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The Needle and the Damage (None)

You, a few friends, and your soon-to-be married pal are huddled around a TV in your hotel room with IVs in your arms. A nurse sits to the left, pumping your veins with various chemicals and medicines. Religious blood ritual? Gonzo goes to Vegas? Nah. Pregaming. It’s fun to be an intern at Stock & [...]
Mitch Hooper



You, a few friends, and your soon-to-be married pal are huddled around a TV in your hotel room with IVs in your arms. A nurse sits to the left, pumping your veins with various chemicals and medicines.

Religious blood ritual? Gonzo goes to Vegas?

Nah. Pregaming.

It’s fun to be an intern at Stock & Barrel.

I’m honored they sent me to examine the future of hangover combat/cure, at Hydrate Me, the city’s newest lab-like service that can help you beat a cold, prep for for a 5K … and of course, help you brace for a bachelor party or a game day.

Is it safe? Is it worth it?

That’s why you have me: a 23-year-old with no money in his bank account willing to put an anti-hangover serum, also known as the “pre-party,” in my bloodstream and start drinking until the cows come home to put your doubts to rest.

When I got to Hydrate Me, I was greeted like most medical visits with a battery of common questions like, ‘Do you have any allergies” or ‘Do needles freak you the hell out?’ A few moments later, I was sitting in a comfy chair in the main lobby with my feet kicked up, pre-party pumping in my veins, Family Guy on the TV, and a medically licensed nurse explaining to me what I was receiving in each syringe.

The first part of the treatment is a dose of B-Complex to help reduce stress and anxiety as well as boost energy levels for the nervous and immune system(s)—a very important step in making sure your Sunday hangover doesn’t turn into a Monday hangover. Apparently B-Complex and four-day-old oatmeal have a lot in common in the taste department because while I was administered the dose, that’s about all I could imagine. This process could use a gum or mint—but, hey, a small price to pay for a hangover free weekend.

Next, the concoction called for a dose of Toradol, or as it was described to me as, insanely strong Ibuprofen that actually relieves the pain of headaches and muscle pain, not just numbs them. In case you spend your morning-afters with your head in inside the porcelain throne, Hydrate Me hooks you up (literally) with Pepcid to combat the alcohol-induced nausea. Lastly, and most importantly, a dose of glutathione is administered to help detoxify the alcohol and help your liver process the it more efficiently.

The whole thing feels like a reverse beer bong full of magic drugs, but it’s really a simple, quick way to get ahead of the main obstacle hangover cures face: time.

“A lot of research went into it,” said Scott Holowicki, co-owner of Hydrate Me. “We’re using vitamins and minerals and things that your body becomes deficient in … these are all things the body needs and uses everyday and most of us live in dehydration through the day. It’s likes putting the right mix of oil and gas in an engine. If it isn’t properly made, it won’t work. And our bodies are much like that as well.”
Well, me and Mr. Jameson will see about that.

Like Fear and Loathing’s Dr. Gonzo, I checked my supplies before starting my journalistic and scientific research. Full bottle of Irish whiskey? Check. Ice in the freezer? Yup. Rick Sanchez old fashioned glass? Got it. Pack of smokes? Just don’t tell my grandma. In order to test my scientific method, I decided the best way to test the anti-hangover serum was to treat my night like it was a Saturday night on the town and like a Friday morning direct deposit hit.

Three quarter of a bottle later and mission accomplished: I was way too drunk.

I can’t lie, I was nervous for the next morning. I elected to not do my anti-hangover routine on account of really testing the serum and before bed I kept telling myself, “That’s a bold move, Cotton.”

But, the next morning I popped right out of bed at 8 a.m. feeling refreshed and relaxed like the previous night never happened. I showed up at work without dark circles under my eyes or a drilling headache that not even the strongest cup of coffee could alleviate.

I could get used to this— a literal cheat code for drinking.

Of course, that does come at a price. No, not some science-fiction, Twilight Zone devilish deal for such magic—just an actual tall stack of dollars. ($79 for the pre-party and $99 for the post-party means you gotta make it count).

For Holowicki, dealing with hangovers that last up to three days is something he simply doesn’t have time for.

“We came up with these recipes so your body is getting exactly what it needs to recover quickly,” he explained. “I don’t have time to wait three days and drink Gatorade to cure my hangover … When we hydrate you through an IV, we are hydrating you at a cellular level so that’s why it’s immediately felt.”

millennial | writer | human

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Food & Drink

Burger Bonanza: New restaurant opening in downtown tomorrow

614now Staff



Burger fans in Downtown Columbus will soon have a new option to enjoy, according to a report from Columbus Business First. Belly Burger, a new concept from restaurateur Jeff Kover, will open this Friday at 26 N High St.

The location is the former site of Oliver's, which Kover purchased over a year ago from previous owner Yavonne Sarber.

Belly Burger will expand on Oliver's burger-centric menu while providing an update to the look and feel of the space. Once open, the menu will feature straightforward offerings with single, double, and triple three-ounce patties, a chicken sandwich, and fries for a side. Boozy milkshakes are also on the menu.

For more information, visit the Belly Burger on Facebook.

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Food & Drink

Portia’s Diner takes root on High Street

Regina Fox



One of Columbus' favorite vegan restaurants has taken root in a new location. Portia's Diner is officially open at 3269 N High St. in the former Whole World Natural Bakery and Restaurant in Clintonville.

Portia's Diner offers comfort foods like pancakes, waffles, hamburgers, and burritos—all made with the same high-quality vegan, non-GMO, organic products customers have come to expect from Portia's.

Portia's Diner is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8am- 3pm. Visit for more information.

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Food & Drink

Local nonprofit catering company announces new downtown cafe

614now Staff



Nonprofit catering company and workforce development program Freedom a la Cart has announced plans to open its first full-service cafe + bakery and survivor resource center in downtown Columbus next summer at 123 E Spring St.

A nonprofit catering company and workforce development program that empowers and employs survivors of human trafficking, the Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery will serve fresh-baked pastries, scratch-made meals, and locally roasted coffee under the direction of Consulting Chef BJ Lieberman. The menu will feature Freedom a la Cart favorites from the catering menu, as well as additional “a la minute” selections such as avocado and tomato tartini and house made brioche cinnamon toast.

The flagship cafe + bakery is expected to employ about 20 survivors, doubling the current number of survivors in Freedom’s workforce development program. The cafe also allows Freedom to extend its workforce training program to include valuable front-of-house job skills like point of sale operation, customer service education, and barista training, thereby broadening survivors’ marketability to transition into jobs in the community.

Skill-building and bonding will extend beyond the kitchen to the new “Freedom Home”—2,500 square feet of program and office spaces on the cafe’s second floor for survivors to call their own. The space will include a lounge area, a computer station for job searching and educational assistance, a trauma counseling office, and an area for group gatherings.

“In less than ten years, we’ve seen Freedom a la Cart evolve from a food cart to a successful catering operation, and now, a full-service cafe and community resource center,” said Paula Haines, Executive Director of Freedom a la Cart. “The Freedom Cafe + Bakery will not only allow us to share Freedom a la Cart’s delicious menu offerings with more of the community but will also broaden our outreach and advocacy efforts for human trafficking survivors throughout Columbus.”

Starting in the Summer of 2020, Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery will be open to the public for breakfast and lunch from Monday through Saturday from 7am- 3pm. Catering orders will continue to be accepted at or by phone.

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