The hot pink neon sign by Lawbird’s window reads “NOT GOVERNED BY REASON.” The logo on the menu cheekily warns you to “leave your bullshit at the door.” The space inside is light, bright, and funky, a reflection of owners Annie and Luke Pierce’s home. In fact, everything about the place is a reflection of the Pierces’ taste in drinks, food, and entertaining—and the result, so far, has been a success.
The Pierces opened Lawbird, their first bar, in early November. Instagram is their main mode of communication and the primary way the bar has attracted clientele, although word of mouth has also been a driver, especially among older guests.
”Most nights, you look around and there’s people of all generations, which is really, really cool in this city,” Luke notes.
“I don’t think there are a ton of bars that get that big of a spread,” Annie adds. “Restaurants, of course. But I don’t think I’ve worked in a bar that draws this broad of a crowd.”
Luke and Annie grew up in the Columbus suburbs and have spent their careers in the restaurant and bar industry. Annie was involved with Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition in London, England for years, and won in 2017—the first woman, and the first bartender from a tertiary market, to take the top honor.
They met six years ago, when Luke was selling wine for a local distributor and Annie was working in a restaurant. They knew they would eventually have a place of their own: Annie always joked, “we’re not switching jobs or industries any time soon, so we might as well be doing it for ourselves.”
After two years of conceptualizing and planning, they describe the final result as a direct reflection of how they like to eat, drink, host, and share. When they talk, it’s clear that even though Lawbird is in its first few weeks of getting off the ground, they already have their eye on the future.
“We have an absolutely phenomenal team working with us, but we knew the first concept had to be executable within our means, on a shoestring budget,” Annie explains. “Then, as we grow, we can tackle more diverse things.”
Lawbird is known for unique wine selections as well as for high-quality cocktails. “We just love wine, the diverseness of it,” Luke said. “It was something we felt Columbus needed as well—there are a lot of tired wine lists, I think, in Columbus.”
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“A lot of wine programs are based around restaurants,” Annie adds. “So it’s things you’ve seen before, and it becomes kind of a closed loop. We wanted to create a space where you didn’t have to eat to enjoy wine. It’s kind of a comfortable, casual space that de-stigmatizes and de-mystifies. Not everything is made to be paired with something.”
The list ranges from easily quaffable reds, to orange wines, to high-acid whites and sake—again, the types that the Pierces enjoy in their everyday life.
“Most of the wines on our list are on the natural spectrum somewhere,” Luke said. “The grapes might be grown organically or biodynamically, some might have natural fining or filtration, some might do native yeast. Not a lot of other places do that around town.”
Annie curates the cocktail list. Rather than laundry-list every single ingredient, the menu highlights main flavors and allergens, then gives a saucy “feels like” descriptor. “We want the cocktails to be drinkable, but quirky and fun. We want to challenge people a little.”
Lawbird also carries a handful of beers, mostly Ohio- brewed. But the Pierces admit they’re not the destination for beer on South High Street, with neighboring establishments already dominating the beer scene.
“One of the most surprising elements coming out of our space is that the food is really, really good,” Annie says. Their favorite snacks and shareables, like soft-cooked eggs with house-made mayo, can be enjoyed singly or combined for a larger, nontraditional, dining experience. The menu is “veg- centric” (but not entirely vegetarian), with both hearty and lean offerings.
Lawbird even has a small retail program, offering select 3-bottle curated wine packages for holidays or everyday. “It’s super fun for us, because it extends our nerdiness,” Annie laughs.
One of the things the Pierces enjoy most is sharing insights, personal knowledge, and favorite products with their guests and staff, as well as educating about things like orange wine.
And their commitment to their team is clear. “Annie and I have made this our profession, and we really want our staff to be able to treat this as a profession as well,” Luke says. “We have staff who are serious about constantly learning.”
“We serve people, not food and drink,” Annie adds.
The sign in the window may suggest otherwise, but the Pierces clearly have left no detail to chance where the success of Lawbird is concerned.
Lawbird is located at 740 S. High St. View menus and learn more at lawbirdbar.com