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HELP WANTED! (NHL Entry Draft Post)

Monday, March 12, 2007
Before I go to curl back up in bed after coming down with a bit of "teh snibbles" (that and a very dry throat), I wanted to ask my Columbus readers if they would like to help me out with a part or two on my NHL Draft post.

I'm looking for some firsthand accounts of what some of the many restaurants, bars, clubs, and other places both in the Arena District and Easton Town Center are like. Me just giving very non-specific details about some of the places (such as Gordan's) would just not do them justice, and since I don't have the time (and definitely not the money) to go gallivanting around and experiencing some of these places for myself, what better way to get some additional commentary about what to do around Columbus than by asking ... well ... other Columbus-ers?

So feel free to respond to this post or the draft post with some detailed or in-depth impressions about any place in particular you feel is worth mentioning in either place. Or even a place that may not be in these two areas, be it in the Short North, around OSU campus, or elsewhere. I'll be sure to give credit to all who help me out!


  • At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    At Easton, I would recommend Fado. It's an Irish pub with some great traditional and non-traditional Irish food as well as great draught beer (of course). I would recommend their fish-n-chips. I also really like something I call the Irish burrito. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name, but it's basically a potato cake that's wrapped around various ingredients, much like a burrito. I like the chicken w/ Jack Daniels sauce, but there's 3 or 4 more varieties. There's also a porch area where you can eat, drink and people watch. They typically have live music on Fri and Sat nights. It's next to PF Changs on the southeast corner of the shopping area.

  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    The dish at Fado our Anon. friend is thinking of is called a Boxty, and it is quite good.

    Next tip is to ignore any restaurant reviews or guides that mention smoking indoors - the city has been Smoke Free for the past year. Sorry, cig-hounds.

    However, if you're in town from the Draft and want to have an absolutely amazing experience during the day without going too far from the Arena, go no further than the North Market, just up Spruce Street from the Arena. Not only is there a staggering amount of fresh, delicious food, the market vendors have lots of fun, interesting stuff, at a surprisingly decent price for downtown. A lunch of a truly massive Reuben sandwhich and potato salad, bubble tea, and some Thai Chili ice cream from over at Jeni's to finish it off will run you less than $12, and that's a relatively basic combination there!

    Also, anyone with a taste towards fire-eating should take a look at CaJohn's Flavor and Fire on the West wall of the first level - ask about their 8 million scovel "Z" sauce.

    If you're more of a finer dining type, I strongly suggest walking up Nationwide Blvd. to High Street, and hanging a left. Within a block you'll be in front of Martini's,
    quite possibly the finest Italian place in town. Try the Chicken Saltimboca, and if you're in the mood for an actual Martini, they do a fairly decent one.

    If you're willing to take a little bit of a hike and looking for something a little lower-key, go north along High Street into the Short North to Mac's Cafe (693 N High St). A Scot's bar in a fairly plain storefront, you'll find awesome chips, burgers, various bar foods, and an eye-popping selection of beer, whiskey, and other liqour. Even better, they're open from just before lunchtime until 2:30 in the morning every night, though food orders are cut off at about 1:30.

    A personal favorite if I'm downtown around midnight.

    If you're in the mood to get a little bit of music in at night, try hitting Carabar over on Parson's Avenue (get a cab), Skully's, Surly Girl Saloon, or the upstairs room at the St. James Tavern, all of which host a lot of good bands, many of them local, on the weekend.

    You may think "Gee, all this guy does is go to concerts and drink!" and you wouldn't be far off, but that doesn't mean I don't have a few other suggestions for you first time visitors to our fair city.

    For example, try making the time to check out the beautiful and historic German Village district. Not only is it home to some really awesome places to eat, it's also home to quite a few jewlers, antique shops, and one of the largest book stores in the central Ohio area: The Book Loft.

    COSI, the Central Ohio Museum of Science and Industry, is a unique and fun place to visit for both kids and parents, and a reasonable distance by bus, car, or cab from the Arena District and most downtown hotels.

    Finally, given that it'll be summer when everyone's out to visit, there's far worse ways to spend a day before you leave at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a bit north of Columbus proper, but well worth the trip, particularly now that the Zoo includes the former Wyandot Lake waterpark, currently under renovation for a grand opening this summer!

    This is just a small slice of what our city has to offer - if you're planning to make a vacation of the Draft, I strongly suggest giving yourself the better part of a week and taking the time to sample as much as you possibly can.

  • At 12:49 AM, Blogger Robert Hogan said…

    You should head down to the Arena District on a weekday night. I bet if you drop a hint or two about covering the draft and wanting to mention good places for out of towners to visit you might score some free drinks. I'm available if you need a wingman.

  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    I go to Easton primarily for Crate and Barrel (the only one in town), Trader Joe's (the better one in town), and to watch soccer at Fado. That can be pretty fun; fans of the various English teams gather early on weekend mornings to watch live games, but that will all be over for the summer by the time the Draft rolls around.

    Some spots to hit in Victorian Village/Short North (the area north of the Arena District, from High west to Neil, and Goodale north to Fifth):

    It's already been mentioned, but the Surly Girl, is probably my favorite bar in Columbus. Huge beer selection, good food, good mixed drinks, attracts a varied but generally unpretentious crowd.

    Its sister restaurant/bar, Betty's, is located closer to the Arena and is maybe a bit more restrained than the Surly Girl, but also has excellent food and drinks. They have a third restaurant, Tip Top Kitchen, opening downtown on Gay St some time in the next few months; it may be open by the Draft.

    The Northstar Cafe, also on High in the Short North, is a popular place for breakfast and lunch. Vegetarian friendly, emphasis on local products. The menu is limited, but the food is great.

    The MoJoe Lounge on the I-670 cap contains a Cup O'Joe coffeehouse and also a bar. It's a nice spot to hang out and people watch.

    The Coffee Table at High and Buttles is another local place for coffee, desserts and people-watching.

    The Thurber Village Center on Neil at Collins is just a couple blocks from the Arena, and has a Giant Eagle grocery and CVS for necessities. Also there is Spinelli's Deli, which has awesome breakfast sandwiches. Next door, Oodles is a prototype of what they hope will become a chain of fast Asian food outlets. The food there is a bit hit and miss, but the pho is pretty good.

    Keep in mind that anything and everything around the Short North/Vic Village is going to be packed the weekend of the draft because of Comfest, which will be going on in Goodale Park Friday-Sunday. This is a big free music/arts festival that takes place every year. It tends towards the hippie-ish side of things. There are lots of different food vendors there, beer in big plastic mugs, lots of arts and crafts vendors, lots of political content, mostly local bands, everything from folk to jazz to hip-hop. It's good fun, but attracts big crowds.

    Also, they generally do the Gay Pride Parade during the Saturday afternoon of Comfest. This will block off much of High Street on Saturday afternoon if it is indeed happening that weekend, and also draws pretty big crowds into the area.

    It will be a busy weekend in downtown Columbus and nearby neighborhoods...should be no shortage of stuff to do and see for folks coming in for the draft

  • At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    I'm going to add this as a separate comment...if you're downtown for the draft and don't want to deal with the crowds in the Short North, Grandview Heights is close by and has some decent spots. It's a separate suburb just west of Victorian Village (across SR 315 and the Olentangy River).

    There's a little shopping strip at First and Northwest in Grandview that contains Marshall's, which has your basic burgers and fries (excellent burgers) and a very generous happy hour (dollar domestics, 3PM - 9PM!). There is also a location of the Old Bag of Nails Pub in the same strip. It's a basic semi-faux-Irish pub, good fish & chips. I just recently discovered the new Luck Brothers Coffee next to OBN.

    The main shopping/entertainment strip in Grandview runs along Grandview Ave. from Fifth down to about First. Along that strip you'll find an Aladdin's, Shoku if you want to spend a little more for some excellent sushi, a Caribou Coffee, Figlio and Vino Vino for gourmet pizza and wine respectively, Stauf's, which is the premier coffee roaster in town (they also own the Cup O' Joe chain), a Drexel Theatre location, and several other bars and restaurants, along with some shops. It's a bit more mainstream than what you'll find in the Short North. And it should definitely be less crowded that weekend.

  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Steve J said…

    My favorite spot to eat/grab a drink before a game is Barley's ( right across the parking lot from North Market toward High Street.
    They've got great appetizers from the must-have Sauerkraut balls to the Bucket o' Mussels and a wide variety of main dishes (The Kobe beef burger and Barley's pot roast are a couple of my favorites).
    Then there's the beer. A few year-round staples and some seasonal brews make for a good selection of some really great micro-brew.

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