Originally published 3/22/17. Updated 12/10/18.
What makes a dive bar?
Is it the way they seem to purposefully not clean the bathrooms? Is it the stark combination of shady customers and awesome regulars, both of which equipped with the weirdest and saddest stories? Or is it the unreasonably strong, almost legally reprehensible, cheap drinks? Honestly, it’s a combination of all of them but I’d gladly circle my wagons around that last one, for sure.
Whatever it is that makes them what they are, we love our dive bars. They’re our dojos, our senate, our Pawnee town hall. We couldn’t imagine life without our old haunts and so for that, I’ve put together a love letter to Columbus’s dive bars.
-XOXO, 8 Best Dives in the city
The Ruckmoor is perhaps the most infamous on the list for many reasons, least of which is that they’ve been known to sell actual cans of actual Natural Light from behind the actual bar. I can NOT emphasize that enough. And don’t even bother bringing your card because they straight up only take cash. I gotta tell you right now, yeah, this place can be a ton of fun, but often times it’s just going to be you getting into a whole lot of trouble you could have easily avoided by not going. Or, you know, live your life, because no one tells you what to do.
Chances of getting arrested: 5/5
This old jazz bar in the Old North actually showcases some pretty great bands. It’s just dimly lit enough to warn you away from eating anything and just bright enough to make out the types of whiskeys they have. With a pool table in the back, a smoking patio (sidewalk, let’s be honest), and some pretty chill regulars, you can almost guarantee yourself a pretty dope place to start or end the night.
Chances of someone asking you for a cigarette: 3/5
Chances of getting kicked out: 4/5
Chances of alcohol poisoning: 4/5
Chances of judging someone’s Weezer t-shirt cuz its the cover of Maladroit and not Pinkerton: 2/5
This place is just great. Not only is this place LGBTQ, All-inclusive friendly, it also looks like you’re drinking in someone else’s house. Equipped with a pool table and a garage for smoking, you’re made to feel at ease. Just long enough, anyway, for someone to sneak your name on the karaoke list for a duet of ‘What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes. Oh, and you’ll do it. Of course, you will, you’re four shots deep. And yes, there will be video and this will be on Facebook almost immediately. Might as well stick it out for that Radiohead encore buddy, cuz “You do it to yourself, you do!” (Hah.)
Chances of getting me to do karaoke: 3.5/5
Chances of someone playing “Play That Funky Music Whiteboy”: 3/5
Chances of ending the night, dead asleep and with a smile on your face: 5/5
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