I don’t know how to review Byrne’s Pub. It’s an Irish pub by name and marketed category but it is so much more than that. They have TVs for watching sports, but it’s not a sports bar. It’s divey, but not actually a dive. If you asked me to come up with the demographics of their customer base, I wouldn’t know where to begin.
It’s located in Grandview Heights, on Third Ave. at Northwest and Meadow. They have a decent sign so it’s not easy to miss, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for you might pass it by. They have a small parking lot. They have a dart league. On Monday nights, there’s trivia, with a $30 bar tab prize. They have live music several nights a week, mostly bluegrass and Celtic music. Every year there is an insane party on St. Patrick’s Day that everyone should go to at least once.
These are things that Byrne’s advertises but there are other, more subtle aspects of Byrne’s that make me swoon.
The free popcorn really helps in soaking up hour old liquor that’s resting heavily in an empty stomach. They’re connected by a small window to Granddad’s Pizza, so ordering more substantial (and delicious) food is not only a possibility, but extremely convenient. Behind the bar they have a jar of beef jerky, which usually goes for a dollar a piece, and it’s chewy and delectable. They also have an amazing patio that treats people right in the summertime.
If you’re a “beer guy” or a “wine girl” then Byrne’s probably isn’t the place for you, though they do offer some good craft beers like Bell’s Two Hearted. If you like Guinness and dollar PBRs then it’s a great place, especially if you like good conversation to go with it. Liquor is cheap but don’t expect a five-star Manhattan, just a good, strong drink.
Byrne’s is a catch-all for the socially lazy, wallflowers, partiers (both young and old), and ultimately for the ill-defined and goodtime-seeking people of Columbus. It’s a place for making extraordinary memories and celebrating mediocrity, all at the same time.
I’ve seen wedding parties at Byrne’s post-reception, cheers-ing the night away and singing quintessential Journey songs, while one table over some dude puked all over himself after eating too much pizza.
My memories at Byrne’s are diverse. The day Michael Jackson died, I challenged an awkwardly tall dude to a dance off, while MJ crooned away on Byrne’s jukebox. I spent my first drunk St. Patrick’s Day crawling around Byrne’s parking lot. Before I left Columbus, I celebrated my graduation and birthday simultaneously, with Joel pouring the drinks. And when I moved back, I went to Byrne’s to catch up with old friends.
Byrne’s is a great place for day drinks. I’ve done homework there. I’ve had meetings there.
You should go there at night, too. It’s a good place to stop before heading to a party, and a good place to come back to after the fact. And if you’re just not into parties, Byrne’s is where you’ll likely spend the whole evening (that’s what I do).
The best part is that nobody at Byrne’s gives a shit about what you’re doing. They just care that you’re having a good time. Patrons are friendly, bartenders are matter of fact, and the Guinness pours heavy. If that’s not enough for you, they’re okay with that. And if it’s more than enough for you, they’re okay with that, too.