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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

Virtual Experiences bring culture to our couch

614Now

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Now that we're all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we could use some entertainment beyond hours of Netflix bingeing. And yes, Carole probably did it*

WOSU Public Media has come to the rescue by putting together a list of local, virtual experiences to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your bunker. Here's a list of just a few upcoming events ranging from music to the arts.

Sunday, March 29
Columbus Symphony’s Russian Winter Festival – The Columbus Symphony broadcasts its Russian Winter Festival ll concert, featuring masterpieces by Prokofiev, Borodin, Rimski-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky at 1 p.m. on Classical 101.

Columbus Goes Live – The Cyber Festival –  A virtual entertainment experience streaming across different pages to support local performers who are directly impacted by the critical shutdowns of venues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join in and make history by supporting your favorite bands, comedians and performers in the Columbus area.

Why not a virtual bar?

Brewdog is even getting in on the act with its upcoming, Brewdog Online Bar. They plan to "open" for business at 6pm on Friday, March 27th. The bar plans to feature live beer tastings with our co-founders James and Martin and other beer experts, homebrew masterclasses, live music & comedy and more.

Brewdog will be sharing further details soon and a complete schedule of the events on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

*Carole, as in this Carole.

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Things To Do

8 things to do this week that don’t involve human contact

614now Staff

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It is a strange time to be alive, Columbus. With the concerns and cases of coronavirus on the rise, you may be feeling worried, fearful, and/or unsure of what to do.

In addition to washing your hands to protect you from the virus, you may want to consider being more of an inside person this week. To curb cabin fever, consider these eight activities to keep you occupied indoors.

Plan a getaway

Once the threat of coronavirus is over, which Gov. Mike DeWine assured would happen in yesterday's address, you'll be ready to get the hell out of Columbus. Consider planning a trip to one of the Scarlet Oaks cabins, Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Yellowsprings, or the birthplace of bourbon!

Schedule a whacky road trip

Already have a vacation on the books and worked into your budget? No problem! Opt for a cheaper, shorter adventure with one of the destinations highlighted in our Worth The Drive series: Buckeye Express Diner in Bellville, Kewpee Hamburgers in Lima, Cincinnati's Hathaway's Diner, Dietsch Brothers chocolate in Findlay, and Waldo’s G&R Tavern.

Test your Columbus knowledge

You're sick of all your board games and you hate the idea of spending another weekend in front of the tube. Liven up your entertainment with Columbus trivia! What is the hottest month on average? What is Hilliard's median household income? What year did the Kahiki close? See how well you know your fine city.

Binge local podcasts

Not only do podcasts entertain, inform, and engage you, they're also great to binge while multitasking. Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful… but definitely possible. Be sure to support local podcasters! We're sure you can find something that'll pique your interest in the list below.

Get hooked on knitting

What better time to dive into your hobby than a worldwide viral outbreak? And though cold weather is almost completely behind us, it's never too early to get a jumpstart on those Christmas gifts. Click the button below to learn more about where to find materials and resources.

Explore the pasta-bilities of a home-cooked meal

You’re probably hungry after all that knitting. Flex on the fam by whipping up a delectable home-cooked Italian meal. You'll have to slip out of the house to grab your groceries from famed local market Carfagna’s, but trust us, it'll be worth it.

Get hyped for Ohio State Buckeyes 2020-21 season

With no spring game to rev your engine pre-season, you may be feeling a Buckeyes football void right about now. To help plug it until the opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 5, check out old Ohio State hype videos below. O-H!

Read the latest issue of (614) Magazine

The physical copies of the March issue of (614) Magazine are flying off the racks, but you don't have to go out into the world to read it. To learn more about the Columbus esport revolution, the latest food and drink news, and other updates in the community, click the button below to read the digital issue.

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Things To Do

Listen Local: 10 Columbus podcasts to binge

Regina Fox

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The thing with binging TV is that you have to be using two senses at once to be engaged: sight and hearing. That really cuts down on the possibilities of getting other things done simultaneously. But, podcasts on the other hand require only one sense—hearing—so the productivity possibilities are exponentially greater.

Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful... but definitely possible.

That, plus the power of spoken word has the ability to inform, entertain, and inspire you unlike any other media.

Now that we've presented a great case for podcasts, consider subscribing to one made right here in Columbus.

The Rock Doc Chronicles

Interviews, Current Events, Entertainment

Being the on-call doctor to some of your favorite musical acts comes with a lot of stories. Dr Randy Sharma (@rockdocohio) sits down with some of his famous patients to discuss whatever comes to mind.

Ohio v. The World

Culture, History, Places & Travel

An Ohio History podcast, hosted by Alex Hastie.

Rogue Squadron Podcast

Culture, Entertainment, Hobbies

Star Wars Comedy, craft beer, gaming, and more. It’s the rowdiest podcast in the galaxy!

Momcast

Culture, Entertainment, Self-Help

Columbus, Ohio moms Mindy Drayer, Mikaela Hunt, and Stacy McKay discuss everything relating to being moms and parenting on weekly installments of the Momcast.

Columbus' Entrepreneurs' Podcast

Business, Entrepreneur

Columbus Entrepreneurs’ Podcast is primarily for members of the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). The stories are inspiring and focus on core principles of EO, including speaking from experience instead of advice giving, building peer learning experiences, and focusing on the top and bottom 5% of our lives.

Chatimals

Entertainment, Hobbies

Chatimals is the nature podcast where information meets imagination. Each episode covers one kind of animal with an eye out for all the goofy, surprising animal facts.

The Sounds of Bustown

Culture, Entertainment, Music

A bi-weekly podcast featuring interviews about the musical creation process with people in the music scene in Columbus, OH.

Thrive and Connect

Culture, Self-Help

How to live your life in a more genuine, simpler manner and develop abundance in all aspects – yourself, family & friends, and business relationships.

Columbus! Something New

Culture, Entertainment, Places & Travel

Why do we do what we do? Why does C!SN exist?

  • To introduce listeners to local entrepreneurs and big thinkers
  • To be a conduit between community and events, museums, and new experiences
  • To be a value to entrepreneurs as we broadcast them to the world
  • To be a value to listeners as we expand their world and bring them new ideas

The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Business, Technology

Each episode is a closed topic and an open forum – the goal is for listeners to enjoy listening to Michael and Tim share their thoughts and experiences and hopefully take away something to try at work the next day.

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