Short North bar and restaurant closes following lawsuit; Owner responds

Jack McLaughlin

Julep has shuttered in the Short North.

According to owner Fadi Michael, Julep officially closed its doors last weekend. This follows a lawsuit filed against the business and Michael by Julep’s landlord in February of this year. 

According to Franklin County court records, an agreement was reached between both parties that Julep would vacate its home at 1014 N. High St. by June 30, and that the defendants would pay the landlord more than $69,000 in rent owed through June of 2023, in addition to over $6,000 in lawyer fees.

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Michael, a longtime Columbus restaurant owner, cited increasing violence in the Short North as a reason for declining sales at Julep. 

“With the violence going up, I talked to other businesses in the area, and we’re all in the boat. There’s been a decline in business across the board,” he said. “It’s such a shame, because the Short North is such a beautiful area. I call it home; I’ve spent a lot of my time and energy here.”

Michael said the beginning of 2020 was strong for Julep (which first opened in 2016), but by 2021, sales had already started to dip. 

In addition to the lawsuit, in late 2022, the Columbus City Council objected to the liquor license renewal for Julep and 11 other local businesses. The objection was sent to the Ohio Liquor Control Board, although an official ruling was never handed down from the board before Julep closed. The council’s objection cited more than 90 calls for police in the last several years, including liquor issues, violence and five overdoses. 

Michael disagreed with many of the issues cited by the Council’s objection. Among other items, he said neither he nor his managers were aware of any overdoses that occurred on the premises.

While Julep has closed, Michael said he might explore bringing the concept (or a similar one) back at some point. If this does happen, he said it will likely be in one of the city’s surrounding suburbs rather than the Short North or another location in Columbus proper.

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