I came to Nasty’s with at best underwhelming expectations. But I left feeling pretty great about what this oddly placed and named bar had to offer. While it could be defined as a standard sports bar, it definitely delivers above and beyond with an over-the-top number of televisions and a truly amazing beer list.
Nasty’s is located at 4561 Scioto Darby Road more or less in a gas station parking lot. The view varies from gas pumps to a Goodwill that’s inexplicably connected to the gas station convenience store. (Which makes sense I suppose when you’re at a sports bar that’s inexplicably in a gas station parking lot.)
Our group of four was immediately impressed with the beer list. While I didn’t get to count the full list and the website is nowhere near up to date, I would guess that it’s at least 100 deep. I suppose it goes without saying that if a 32-ounce Golden Monkey is an option, this place is no slouch. The impressive list includes both local and national craft beer favorites from brewers such as Columbus Brewing Company, Great Lakes, Southern Tier and Victory. While I was tempted to go balls out with a liter of delicious yet deadly beer, my friendly server suggested that I try the $3 Blue Margarita special. The Blue Margarita was high on the triple sec and way too sugary for my taste, but to be fair, it was $3.
One of the owner’s son’s football nickname was Nasty, and the owners opted to name their new bar this memorable moniker… and holy shit do they love splashing the name all over the place. The standard sports bar fare menu lets you choose from NASTYtizers, NASTY Burgers, NASTYwiches and apparently non-nasty salads. I normally eat healthy and avoid fried foods, but this didn’t seem like the time or place for a pile of romaine. After he perused the menu for a minute my husband loudly and proudly declared that Nasty’s features “every unhealthy delight he could ever dream of.” With a lineup of wings, pizzas, burgers, fried cheese and generally punny names, I agree that this is right up my husband’s (and many sports fans in Hilliard, I’m sure) alley.
We started with the hot pepper cheese cubes, which were a solid start for a sports bar: geometrical shapes of deep fried spicy cheese are always a part of a good evening plan. I’m not entirely sure what the dip on the side was, but it reminded me of a nebulously defined “Southwest Sauce” I once experienced at Club Vinton in Southeast Ohio. (Which is another review in and of itself.)
The atmosphere (the Nastmosphere?) is fun and slightly disjointed, but I can appreciate the transition from Italian restaurant/wine joint (which it apparently was before) to sports bar. The occasionally bared bricks among the stucco showed this previous life, but the nearly constant reminder of the Big 10, Nasty’s shirts and beer paraphernalia were happy to remind us of a new beginning.
Because I’m an enthusiast with anything featuring Southwest as an adjective in its title I went with the Southwest wrap and seasoned fries. Both the wrap and fries were delicious, and the generous chipotle ranch slathered throughout certainly didn’t hurt. I could have used a bit more spice, but I was definitely pleased with my meal.
My husband got the buffalo chicken pizza which was not surprisingly a hit with him, but the real winner at the table was the cheeseburger covered in barbecue pulled pork. I applaud any restaurant that’s able to successfully combine two meals into one sandwich.
The men’s and women’s restrooms both feature awkwardly placed televisions in case you really, really can’t miss a second of the game (whatever game that may be). The lavatories also advertise something called Club Nasty, which is apparently what the game room is referred to as every other Saturday when a DJ pumps out the jams. Saturdays alternate from Club Nasty (see aforementioned jams) and karaoke, and I’m pretty sure this would be a killer place for karaoke.
Nasty’s got some pretty great bonus points for me when our server asked what we wanted on the two televisions in our corner of the bar, which we alone occupied. As a lifelong Cleveland Browns’ fan/masochist (redundant) I chose to have the Browns/Packers preseason game on both the huge-ass television in front of and behind me. Surround me with the pain of Brandon Weeden! Show me the season-ending injuries as they unfold!
Throughout our meal we admired the eclectic mix of clientele. Families, college kids and barflies combined to make Nasty’s a nice little neighborhood bar with a pretty upbeat personality. One gentleman in particular was our hero for the evening. We referred to said gentleman as “God” as he sat at the bar sipping huge beers in frosty mugs, had an impressive mane of white locks and a tie-dyed Hawaiian shirt that Jimmy Buffet would covet. But I digress.
Nasty’s features the main area bar area with a ton of televisions (I think roughly 15 that I counted) as well as a game room. The game room offers a punching game (which I would surmise is a must after a liter of Golden Monkey) as well as several pool tables. When I surveyed the room a large projector was showing a fantasy football draft, and I gave the group a mental high five because Nasty’s is pretty much the perfect location for a draft.
While I didn’t witness any of this with my own eyes, Nasty’s supposedly offers 100 ounce tube beers with silicone-sealed chillers to keep the beer cold. As an enthusiast of both science and novelty beer drinking paraphernalia, I found this appealing though unnecessary for a Thursday evening dinner. Instead I went for a 22-ounce Golden Monkey for my second and (predictably) final drink.
My internal happiness record abruptly scratched to a halt when another server (not ours, who is still an angel in my mind) decided to switch the television in front of us (which no one else was near) to the Bengals’ preseason game. I was staring (and yelling) at the television, and with no questions asked she changed the channel. Poor sign for me for a sports bar, but I’ll chalk it up as an anomaly in service rather than the norm. I may or may not have been a bit surly at this point being roughly 18 ounces into my Golden Monkey, so my demeanor wasn’t as forgiving to the channel change as it may have been during my sugary triple sec concoction earlier in the evening.
Our group of four agreed that we will definitely be back to Nasty’s for either Club Nasty or karaoke in the near future. I’m personally pretty bummed to have missed the band Flannel Shark (A Rock N Roll Feeding Frenzy!!) but I’m sure more aptly named ironic bands will be on the way. The food was a nice diversion from my normally healthy routine (sorry Nasty’s, I’m sure your salads are pleasant) and the beer list was one of the more impressive ones I’ve found in the Columbus area.
We received our checks and found that our 22-ounce Golden Monkeys were only $6.50. To which we could only respond in wonderment and glory, “No wonder God hangs out here.”