taverns, breweries, great pubs in columbus?
I'll be visiting Columbus in a week or so and was curious about the brewing scene. Can anyone recommend a few outstanding pubs/taverns/microbreweries in or around Columbus? Any taps I should keep an eye out for when I'm in town?
As far as quality of beer goes, the premier brewpub in town is definitely Barley's. Their flagship location is downtown, but there is one just a couple miles west called Barley's Smokehouse that I think has slightly better food. The beer is great at both. Personal favorite is the Imperial Stout, might be out of season now, but try it if they have some. I know they also do "Firkin Friday's" at the Smokehouse location...probably at the downtown one too. They tap a firkin of young beer that was made that week...when it's gone it's gone. Some of these have proved to be truly unique and delicious over the years.
Columbus Brewing Company (CBC to locals) is just west of downtown and also makes some pretty good beer. My personal favorite there is the Columbus Pale Ale (CPA) which you can also buy in local stores, and find on tap at some other bars. Haven't eaten here in a while, but I always remember the food being quite good. http://www.columbusbrewing.com/ - not much of a website
The other local brewpub of note is called The Elevator. Also located downtown, this place has a wide selection of their own brews. Of the three, I probably like Elevator's beers the least, not because they're bad, just because I find alot of them seem to be brewed to appear to the widest variety of patrons making them a bit lacking in flavor. I have had some very good beers here over the years, they're just a little inconsistent. I've never really been impressed with the food here other than the bar specials they run though. The menu is in dire need of simplification. That being said, this place truly has one of the most gorgeous bars in the city. Not just the building it's in, which was a pool hall (and rumored brothel) back in the 1800's, but also the decor and the physical bar itself. The backbar is one huge mahogany log that was split down the middle...you can see how the woodgrain on one side of the bar matches the other. There are also cool little things you only only find in old buildings like the tile floor and the gutter that runs runs along the foot of the bar that was used to catch tobacco spit. There's even a little spigot down at one end where the water used to rinse out the gutter ran from. http://www.elevatorbrewing.com/
Other good bars for beer hounds are the St. James Tavern just north of downtown (dive, but friendly crowd and good selection of drafts and bottles), The Surly Girl in the Short North has a great selection of drafts (always at least one I've never heard of), but not the best service, and on the north end of the Short North is a The Rossi, which is a great little gastropub. Not the best beer selection, but it's a really cool bar with exceptional food. They have Hoegaarden on tap, and it's the only place in town worth ordering a Mojito. Tough to go wrong on the menu at The Rossi, but the burger and pizzas are standouts. Make sure to take a look at the specials board too though. Not in the beer vein, but also downtown is The Flatiron. They pour some of the most well made cocktails in the city (if you're a fan of the classic Martini, try one here) and the Southern inspired food is wonderful. I like the oyster po'boy with fries with an order of bread pudding for dessert.