But I digress. Regulars claim they like Meister’s for a lot of reasons… the pool table and the darts, the devotion to Cleveland sports, the drink specials. The bar is extending their offerings to pizza and subs for the upcoming football season, and already has an impressive craft beer selection. You can wear whatever you want. People are normal and friendly. At risk of sounding terribly cliché, it’s kind of place where everybody knows your name.
Todd Meister deserves this week’s #bartendercrush title for many reasons, be it his enthusiasm for Columbus, his innovative infused spirits and devotion to a successful drinking environment, or the fact that he filled me up on cans of Black Label and tequila. Check him out and get your crush on, people.
Name: Todd Meister
Years behind the Bar: 17
Band/Book/Beverage: Social Distortion, The Godfather, Jameson.
Kelly Laine: You’re from Canton. What brought you to Columbus?
Todd Meister: I moved down here when I was 19 for school, I wanted to be a dentist. I got my degree in dental technology and was working in a lab for a year or so before I started dental school, and that’s when I started bartending. I realized I didn’t want to do anything else.
KL: So how’d you end up behind the bar?
TM: I started at the Jailhouse on campus, where the BW3’s is now. I started drinking in there underage, then pouring drafts on game days, and slowly I worked my way up to getting shifts.
KL: How long has Meister’s been here?
TM: We opened up in 2010, it’ll be two years this February. Before this I was at Grandview Café for 4 years.
KL: What’s the most popular order at Meister’s?
TM: PBR, but we have a really good crowd that comes in and orders craft beers. And we have house-made infused vodkas, one with habanero peppers, lemon and lime. It’s really good but it’s really hot. Want to try some?
KL: Yes please.
[Habanero Lemon-Lime Vodka down the hatch. I can now breathe the fire of at least 12 dragons.]
TM: You took that like a champ. Once I had to get a man a glass of milk after he took a shot of that stuff. We also have an orange-infused silver tequila, bubble gum infused vodka and a vodka with pineapple-raspberry.
KL: So I feel like you have some good stories. Got any favorite regulars?
TM: We have awesome regulars. We just hired our best one, Eggbert, who’s right over there.
TM: He’s been hanging out since we opened.
KL to Eggbert: What’s your name again?
Egg: Only my parents call me Eric.
TM: Come in on any given night and you might find Egg passed out under a table.
Egg: That hasn’t happened in months!
TM: It happened Monday.
Egg: Really? I don’t remember that. Huh.
TM: One time right after we opened some guy came in for happy hour. He was here all afternoon after work drinking, and passed out in the bathroom sitting on the toilet, and threw up in his underwear. Someone came up to the bar and let us know some dude was passed out and had puked in his underwear. So we got his friends to get him out of there, and he just stood up and pulled his pants up (full of puke) and walked out.
KL: That’s awful. Anyways, I heard a rumor that you once made some bumper stickers…
TM: Yeah! It kills me when people remember this story. “I Know Todd Meister” bumper stickers. I keep saying I’m going to get some more made. I’m going to start this trend all over again because so many people leave their cars left here over night.
KL: Most popular night here?
TM: Weekends, although Thursday night Can Night is really popular. [$1 cans of Black Label, Busch Light, Stroh’s, and a few others of the like.]
KL: I’ve experienced the White Meister, but can you tell me a little more about it?
TM: The White Meister is the house specialty; it’s been my shot for like ten years. It’s my spin on the White Spider shot. I use Rumplemintz and it’s shaken very well so it turns kind of white. We probably go through more Rumplemintz than any bar in Columbus.
KL: A lot of people don’t like Rumplemintz.
TM: At first! But then they like the White Meister. I push it.
KL: Can I get another shot of that fire vodka?
I’m now addicted to the habanero lemon-lime vodka. Are you up for the challenge? Check out Meister’s Bar on Facebook for updates on nightly specials and the current state of Eggbert’s sobriety.