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Posted Up: 5 of the best bars to binge March Madness

Mitch Hooper

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When it comes to finding a bar to call my March Madness headquarters, I won’t hesitate to say that I’m selective. I spent three years working in a Buffalo Wild Wings, also known as the corporate pinnacle of March Madness, so I have some unwritten rules that must be met.

The bar has to have plenty of TVs.

At any given time must be upwards of four games televised during the tournament and I’ll be damned if I miss a single tip-off. This is like Christmas, but better, and there’s no time to waste.

I need food—preferably large amounts of snack food—but the cheaper the better.

I don’t have $7.99 to shell out every time I want another order of mozzarella sticks, but dammit, I want more mozzarella sticks!

I need to be able to be a fan.

A cozy and quiet bar might be great for any other time of the month, but during March Madness, if I can’t cheer, be excited, or high five and/or trash talk the stranger next to me, I want to be somewhere else. ‘Tis the season, and I’m just spreading the joy.

Avoid the expensive adventure to B-Dubs. There’s plenty of great options in the city that offer everything you’re after, and I already did the legwork to finding a method to all this madness. (You’re welcome.)

Chumley’s | 1516 N High St.

Best time to go: Early games when students are in class/hungover on the weekend

Brave the forest of Natty Light cans and JUUL fumes on your way to campus and you’ll find your March Madness oasis at Chumley’s. There’s almost as many beers on tap here as there are teams in the tournament, and a basket of six traditional wings will only run you $5.50.

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Bar Louie | 1611 Polaris Pkwy.

Best time to go: Thursday and Friday afternoon tip-offs

It’s March Madness so I’m sure you have your excuses to leave work already crafted. Once you escape the office, Bar Louie runs happy hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. which means $3.25 draft beers and half-off on select flatbreads and appetizers.

Local Cantina | Varies

Best time to go: Afternoon games

Local Cantina might not be thought of as your “typical” sports
bar, but hear me out: self-serve chips and salsa. Do I even need
to say more?

Photo by Collins Laatsch

Gresso’s | 961 S High St.

Best time to go: Afternoon games

Gresso’s is all about a laid-back environment, and with the high stress of watching your bracket crumble game-by-game, it might not be a bad idea to kick back here. Gresso’s menu keeps it simple, and if you’re willing to pay a little more (about $14), you can try the sampler platter with three pierogies, two mozzarella sticks, five wings, and pork “waffle waffle” fries so you can safely get one decision right.

Rooster’s | Varies

Best time to go: Early games to beat the rush

Rooster’s is no secret to anyone when it comes to being a great sports bar (just check out Columbest results year-in and year-out), but it might be the best spot when it comes to March Madness. From the $5.99 for five wings to the elusive affordable mozzarella sticks at just $4.99, you can chow down while sipping on 22 oz. domestic draft beers for $2.75 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.  

Photo by Collins Laatsch

millennial | writer | human

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Food & Drink

614NOW Fried Chicken Trail: Forty’s Chicken and Waffles

Mike Thomas

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First came the 614NOW Donut Trail. Then, there was the Mac & Cheese Trail. Now, 614NOW is on the hunt for the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Welcome to the 614NOW Fried Chicken Trail!

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles

2593 N High St

They say life is one big question when you’re staring at the clock, and the answer’s always waiting at the [chicken] store. Sorry, the name of this particular fried chicken establishment is giving me major Sublime vibes.

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles is a rad food counter situated in the back of Old North Arcade on High Street. While chicken grease and arcade game joysticks are a match made in hell, the combination of sweet, pillowy waffles and succulent fried chicken is one for the ages.

Forty’s “tendies” basket before I drowned the whole affair in the pictured syrup

The chicken at Forty’s comes in strips referred to as “tendies,” but this is not the stuff of chain restaurant kids meal baskets. Forty’s generous strips of tender, all-white meat chicken are obviously cut from whole breast pieces, which takes the chore of deboning out of the equation. This means you can spend more time blasting through Dig Dug or Tron, and less time dealing with pesky chicken carcass!

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If I were to compare the Chicken at Forty’s to anything, it perhaps most resembles the strips from a certain chain that rhymes with “Blazing Mains.” The pieces found here, however, are so much larger and more juicy than anything you’ll find at that familiar sauce+garlic toast joint.

Nerd out AND eat fried chicken? I’m sold.

If you’re not yet a believer in the sweet-meets-savory mashup of syrup-soaked waffles and fried chicken, you’d best get down to Forty’s stat. Syrup, and plentiful sauces (chipotle ranch, of I’m not mistaken?) help this chicken shine in spite of it being a little light in the seasoning department for my taste.

Ratings:
Aroma:🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5 drumsticks)
Flavor: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Seasoning: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Crispiness: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Overall Experience: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles total: 23/25

Large doses of sugar-coated protein are just the thing to fuel your late night Q*bert rampage at the adjoining arcade. Just remember to wash the grease off your hands before diving back in!

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Food & Drink

Restaurant Week Preview: Smith and Wollensky’s classic steakhouse experience

Mike Thomas

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Restaurant Week here! Enjoy 3-course meals at 120+ of Columbus’ best restaurants for a fraction of the cost during Restaurant Week Columbus, July 15-20, presented by (614) Magazine & Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

With deals from some of the area’s top eateries coming in at a mere $40, Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a taste of the good life.

Check out this preview of America’s classic steakhouse, Smith and Wollensky, to see just how far $40 will take you!

First Course

For fans of blue cheese, Smith and Wollensky’s mini iceburg wedge salad is a must (bacon lardons, anyone?) For everyone else, grilled bacon in a burnt orange bourbon gastrique should do nicely.

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Second Course

The second course is where you’ll have a difficult decision to make. Between Smith and Wollensky’s signature filet mignon, tenderloin tips with African spices, and some first-rate chicken and fish preparations, there should be something to suit any taste. But let’s get real—this is a steakhouse. Go for the gusto with the dry-aged, prime boneless New York strip, served au poivre.

Third Course

If you have any room left, you’ll have your choice of a slice of Chocolate cake with Baileys Irish cream, chocolate mousse, and ganache, or coconut cake with whipped cream, Malibu rum syrup, crisp tuile, and shaved coconut. These are supposedly smaller-scale versions of these dessert offerings, but after all the great food that proceeds them, I’m seeing a doggy bag in your future.

Chocolate cake

Smith & Wollensky is located in Easton, at 4145 The Strand W. in Columbus. The Restaurant Week menu will be offered Monday-Saturday from 11:30a-10p, and Friday-Saturday from 11:30a-11p.

Click here to make a reservation

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Food & Drink

Happy Restaurant Week! Score deals, win big, do good

614now

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It’s finally here! Happy Restaurant Week July 15-20! What’s Restaurant Week you ask? You must be new. Thats OK! We’ll get you up to speed and in the know.

This week, you can enjoy 3-course meals at 120+ of Columbus’ best restaurants for a fraction of the cost. Dig into deep discounts from local favorites such as City Barbeque with special menus starting at just $15! Restaurant Week is also your to scope out some of the swankiest spots in town on the cheap like Smith & Wollensky and Mezzo !

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Or, you could get meals for FREE if you’re the lucky winner of our grand prize! In our Restaurant Week giveaway, one lucky winner will receive a $500 Marathon Gift Card AND dinner for 4 at 5 Restaurant Week restaurants! Plus, 25 additional winners will receive dinner for 2 at a participating Restaurant Week restaurant!

Your giveaway entries could help you score big, but they also do good in the community. During Restaurant Week Columbus presented by (614) Magazine & Marathon Petroleum Corporation, $0.25 donation will be made to Pelotonia for each unique giveaway entry, up to $5,000.

To view menus, make reservations, and enter the grand prize giveaway, visit eat614.com. And be sure to keep an eye on 614’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for additional giveaways all week!

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