave, Columbus, OH 43201
Who better to create some killer cocktail concoctions than our very own hometown liquor distillery? Obviously, if they’re making their own booze they’re definitely going to know what they’re doing when making well crafted and delicious drinks. Not to mention their food menu is out of this world. If you don’t believe me just go to their website and check out their menu yourself. You just have to answer one question first: Were you born before the Fugees dropped the album The Score? It’s pretty much the perfect test for determining whether someone is in fact 21 or older (also an amazing album).
Where: 1145 Chesapeake Ave STE D, Columbus, OH 43212
A self-described “Wes Anderson inspired speakeasy”, this is a lounge for anyone who values style and charisma. They really take the speakeasy bit seriously too. With loads of low lighting, secret nooks and crannies for serving drinks, even their entrance feels like you’re going underground for a secret night of drinks and debauchery. Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza is right upstairs so if you like a finely made pizza to go with your finely made cocktail, you’re definitely in the right place.
Where: 5601 N High St, Worthington, OH 43085