When I’m not working my day job, photographing home Blue Jackets games, writing for the esteemed publication known as The Cannon, or attempting to get an adequate amount of sleep, I love to get to know as many Columbus bars and restaurants as possible. I’ve lived here for six years, but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with all the new, fun places to go.
Columbus is known as being a city for foodies — whatever you’re in the mood for, Columbus probably has it in both restaurant and food truck format. Arena District is especially cool and vibrant, and contains lots of walking-distance bars and restaurants that are great pre- and post-game destinations for game-goers.
So, how do you choose? Whether you’re a native Columbusite (this is the proper nomenclature for Columbus residents, according to reddit.com) or you’re in town for a game, the only issue you’re going to have is that there are so many good choices for food and drink in this town, it can be difficult to choose. So let me help you narrow it down, and then I want to hear from you guys: What are your favorite places to frequent in the Arena District? Here are mine; please vote in the poll and comment yours, especially if I left it out!
The Half Pint
First and foremost: The Half Pint touts a tap list of 60 beers, with a focus on local Ohio breweries - what else do you even need to know? Okay, they also have an awesome menu with weekly specials; I’ve had their Hangover burger (I will order any burger with a fried egg on it) and it was awesome, but if you really want to get into the spirit before a game, I would take a look at ordering their Black and Bleu Jacket burger. The Half Pint shares the building with R Bar, so it’s a nice and easy walk to and from the arena.
I couldn’t leave this one off the list, for fear of part-time R Bar resident MrSwift13 getting angry with me - also, I wouldn’t want to, because this is THE spot for CBJ fans before, after, and during games. They host viewing parties for away games, and with 30+ flat-screen TVs, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. According to their website, they’re ranked in the top 20 hockey bars - rightfully so!
Novak’s/Barley’s Brewing Company
I have a deep appreciation for Novak’s because they have one of my favorite patios in Columbus - it’s not huge, but it overlooks Park Street and North Market and offers a really nice sunset. Novak’s doesn’t have their own kitchen, but you can order from Barley’s Brewing House menu and they’ll bring it to you there. You can also bring your own food to Novak’s, but I’m not sure why you’d want to with their extensive, delicious menu. Also, they have a fun cocktail list - might I recommend the Lemon Shake-Up?
Located on High Street right next to Novak’s and Barley’s, Char Bar is a great place to relax and have some inexpensive drinks on a game night. It’s got pool, darts, a small patio, and it’s so retro it doesn’t even have its own website. Also, if you’re looking to get knocked on your ass by a Long Island after a particularly tough loss, Char Bar is the place to go.
If you’ve entered a game through the west entrance to the arena, you’ve definitely seen Nada - it’s an upscale taco and tequila joint with an ambitious and delicious appetizer and dinner menu, plus fun margaritas, palomas, and sangrias. It’s definitely wise to make a reservation here, but you can usually snag a few seats at the bar if you’re just swinging by for a pre-game marg.
Tell us in the comments - what’s your favorite place, and what do you recommend getting there?
What’s your favorite restaurant/bar in the Arena District?
This poll is closed
The Half Pint
Barley’s Brewing Company
Other - comment below!