Connect with us

Food & Drink

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

Mitch Hooper

Published

on

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.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Draft Picks: Local craft brews to please the mainstream beer drinker

Avatar

Published

on

It’s football season again, and what better game-time beverage is there than cold, refreshing beer? Maybe you want to support local businesses instead of handing more money to Corporate America, but you know some of your squad will at out refuse to drink your favorite IPAs and ales, and will ask you for a Bud Light.

Or maybe you even want a break from those big flavors and want something drinkable, with a lower ABV, to go with your chips and burgers. What to do? We have some answers.

THE FOUR-LETTER WORD

Much of the mainstream beer drinker's hesitation with, and even aversion to, craft beers lies in one ingredient: hops. Americans have a love a air with hops. Many, if not most, craft breweries center their offerings around the almighty IPA. Hops are citrusy, pungent, flavorful...and bitter.

For those mainstream beer drinkers, “hops” truly is a four-letter word. Sure, hops balance sugars and add crispness and flavor, but flavor is a funny thing.

There’s a lot to be said for individual tastes. One person’s “I can’t drink mass-market beer; I need a beer with flavor” is another person’s “OMG, how can people drink IPAs? I need a beer with flavor.”

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Look for low IBUs—and by low, I mean in the teens or even single digits. While an “average” IPA has bitterness in the 40-60 range, and IPAs in the 20s and 30s are fairly mild, anything with an IBU over about 18 had Erin grimacing and sticking her tongue out with a vehement “No. No way.”

Another appeal of mass-market brews is their low ABV and the associated low carbs. Corporate beer is seen to be healthier, by those standards. But most of the craft beers we tested have similar ABV to the mass market beers.

The biggest drawback to these local beers is that you can’t grab and go at the corner gas station or even in most mainstream grocery coolers. Giant Eagle and Kroger carry a few; smaller groceries like Hill’s and Weiland’s carry some; specialty beer and wine shops carry some, but many are only available on draft, by the growler, either in the brewer’s tap room or at a specialty store.

The upside to this is that breweries are happy to tell you where to find their products, and buying by the growler ensures that you’re getting some of the freshest beer available. And, anyhow, you have two or three half-used packages of Solo cups already, right?

THE RUNDOWN

Lagers, pilsners, Oktoberfest, and Kolsch-style beers are going to be your best bets for low-ABV, low-IBU, mainstream- friendly options.

Dayton’s Warped Wing Brewing Company sells its Trotwood lager in cans as well as draft. Called “a beer’s beer” by the company, it’s malty and smooth, unassuming and balanced, a lot like Budweiwer and a little more flavorful.

Nocterra’s outstanding Trail Break helles lager, made with all German malt and hops, is easy drinking at its easiest. Another excellent choice is Old Dog Alehouse & Brewing’s Monk’s Tale—a smooth helles that started as a summer brew, but will be extended into the fall.

If crisp pilsners are more your thing, check out North High Brewing’s Life sparkling ale, full of complex flavor, or Commonhouse Ales’ Czech Please, a clean, no-frills brew with a nice finish.

Elevator’s Heiferweizen and Grove City Brewing Company’s Jolly Orange are similar to Blue Moon, delicious with a slice of orange, each having its own slightly distinct character—Heiferweizen a little lemony, Jolly Orange a little spicy.

Mexican-style lagers, similar to Corona, are generally easy-drinking and popular, with or without limes. Grove City’s A Poco was Erin’s closest estimation to a cold Corona. Land Grant’s Urban Sombrero has faint spicy and oral notes that add character.

Combustion’s Sir Veza was a universal hit with my friends. Curtis described it “light, like a light beer, but with the flavor of a lager.” At 4.5% ABV, that’s not far off.

“I'll tell you what, it smells good,” Zack said. Janie chimed in, “This would be a great beer pong beer!” Now, maybe you’re not having “that” kind of tailgate (or maybe you are), but any beer that stands up to beer pong is a testament to drinkability.

Oktoberfest-style beers generally also fit the bill. Elevator’s Oktoberfest is heavy on the malt, similar to Rolling Rock, but other brands are sweeter and heavier, reminiscent of Sam Adams beers.

Looking further into fall, Grove City’s Alumni lager is scheduled to return in November. Around the same time, Chicago’s Forbidden Root Brewing Company is scheduled to open its Easton brewery and taproom, including their super- drinkable Hoodie Weather Vienna lager.

For something slightly different (and a little further out of Central Ohio) but still excellent with salty snacks and grilled burgers, seek out Catawba Island Brewing Company’s Hot Blonde Mango Habanero Ale. It’s not like anything you’ll buy in the beer cooler of your corner store, but it’s slightly fruity, a bit spicy, and will add a little kick to your game-time cookout.

Not so much of a beer drinker, or having an upscale morning tailgate? How about mead-mosas? Yes, you read that right. Mead-mosas. Skip the wine-aisle bubbly, head to one of many specialty groceries or the taproom on the East side, and grab one of Uprising Meadworks’ bottles, like the ginger-lime Copper Knob, to mix with your orange juice.

So pass up the drive-through this football season, and try something local. You’ll find easy-going selections with flavor, reasonable ABV, and great drinkability, that your mainstream- beer-fan friends, and even you, will love.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

You’ll hardly recognize newly-renovated GasWerks, fun features added

Regina Fox

Published

on

After a months-long renovation, Park Street enthusiasts can finally return to one of its most popular establishments: GasWerks.

The bar reopened over the weekend, debuting several new features including two live music stages, a large dance floor, and a food menu prepared right out of a vintage COTA bus permanently located inside the bar.

Guests can also test their skills at new games like skee-ball, and a 15-foot Space Invaders game, as well as other classics on vintage systems.

Outside, the patio features corn hole, new chairs and tables, and an open-sided Airstream camper with comfortable seating for social gathering.

What hasn't changed is GasWerks great drink specials, playful atmosphere, and welcoming spirit. The bar is located at 487 Park St. and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm- 2am, Friday from 4pm-2am, Saturday from 3pm- 2am, and closed Sunday through Tuesday. To learn more, visit gaswerksbar.com.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Beloved local burger joint opening Downtown location, more neighborhoods soon

Regina Fox

Published

on

In a very small amount of time, Preston’s: A Burger Joint by chef Matthew Heaggans and chef Catie Randazzo's went from a cultish pop-up to the home of many peoples' favorite burger.

With the help of a newly-created hospitality group, Heaggans and Randazzo will be expanding Preston's into more neighborhoods.

"We know Columbus wants to eat more Preston’s burgers and we want to make that dream a reality," said Reed Woogerd, CEO of Muse Hospitality.

The flagship location for the Preston’s expansion will be at 15 W. Cherry St. in Downtown. More locations throughout Columbus are planned with hopes of tapping into the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets, as well.

"We want Preston’s to be Ohio’s burger," said Woogerd.

Click here to read more about the smash burger

Matt Heaggans and Catie Randazzo are two of the most respected chefs in the restaurant scene. Together and individually, they have created some of Columbus’ most beloved concepts, including the most recent: Ambrose & Eve (which will operate under the Muse Hospitality umbrella).

Randazzo is the creator of Challah food truck, featuring the chicken sandwich with the biggest cult following in the city. Challah is no longer operating as a food truck, but recently was featured as a pop-up menu at Ambrose & Eve and could see a full brick and mortar comeback as the group expands.

Heaggans and Randazzo created Preston’s: A Burger Joint that has been racking up the accolades, including best burger in Columbus. Currently you can find Preston’s operating as a food truck, at Woodland’s Tavern and Woodland’s Backyard.

With around 70 years collective experience in the industry, Muse Hospitality's mission is to continue to guide and push the elevation of the Columbus food scene and culture.

Letha Pugh's Bake Me Happy will continue to operate independently, but will be bringing a gluten-free edge to the Muse concept.

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X