Columbus is Ohio’s state capital, a picturesque college town, and a large metropolitan city with a wealth of culture and science to explore. College students, progressive academics, and politicians make for a diverse and energetic population.
College kids and refined politicians all have a wealth of options to blow off steam after a day of work or study at numerous bars, taverns, and pubs around Columbus.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best bars in Columbus that have an atmosphere and menu for all ages and walks of life.
4961 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: (614) 888-9073
Self-proclaimed as the “Cultural hub of the Midwest,” Bob’s Bar is a casual, if not gritty bar and pub in Clintonville, a quick drive from Beechwold Park.
Bob’s Bar has a rotating tap list of over 30 beers from microbreweries to enjoy while watching your favorite show on the TV above the bar or with friends on the modest yet charming back patio.
780 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 429-3986
Teetering between Short North and the Italian Village, a block from Goodale Park, Short North Pint House is a stylish and lively gastropub and beer garden.
Short North serves over 35 craft, domestic, and imported beers, not to mention a decadent menu of American pub fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
I went to cool down on a hot summer’s day with a pint of Nocterra Hawaiian Swell sour with a delicious mango infusion.
2417 N High St, Columbus, OH 43202
Phone: (614) 268-9573
Dick’s Den is a grungy University District dive bar with live music, cheap drinks, and a rowdy crowd. They have weekly beer and liquor specials to enjoy while listening to a diverse lineup of jazz, bluegrass, and other local bands.
I went for a cheap domestic beer, a game of pool, and a classy late-night jazz performance.
463 W Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 908-3077
Named for the neighborhood in which it lies, BrewDog Franklinton is a brewery and modern pub in a giant space with a stylish industrial-chic design.
They have 48 craft beers on tap to enjoy inside in a cozy vinyl booth, on the rooftop terrace, or out on the streetside patio.
I had a BrewDog IPA with an oven-baked soft pretzel, beer cheese, and honey mustard for the win!
26 E 5th Ave, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 388-8765
Located in Short North, a block from Weinland Park, Brother’s Drake Meadery is a stunning meadery and live music venue owned by brothers Eric and Woody Drake.
They serve 13 types of mead brewed on site along with a creative list of mead cocktails and craft beers. I loved the Courtland cocktail with their Apple Pie mead and Middle West Whiskey.
122 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 228-9041
Sidebar Columbus is a stylish European and South American tapas bar in the heart of downtown Columbus. The fusion of South American dishes with the Spanish tapas tradition gives Sidebar a unique edge over the competition.
They serve a wide list of Spanish-inspired cocktails, wine, and spirits, along with an award-winning menu of tapas. I went for Happy Hour and enjoyed cheap sangria and a plate of beef empanadas.
714 S High St, Columbus, OH 43206
Phone: (614) 725-2070
Antiques on High is a gorgeous, uber-modern brewery and beer garden in German Village with a hip and beautifully designed space. Antiques on High specializes in sour and wild beers to enjoy in any of their many indoor or outdoor spaces.
The backyard beer garden has various food trucks selling tasty meals and snacks to accompany a pint from their 18-beer tap list.
745 Taylor Ave, Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: (614) 887-7687
True to its name Pretentious Barrel House is a specialized brewery and tasting room that focuses on sour beers. Located in a warehouse lined with giant wood barrels and old-school arcade games, Pretentious Barrel House boasts 20 different sour beers, cocktails, and a selection of craft lagers.
I recommend getting a flight of sours to take advantage of the wealth of varieties without getting too hammered.
254 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 222-1616
You can revisit your adolescence while delighting in a brew or craft cocktail at downtown Columbus’ 16-Birt Bar + Arcade. They have over 40 arcade games, ranging from the original Donkey Kong to Pac-Man to Star Wars pinball machines.
Their drink menu is even more extensive than their video game lineup, with creative and classic cocktails, drafts and cans, wine, and even mocktails for more innocent fun.
862 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 725-5620
Arch City Tavern is a Short North favorite for craft cocktails, beer, and gourmet American tavern fare. The cozy dining space has a historical setting, preserving the old building’s brick walls and wood finishes.
The high-quality, extravagant food and drink menu has won Arch City Tavern OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award.
I think they have the best burgers and sandwiches in town!
185 E Livingston Ave, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 228-3904
A longstanding German Village haunt, Club 185 is a cross between a comfort food restaurant and a speakeasy, serving old-school pub fare with cocktails and beer to all walks of life since 1954.
They have over 20 craft beers on tap, a small creative cocktail list, and an extensive food menu with daily specials.
463 N High St 2nd floor, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 984-7351
Known as Denmark on High, DENMARK is a high-end modern cocktail lounge with a chic and high-energy atmosphere in downtown Columbus.
Expert mixologists create a one-of-a-kind craft cocktail program using scratch-made juices and infusions. They also serve gourmet charcuterie and cheese boards, and small plates.
954 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 732-4660
Mouton is a quaint, rustic-chic cocktail bar in the Italian Village. The charming interior has rich, dark-colored walls with rustic wood tables and old-fashioned chandeliers.
The friendly staff will guide you through the stunning cocktail menu, with a wealth of classics and creative recipes.
Phone: (614) 464-2255
Located in the Easton neighborhood of Northeast Columbus, Pins Mechanical Co is a massive industrial-chic bar, taproom, arcade, and pet-friendly patio.
A mechanical company indeed, Pins Mechanical Co has an extensive pinball and indoor game room with foosball tables, duckpins, ping pong, and bocce. They offer high-quality craft beers and cocktails to fuel a fun-filled game night.
711 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 300-9494
Lincoln Social Rooftop is a refined and welcoming rooftop bar and restaurant in the Victorian Village, with spectacular views of the downtown skyline and Goodale Park.
They offer outdoor and indoor seating in a hip dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Lincoln Social Rooftop is a great place to watch the sunset and enjoy a great Happy Hour deal on well spirits, wine, and oyster shooters.
439 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 225-9439
Char Bar is a downtown Columbus dive bar right in front of the Convention Center and Battelle Hall. Located inside a historic brick building with carved ceilings and vintage chandeliers, Char Bar has a pool table, neon lights, and cheap classic drinks.
Trying to negate the winter weather, I enjoyed a very well-poured Sex on the Beach!
Local Bar Short North
913 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 824-2728
Local Bar is a funky and welcoming pub in Short North, its walls covered with stickers, murals, and local memorabilia.
Local Bar states its mission to welcome all races, ethnicities, and creeds to enjoy a budget-friendly cocktail, beer, or glass of wine with free popcorn from a self-serving movie-theater popcorn machine.
1044 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 299-9399
Bodega is a friendly and hip Italian Village taproom, bar, and gastropub offering an extensive list of craft beers, high-end cocktails, and over-the-top American comfort food.
They have over 50 beers on tap from local, global, and domestic breweries to accompany a decadent menu of grilled cheese, build-your-own mac and cheese, burgers, and more.
630 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 223-9601
Another Italian Village staple, Bernard’s Tavern is a cozy and entertaining gastropub and tavern with giant screen TVs for watching the game and weekly social entertainment like karaoke nights.
Their cocktails are expertly mixed and strong, so I’d definitely order a plate of Buffalo wings to soak it all up!
237 King Ave, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 826-1268
Located in a quaint and colorful space with a dog-friendly patio in University District’s Dennison Place, The Bottle Shop is a refined cocktail bar and taproom.
Locals consider The Bottle Shop a hidden gem for date-night cocktails. During the afternoon, you can buy bottles of high-end spirits and obscure wines.
1145 Chesapeake Ave ste d, Columbus, OH 43212
Phone: (614) 357-1936
Watershed Kitchen +Bar is a distillery and high-end restaurant and bar in Grandview Heights. Their expert distillers offer a wide range of aged and young spirits to elaborate an award-winning cocktail program and a seasonal New American menu.
740 S High St, Columbus, OH 43206
Located in a stunning modern dining space in German Village, Law Bird is a classy wine bar, wine shop, and specialty drink store.
The bar space has a hodge-podge of modern designs that distinguish each of its three bar, shop, and dining spaces.
They have a full cocktail menu, elegant bar snacks, and a rotating selection of wine and beer. You can pick up old-fashioned Italian sodas and glass-bottled cokes for the kids on the way out.
1248 W 3rd Ave, Columbus, OH 43212
Phone: (614) 486-4722
Byrne’s Pub is an old-school Irish pub in Grandview Heights with a cozy atmosphere and flat-screen TVs to watch your favorite sports games.
They also have live music from national Irish bands and bluegrass bands on the weekends. If ever there were a place to get a pint of Guinness and traditional fish and chips, I’d say Byrne’s Pub is it!
Columbus bar scene has an atmosphere for every budget and event, whether you want a rowdy dive bar or a quaint wine bar.
I’d love to hear your opinions on my list of the best bars in Columbus in the comments section below!
- Bob’s Bar
- Short North Pint House
- Dick’s Den
- BrewDog Franklinton
- Brothers Drake Meadery
- Sidebar Columbus
- Antiques on High
- Pretentious Barrel House
- 16-Bit Bar+Arcade
- Arch City Tavern
- Club 185
- Pins Mechanical Co
- Lincoln Social Rooftop
- Char Bar
- Local Bar Short North
- Bernards Tavern
- The Bottle Shop
- Watershed Kitchen + Bar
- Law Bird
- Byrne’s Pub