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Eclectic Entertaining: An insider’s guide for out-of-town guests

J.R. McMillan

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Columbus is the city of the next century. But sometimes it’s difficult to see during your daily drive; even harder if you’re only home for the holidays. If that long-lost college cohort or twice-removed cousin hasn’t stopped by since the waning days of MySpace, the local to-do list is almost too long to fathom. So if you’re looking for someplace new or unique to impress your out-of-town guests, consider these enviable options.

Where to find unpretentious eats well after midnight

Hounddog’s Pizza | 2657 N High Street

The Old North is just far enough away from campus and just south enough of Clintonville to carve out its own neighborhood identity. Columbus-style pizza is still king, but the chewy garlic butter handle of Smokin’ Joes hand-tossed crust and sauce are essential. Try the veggie-heavy Backyard Dog, or keep it classic with spicy Italian sausage, fresh garlic, and extra cheese.

Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace | 248 S 4th Street

This once sleepy stretch of street has become a downtown hub of hip haunts in the past decade. Choose from more than three dozen signature hot dogs, brats, polish sausages, or veggie dogs—or create your own. The Pittsburgh Princess is a notable nod to Primanti Brothers’ legendary sandwich, dressed with creamy slaw, hand-cut fries, and a splash of malt vinegar.

Where to take your siblings who think the suburbs aren’t sophisticated

Lupo on Arlington | 2124 Arlington Avenue

An obscure enclave of boutique retail shops may not seem like the obvious complement for Spanish small plates. But the dynamic tapas menu was the perfect fit for the former bank whose exposed vault door mechanisms remain a decorative accent. Though the featured fare changes frequently, the octopus a la plancha and lamb meatballs have become much-beloved staples.

Photo: Brian Kaiser

Hen Quarter | 6628 Riverside Drive

Southern standards find a fresh take at the intersection of rustic and refined. Don’t let their bottomless brunch delay your visit. Succulent fried chicken served with brown butter waffles, bourbon maple syrup, and a side of collards are always on the menu—as are the impressive smoked short ribs, with ginger cilantro rice, Brussels sprouts, and green tomato kimchi.

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Where to imbibe elevated cocktails with a view to match

Juniper | 580 N 4th Street

The standard speakeasy is a hidden haunt. But this one literally ups the ante by hiding on the roof of Smith Brothers Hardware, offering Caribbean cuisine and just the right vantage of the city skyline. Try a plate of authentic Johnny cakes and the crispy-skin parrot fish coupled with one of their reimagined, prohibition-era cocktails like the Tropical Knees, Lion’s Tail, or Pith and Peel.

Photo: Brian Kaiser

Lincoln Social | 711 N High Street

Del Mar SoCal Kitchen’s Midwest twist on coastal cuisine is perhaps only rivaled by its sister establishment’s exclusive rooftop patio. Among the more innovate alcoholic beverage offerings, Cameron Mitchell can also claim the city’s first CBD “mocktail”. Mellow Beets is a raw juice blend of beet, carrot, apple, and ginger balanced by a cannabis-infused, blood orange soda.

Where to go with those who seek and savor something secret

Sacred Palm | 457 N High Street

High Street has plenty of hotspots, but few are as elusive as the one in the basement of Mikey’s Late Night Slice in the Short North. Cleverly concealed by an old walk-in cooler beyond repair is a secret tiki bar. Tropical tropes set the tone for the tiny oasis illuminated in pink and purple. Umbrella drinks served in ceramic tumblers complete the immersive, island-inspired experience.

The Light of Seven Matchsticks | 5601 N High Street

The unmarked entrance for the underground establishment beneath Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza is entirely on-brand for the quaint and quirky bar about the size of a box car. Wes Anderson himself would be hard-pressed to improve on the iconoclastic niche whose namesake is the fictitious tome featured in his film, Moonrise Kingdom. Even the bar’s select menu is a secret.

Where to settle a bet with friends who like to keep score

Columbus Axe Throwing · 560 S High Street

Channel your inner lumberjack with a sport more dangerous than darts, but still slightly safer than jousting. Few seasonal frustrations and family feuds can’t be settled by a few rounds of hurling a lethal hunk of steel at a wooden target. Even amateurs will leave better prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Ash & Em’s smart “starters” and smashed burgers are equally sharp.

Photo: Megan Leigh Barnard

Pins Mechanical · 141 N 4th Street and 6558 Riverside Drive

Duckpin bowling, pinball, and ping pong dominate this novel destination for kinetic entertainment, now with an additional location in Dublin. Start with paddles, a little flipper action, or foosball as an appetizer. The diminutive dimensions of duckpin make it the perfect scale for kids of all ages, with adults-only hours after 8 p.m. Rotating food trucks keep the menu fresh.

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Arts & Culture

(614) Movie Club: New Jon Stewart feature, Episode V Beer Tasting, and timely documentaries

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(614) Movie Club. It’s OK to talk about it. 

Every Monday at (614) we’ll be here to update you on virtual and physical screenings that are being offered by the businesses and organizations that make Columbus such a special cinema city. Read below for this week’s streams and showtimes.

NOW SHOWING AT GRANDVIEW THEATER

Jaws

The original Jaws will continue to show at Grandview theater after a July 4 weekend beer tasting. Fitting, right? Watching this might be what it takes to keep you away from the beach for the rest of the summer.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Jurassic Park

More Steven Spielberg horror on the big screen. Again, if you missed the beer tasting, you’ll have a few more shots this week at catching some dino-roaring action on the big screen.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

One of the most popular picks for best Star Wars film of all time, the beer tasting comes during a year when the fifth episode is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Enjoy a 10-round beer tasting, free pint glass, raffle prizes, and a very entertaining presentation.

  • Showing: July 11 (3 and 9 p.m.) and 12 (5 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW SHOWING AT STUDIO 35

Irresistible 

A local town battling big-party politics, written and directed by Jon Stewart and starring Steve Carrell? Looks great on paper, plays out even better on screen. Rose Byrne is outright ridiculous in this one. Enjoy a 2020 release in an actual movie theater with grade-A recliners.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4:30, 7, and 9:30 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 104 min.

Jurassic Park

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 and 7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Jaws

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (9:45 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

See above.

  • Showing: July 11 (noon and 5:30 p.m.) and 12 (2 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT THE WEX

Cincinnati Goddam

A timely documentary that followed the Black Lives Matter movement around 2013, this film focuses on the corruption within the Cincinnati Police Department, whose force was responsible for killing a total of 15 black men between 1995 and 2001. 

  • Closes: July 9
  • Cost: Free
  • Release: 2015
  • Runtime: 103 min.

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most prolific singers of all time. Although a lot of her life has been studied, this documentary goes deeper with some never-before-seen footage and interviews from greats such as Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 90 min.

The Last Tree

A coming-of-age journey that follows a Black teenager trying to find his identity in the UK and beyond. The movie was the winner of the World Dramatic Competition at Sundance and Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer awards at the British Independent Film Awards.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 98 min.

Denise Ho - Becoming the Song

Another unfortunately timely documentary, Denise Ho follows the personal journey of the openly gay singer from pop icon to human rights activist. What emerged out of the Umbrella Movement of 2014 saw Ho take to the streets in the midst of the Hong Kong revolution in 2019.

  • Closes: July 30
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 83 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT GFC

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly

Ai Weiwei, China's most famous artist, transforms Alcatraz Island prison into an astonishing expression of socially-engaged art focused on the unjustly incarcerated. Known-whistleblower Chelsea Manning makes an appearance. 

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 78 min.

We Are Little Zombies

If eccentric Japanese cinema is your forte, you’ll want to check out We Are Little Zombies. A messy triumph of tragedy, comedy, music, social criticism, and teenage angst, watch what four teenagers do when they find out their parents are being turned into dust.

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: N/A
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 120 min.
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Where to get your Red, White & BOOM on this July 4th

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It was a bummer to hear that Red, White & BOOM would be canceled and changed to a virtual format for 2020. However, that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating in a somewhat traditional sense. Even with one of the biggest fireworks celebrations put on hold, there’s still plenty to do around Columbus, fireworks or no fireworks.

We here at (614) know that given the modern-day circumstances, people have the choice to celebrate in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Below you can find three ways to celebrate–Local 4th of July events; Red, White & BOOM alternatives; and places where you can legally celebrate yourself.

THINGS TO DO ON JULY 4TH

Fourth of July Fireworks

West Jefferson July 4th Streetfest

When: July 4 at 10 p.m.

Where: Watch from home

Obetz Fireworks

When: July 4

Where: Watch from home

Fourth of July Activities

Neighborhood Bike Brigade

When: Various start times

Where: Dublin neighborhoods

Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby

When: June 26 through July 4

Where: Any Dublin pond

Fourth of July Parades

Front Yard Parade in the Round

When: July 4 at 6 until 9 p.m.

Where: Your front yard

2020 Cruisin’ On The 4th of July

When: July 4 at noon

Where: Northbridge Ln., Columbus, OH 43235

New Albany 4th of July Parade & Festival

When: July 4 at 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Where: Church of the Resurrection, 6300 E Dublin Granville Rd., New Albany, OH 43054

Other Fourth of July Events

Zoombezi Bay Family Movie Night featuring The Goonies

When: July 3 from 6 until 11 p.m.

Where: Zoombezi Bay, 10101 Riverside Dr., Powell, OH 43065

HOW TO CELEBRATE WITH RED, WHITE & BOOM

Red, White & BOOM was gearing up for its 40th anniversary before COVID-19 shut the mass gathering down. However, the beloved Columbus fireworks show will be hosting a virtual event over the first four days of July. The virtual campaign will air on NBC4.

Here are some of the events that will take place:

  • Highlighting the best Red, White & BOOM stories
  • Stories from local veterans inducted into the Ford Oval of Honor
  • Broadcasting the best Red, White & BOOM fireworks over the show’s 39-year history
  • Looking back on the tradition of parades honoring veterans

HOW TO TAKE CELEBRATING INTO YOUR OWN HANDS

We here at (614) also know that setting off fireworks yourself is illegal. We also know that buying them within the state is legal (OK?).

So here is a list of places around Columbus you can buy fireworks from. What you do from there is up to you, but we advise you to stay within the law:

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Zoo Babies! We’ve got the photo cuteness

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Start the ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, Columbus, because we’ve got Zoo baby pics!

A Masai giraffe calf, a sea lion pup, two red panda cubs, and a siamang (gibbon) baby—all recent births at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for these endangered species. It’s a show of commitment from the organization how they were able to nurture these species populations at-risk for extinction and bring new generations of them into the world. 

“We are extremely proud to welcome these babies as they all represent hope for the future of species that are increasingly facing challenges in their native ranges,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO, Tom Stalf. In the press release, Stalf detailed how special these births are as the threatened species received around-the-clock, top-quality care by the Animal Care staff over the three-month-closure of the Zoo, due to COVID-19. 

OK, no more waiting—get your fill of cuteness below with these Zoo baby pics!

Masai Giraffe Calf

“A Masai giraffe calf was born on June 28, 2020, at 2:29 p.m. to mother, Zuri, in a behind-the-scenes barn of the Zoo’s Heart of Africa region.”

Sea lion Pup

“During the early morning hours of June 25, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed the first sea lion pup ever to be born at the facility!”

Two Red Panda Cubs

“Two healthy red panda cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a welcomed addition to this endangered species.”

Siamang (Gibbon) baby

“On the morning of May 29, 2020, the Australia and Islands region welcomed a baby siamang. Mom, Olga, is being very attentive to her little one, whose sex and name have not yet been determined.”

Get information about conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium here.

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