Hazy memories of college nights spent at Bexley’s Monk to check out a friend’s band or just enjoy one of the few bars near Capital University were brought back last Saturday when my husband and I embarked on yet another drunk brunch at the second Barrel 44 location, in the space once occupied by the Monk.
We were the only customers there the entire brunch. That’s probably because, while Barrel 44′s new location has certainly gotten exposure by now, their brunch is very much still off the radar – they don’t even list it on their own website. I, the patron saint of the pre-noon cocktail, didn’t know about their brunch until 20 minutes before we went, at one of my Twitter followers’ suggestion.
Mimosas and bloody marys are proffered on the printed brunch menu, but check out the signature cocktail menu, which features classic and original creations. I had the Strawberry Basil Smash, with Stoli Oranj vodka, club soda, orange bitters and muddled strawberries and basil. It was just a beautiful cocktail – it reminded me of an aquarium, with the basil and strawberry floating in the bottom like seaweed and coral. On top of that it was delicious: refreshing and flavorful. The husband had the Tahitian Tingle made with Cane rum, St. Germain, Limencello, house-made sour and cream of coconut. I only had one sip (before my husband promptly alerted me to the presence of coconut, to which I am allergic) but it was very frothy and tasty without the overtly tropical rum taste you might expect in something called a “Tahitian Tingle.”
Barrel 44′s brunch menu has about a dozen options to choose from, with options ranging from sweet banana bourbon pecan pancakes to a savory breakfast flatbread with bacon, sausage, tomato, mozarella and egg. I went with the garden flatbread, topped with asparagus, sauteed onion, spinach, tomato, goat cheese and an over-easy egg just waiting to be broken open to drip yolky goodness. It was pretty tasty, but lacked the sharp bites of goat cheese and perfectly grilled asparagus flavors I had hopes for. My husband had the 44 Skillet – scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, a ton of cheddar cheese and sausage gravy over buttermilk biscuits. The bacon was perfection, and the large portion size warranted a to-go box.
Brunch at Barrel 44 Bexley is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm. Barrel 44 is located at 2232 E. Main Street.
Read about other drunk brunch spots in Columbus.