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Closer To God

Columbus levels up their patio game. VASO | 6540 Riverside Dr. Look, we know that it gets cliche to say something or someplace provides a whole new view of the city, but atop VASO, it doesn’t feel Dublin, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Columbus. One of the more exciting facets of the suburb’s new Bridge [...]
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Columbus levels up their patio game.

VASO | 6540 Riverside Dr.

Look, we know that it gets cliche to say something or someplace provides a whole new view of the city, but atop VASO, it doesn’t feel Dublin, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Columbus. One of the more exciting facets of the suburb’s new Bridge Park development, its upscale rooftop space is cozy and contemporary at once, and the see-for-miles perspective of the county is as impressive as they come. (Plus, you can see all the hospitals from there!)

Novak’s Tavern & Patio | 474 N High St.

The OG of the OT (on top) drinking space. Back in the day, their tiny square of fire-escape-adjacent was what sufficed for legal rooftop revelry, and when the new owners took over a few years back they made sure to put dollars and thought into the space. It’s really just a bar—but that’s part of its charm. No dance parties; no Jenga, just a place to belly up to the bar—where you can turn your back to the world and get a little sun on your neck.

Callahan’s | 520 Park St.

One of old-school rooftop spaces, Callahan’s is one of the few bars that may be better known for their second floor than their ground floor space. After recently renovating their space, it’s alive again with a good old-fashioned bump-and-grind dancefloor, something we could all use a little of every once in awhile.

Juniper | 580 N Fourth St.

You’re not really doing Columbus right now if you haven’t made at least one visit to Juniper. Doubling as the best wedding view and patio, this for-rent venue on the weekends, bar/restaurant during the week has made quite the splash atop the Smith Brothers building since its opening last year. Mind the calendar, though: it’s only open to the public Tuesday-Friday, and could be booked for a private event.

BrewDog Franklinton | 463 W Town St.

The rakish lads from Scotland never do anything without fanfare, and the second of their two new brewpubs is no exception. Its open-air, two-story concept is an imposing addition to the Town Street block of Franklinton, the literal crowning achievement being the second floor patio. One of the best, and perhaps the only patio view of the city from the West Side, you can easily gather the crowd in front of the corrugated steel-covered container bar from street level. Extra points for massive bean bag chairs and access from indoors and out. At BrewDog, you’re on top of the world—but looking up to Columbus.

RAM | 906 N High St.

These guys can claim the only rooftop space in the hottest area of town (Short North) and its half-facade provides cozy cover and a little protection from the elements. No frills here—just all chill.

Little Rock Bar | 944 N Fourth St.

One of the first new bars to kick-start the rooftop rally, Little Rock is on their second summer of secondary space—a small L-shaped outdoor lounge that complements the main floor’s beer-and-shot simplicity. No smoking, no cover, and no worries overlooking Fourth Street’s busy buzz.

Seventh Son | 1101 N Fourth St.

It was a 4/20 miracle when Seventh Son pulled off a last-minute open of their new second floor space just in time for Willie Nelson’s birthday (needs fact-checking). Never afraid to do their own thing, Seventh Son’s next-level expansion isn’t open to all of Columbus—but to all people, of course. Retractable roof tiles give them the advantage of year-round use, giving it adaptability for all seasons. It’s not the old Seventh Son, but it’s an even better version of the same vibe.

Platform Beer Co. | 408 N Sixth St.

Just like their Cleveland birthplace, Platform is the blue-collar lunch pail patio of the capital city. Come by on Tuesdays to drink for a good, rotating cause and take a pint up-top where you can once say you saw the city before it developed into what it is today (tomorrow).

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Food & Drink

Burger Bonanza: New restaurant opening in downtown tomorrow

614now Staff

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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

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/PortiasCafe/posts/3132161976810359

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 portiascafe.com for more information.

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Local nonprofit catering company announces new downtown cafe

614now Staff

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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 freedomalacart.org/catering/ or by phone.

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