Columbus’ best beer bars

Written by on January 16, 2013 in Bars, Beer - 17 Comments

Draft Magazine recently released its annual list of the 100 best beer bars in America, a list on which Columbus is notably absent.

While we may not have the biggest or best, there are some damn good beer bars in Columbus worth recognizing. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Big 3 B’s

These have been the most cited beer bars in Central Ohio for years – and for good reason!

  • Bodega in the Short North is arguably the most popular and well-known beer bar in Columbus, boasting more than 50 beers on tap from an impressive range of breweries. Their Monday dollar grilled cheese night fed me through college.
  • Bob’s Bar, the self-proclaimed “Cultural Hub of the Midwest,” doesn’t look like much from the outside, but surprises with well over 200 beers, a solid 36 of which are on draft.
  • Brew’s Cafe is in Granville, about half an hour east of Columbus, but this bar is worth the trip. Not only does Brew’s have more than 30 great beers on tap, they also have TEN coolers of bottles behind the bar. I’m also obsessed with their spinach dip and pita.

Other Notables

These may not have the most draft lines or the biggest coolers, but these local favorites offer something special for beer lovers.

  • Surly Girl Saloon has 24 taps and focuses on filling them with Ohio and women-owned breweries.
  • St. James Tavern has only 13 taps, but each one is occupied with a top-notch brew, and St. James is often one of the first or only bars to feature specialty selections.
  • 101 Beer Kitchen has a solid 20 taps and 50 bottles and a handy menu with detailed descriptions of each.
  • The Daily Growler has an impressive 60 tap handles, but despite a few barstools and tables, its primary purpose is carry-out
  • The Pint Room in Dublin has a drool-worthy 100 taps (25 Ohio-occupied), but I haven’t actually been to this bar yet.

The Chain Gang

While these may not be locally-based companies, the beer list at each of these chain establishments warrants a look!

  • Northeast Ohio-based Winking Lizard Tavern (Crosswoods, Bethel and coming-soon Grandview) has hundreds of beers to enjoy, but its their World Tour that keeps local beer enthusiasts coming back to collect swag for consuming 50, 100 or 150 different beers at the bar.
  • Florida-based World of Beer (Brewery District, Easton) lives up to its name with 40 different drafts and hundreds more bottles, plus a loyalty card program packed with prizes for trying new brews.
  • West Virginia-founded Pies & Pints is new to the area, but impresses with a curated beer selection of 36 drafts, plus some damn good pizza.

What’s your favorite beer bar in Columbus?

creative commons photo credit: afagen

About the Author

Cheryl Harrison. Editor of Drink Up Columbus. Geek of the craft beer/board game/sci-fi varieties. Fan of patios.

17 Comments on "Columbus’ best beer bars"

  1. Paul January 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Reply

    Lounge 62 In Bahama Has 62 Beers On Tap. IM Not A Fan Of The Evening crowd as of late selection is available.

  2. Jeff January 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Reply

    Bodega was always my go-to, but I’m more of a World of Beer guy now. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the obvious love of beer. I just wish their pints were $1-2 cheaper.

    Lounge 62 has the most taps in the city, as mentioned above…they try to cater to a club crowd though. It’s so bizarre.

  3. jamesmoore80 January 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM · Reply

    I would add Hal & Al’s on Parsons. They have a good variety of taps and bottled and half priced taps 4-8pm every day. And they do tastings frequently.

  4. John Clem January 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Reply

    While often considered a campus bar I really think Fourth Street should receive some mention. They have 54 craft beers on draft and at much lower prices than many of the other bars. I’m partial because it’s the home bar of Crew Supporters Union, but being out of college for several years I don’t think it should be lumped with other campus area bars.

  5. Paul January 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Reply

    Fourth Street Bar and Grill on 4th street and 16th avenue has anywhere from 40-52 beers on draft at any time with an even larger selection of bottled beers. They also have incredible burgers and fries

  6. Kelly Barrett January 16, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Reply

    Studio 35 post-remodel has become one of my favorite bars. Their 40 taps always have great beers especially right after their awesome beer tastings. Their happy hour knocks the price of the beer down a bit too.
    I also really enjoy Fourth Street for their half-price drafts happy hour and for their wide array of taps. It is the best bar within walking distance of Crew Stadium, and they have great tap takeovers and events.

  7. Ian January 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Reply

    Mad Mex should be on there as well.

  8. Trimmer January 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Reply

    Hal and Al’s is missing and no Matt The Miller’s love?!?!?!

  9. Mark January 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Reply

    House Beer in the Short North! Definitely my favorite, definitely a beer bar.

  10. Mollie August 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Reply

    House Beer is one of Columbus’ best!!!

  11. Mottman August 16, 2018 at 10:01 PM · Reply

    The Brass Tap at Polaris Mall isn’t one that you think of – but excellent assortment of beers – with ohio breweries well represented.

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