The magazine you’re holding right now is likely sparkling under the warm rays of the sun.
Cool. It snowed the day I finished this.
Which is why we know you’ll appreciate the annual Groundhog Day-like tradition of Columbus, Ohio, where the first 70-degree spring day (not immediately followed my snow/sleet/sludge) means nine more months of flip-flops.
Oh, and patios. Man, do we love a good—or even okay—outdoor seating/drinking area—almost as much as we love smashing food and booze on the cheap.
So, why not a definitive guide to central Ohio summer patio happy hours? After all, the sun isn’t the only thing that improves your daily mood.
Pass the sunscreen, craft drafts (High Lifes) and flatbreads, and let’s get started.
Lindey’s • 169 E Beck St.
All Hail The King. A German Village institution since 1981, Lindey’s is consistently rated amongst Columbus’s best restaurants and patios. Sophisticated without being snooty, Lindey’s Patio has greenery and umbrellas, giving it a patio ambiance that is unique to Central Ohio. Happy hour runs 4:30–6:30 p.m. weekdays, at the bar and bar area, and features half off select beers, wines and martinis. Small plate specials include potato croquettes, a house burger, potstickers and calamari. All above board quality. WAY above.
Who to take: Go big and take your parents out for their anniversary or your significant other after you become engaged. Start at the patio bar and stay for dinner, where you would be well served by ordering the House Specialty Pork Chop. You can thank me later. Or give me your leftovers. Whatever.
Cazuela’s • 2321 N High St.
This campus institution, located directly off High Street, is known for its large patio, margaritas and an all-around great environment. Running EVERY day from 2-6 p.m. and again from 10-11 p.m., Cazuela’s happy hour includes half-off appetizers, such as bean dip, ceviche, fries and quesadillas and discounted jumbo margaritas ($5.99 lime, $6.99 flavored) and $1 off draft beers.
Who to take: This inexpensive happy hour is a great place for students to take parents as Cazuela’s margaritas will almost certainly lessen the blow when you inform them that you’re dropping out of the Fisher College of Business to pursue that interpretative dance degree. It’s your life and life is short. Go dance!
Grandview Café • 1455 W Third Ave.
The only two-tiered patio on the list, Grandview Café offers first and second floor views in the heart of Grandview Heights. The café recently received a much-needed facelift and the entire restaurant is better for it. Active Monday through Friday from 2-6, this happy hour offers $2 off any $6 beer, $1 off any $4 beer and half-off local and select spirits as well as $2 wine pours. Pizzas are $10 as well—as long as you’re at the bar.
Who to take: Grandview Café is a great place for an informal first date. Low-key and laid back, the patios present a stress-free location to get to know each other. If things go well, stay for dinner and walk to Jeni’s for some after dinner ice cream. If things don’t go well, at least you didn’t drop a lot of cash on that Tinder weirdo.
Hofbrauhaus • 800 Goodale Blvd.
Located in the Grandview Yard, this Cincinnati import is famous for its huge patio and German-style beer hall. Happy hour runs from 3-6 p.m. weekdays with $3 half liters and glasses of wine. Food options include discounted appetizers highlighted by $5 pulled pork sliders and chicken tenders, as well as $4 French fries and gravy.
Who to take: Take a crew of your closest friends as Hofbrauhaus is the perfect location for getting the gang back together. Whether it be a college reunion or the start to that epic Friday night bachelor or bachelorette party, get the party going with those half liters and German poutine!
Union Café • 782 N High St.
Located in the heart of the Short North, Union is welcoming and friendly to persons from all walks of life. A patio with ample shade that is prime for people watching, Union’s happy hour runs from 3-7 p.m. weekdays and includes $2 draft and domestics, $3 wells and rotating daily drink specials. Also, you can’t go wrong with $5 small plates of mac and cheese, cheese curds and biscuit and chicken swliders.
Who to take: Take that out-of-town uncle or aunt who still thinks ‘diversity’ is a swear word. The friendly staff and contemporary backdrop will hopefully broaden their horizons, especially on Thursdays when Union offers for a $4 Long Island pint. Who isn’t more open-minded after three of those? You should also order a Big Meat pizza off the dinner menu to help sober up your uncle.
Olde Towne Tavern • 889 Oak St.
Located on Oak Street in Olde Town East, Olde Towne Tavern sports one of the best happy hours on the Near (or far) East Side. The Tavern has an intimate and charming patio at the back of the building with happy hour running 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Half-off drafts, $3 wells and $1 off glasses of wine and sangria with $1.25 pretzels and $5 veggie nacho appetizer specials make this patio happy hour tough to beat.
Who to take: We all get busy, whether it be with family, work or other commitments. Tell your significant other that they are in charge of the kids and house tonight (for a damn change!) and get reacquainted with that long-lost friend over a refreshing $15 pitcher of sangria and hot and fluffy pretzels. That friend could call you and get the ball rolling, but we know they won’t. They never have taken the initiative and then get all passive-aggressive about hanging out. It’s up to you to make this happy hour happen and at $15, you can order that second sangria pitcher.
Milestone 229 • 229 Civic Center Dr.
The crown jewel of the Scioto Mile offers a great view and environment—just make sure you get to the outdoor bar for the happy hour specials. Running from 4-6 p.m. weekdays, it includes $4 beers, $5 craft cocktails and $6 pizzas, mac and cheese and hummus, and the best views in the city.
Who to take: Two words: date night. Come for happy hour, stay for dinner and then go on a walk down the Scioto Mile or maybe to Columbus Commons for a Friday night show. Milestone 229 is a great start to a romantic evening, if that is your kink. Weirdo.
Cosecha Cocina • 987 N Fourth St.
Located in Italian Village, Cosecha has a spacious patio that fills up quickly. From 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can get $2 drafts of Pacifico and Negro Modelo, $5 red and white wines as well as $5 specialty margaritas and Old Fashioneds or a $10 Boilermaker for two. Did I mention the $3 tacos?
Who to take: Did you finally snag that promotion at work and get your own team? Show your underlings that you’re a generous and benevolent overlord and take the team to happy hour. This event will be budget friendly, you get to look like a big shot, and there are usually plenty of dogs to pet on the animal-friendly patio.
Juniper • 580 N Fourth St.
Juniper has perhaps the best view of Columbus’s skyline. Resting atop the Smith Bros. Hardware building, Juniper is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, with a happy hour that runs from 5-6:30 p.m. Drink specials abound, including $3 off wine glasses, $5 crafts, $5 wells, a $6 daily craft cocktail and even $3 Bud Lights. However, there are no food specials. To quote Springfield bartender Moe Szyslak, “The ambiance doesn’t pay for itself.”
Who to take: Take your out-of-town, snobby friends who don’t like football and think Columbus only has cows and sows. Your friends will return to their coastal lives regaling their friends with stories about their adventure in and above the heartland.
RAM Restaurant & Brewery • 906 N High St.
A second-story rooftop patio in the Short North. Need we say more? $3.75 flagship beers, wines and wells complement higher scale bar food specials from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Food specials include $6.50 wings and nachos and $5.95 flatbread and burgers. The RAM is the Short North’s version of a sports bar and has many televisions available to view on the patio.
Who to take: Get your buddies together and order those food specials and stay to watch the game. Hopefully we will all be rooting for the Blue Jackets and Cavs in June. Even if LeBron is leaving for Houston.
Michael’s Goody Boy • 1144 N High St.
An oasis of “keeping it real” in an area that becomes trendier on a daily basis, Michael’s Goody Boy is a throwback diner with a spacious Short North patio. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m. and has $1.75 domestic beers, 2 domestic drafts and $3 craft drafts, as well as sandwiches, burgers, wings and pizzas, all for around $5. Also, Michael’s may have the most underrated patio breakfast in the city.
Who to take: Michael’s is the perfect start to an evening in the Short North. Late dinner reservations at Forno or The Rossi? Stop here first, get a cheap draft and enjoy the people watching.
The Eagle • 790 N High St.
Another Short North patio. Another great happy hour. Another chance to people watch and soak up some rays. From 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, The Eagle offers $4 snacks like pickled vegetables, house-made bacon, corn nuts and a sausage and kale dip. For drinks, The Eagle offers half-off house cocktails and beers. The real star? That $2 18 oz. High Life draft chalice.
Who to take: Take your fellow Champagne of Beer enthusiast. You know who I’m talking about…that calm, cool and collected customer who might be bald and who definitely insisted (much to his wife’s chagrin) on serving High Life at their wedding. Ok. It’s me. Take me. I call shotgun. •