Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Columbus nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Columbus Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

10 Barcelona
You can come for the extensive menu of tapas and the equally lengthy list of wines to pair with your selections. You can also come to people watch, as this well established favorite draws a crowd of trendy locals for both lunch and dinner. Then there's the live music, happening several nights a week. If you're lucky enough to grab a table on the second or fourth Friday of any given month, you're in for a real treat. Live jazz, specialty mixed drinks and a late night bar menu make Barcelona a top-notch way to cap off a day spent exploring the German Village. (614-443-3699)

9 Columbus Brewing Company
Whether you like your beer light or dark or somewhere between, the brew masters at the Columbus Brewing Company serve up pale, golden, nut brown and apricot ales, a wheat beer and a porter based on an 1859 recipe, in short, a drink to compliment any meal. A great Happy Hour stop that can spill over into dinner and late night. (614-464-2739)

8 Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
It's easy to spot this wonderful bar thanks to its turn-of-the-century, multicolored Art Deco elevator façade. Inside, the ornate ceilings, tile floors and polished banquettes add a sense of nostalgia as patrons sip lagers and ales brewed on the premises. While finer dining occurs in the back, with patrons enjoying house specialties such as jambalaya, steak frites and pan-seared walleye, a rowdier crowd congregates at the front, enjoying house brews such as Procrastinator Dopplebock (a dark lager that makes you want to put everything else off until tomorrow). (614-228-0500)

7 Buffalo Wild Wings
Great bar that serves up delicious chicken wings and drumsticks spun in 14 signature sauces ranging from sweet and spicy to "blazin." Pool tables draw heated competition, and large-screen televisions play the biggest sports events of the day. A massive bulletin board at the entrance announces upcoming sports events being showcased. (614-221-4293)

6 Barley's Brewing Company
Barley's relaxed atmosphere makes everyone feel at home whether it is their first visit or their fiftieth. One of Columbus' premier brewing spots located in the arts capital of the Short North neighborhood, Barley's serves a full lunch and dinner menu, complete with creative daily specials. The real star is the terrific handcrafted beer selection. Their own quality ales are served with as much care and pride as befits their time-honored brewing process. (614-228-2537)

5 Martini's Italian Bistro
A place to sit may be difficult to come by at this oft crowded Short North bar where people wait for a table or simply drop in to try one of 18 martinis. Concoctions include traditional offerings and specialties such as the chocolate martini made with Godiva liqueur or the signature Italian mojito made with Effen vodka housemade basil syrup and fresh lime. The extensive menu includes a terrific selection of desserts and wines. (614-224-8259)

4 Oldfields on High
A quirky exterior gives way to a cozy neighborhood bar/performance space that packs in a crowd virtually every night of the week. Reasonably priced drinks are one draw, the other is a revolving roster of local, regional and nationally recognized bands that play anything from alternative rock to hip-hop, jazz to salsa. The stage is small, allowing the audience to get close to the music. Come early to grab a good spot. (614-784-0477)

3 Tommy Keegans
This cozy neighborhood spot has been popular with locals for more than a decade, especially on the weekends, when the line up of bands really packs in the college set. If you are a soccer fan, this is the place to take in the championships. Dark and comfortable, the bar also attracts a sizable crowd of young professionals during happy hours, so if you're looking for a laid-back hideaway to enjoy a couple of drinks after work, Tommy Keegans is a great choice. (614-221-9444)

2 Thirsty Ear Tavern
Thirsty Ear, with its abundance of music posters, has a nostalgic feeling and focuses on good, live music. Blues jams, open mic nights, and live bands are regular draws. Friendly ambience and service are a boon, and you'll also find beers from lightest lager to darkest stout, along with a knowledgeable staff to help you choose. (614-299-4987)

1 Club 185
There are institutions and then there is Club 185. A bar that has been around since the mid-50s, plenty of its patrons remember it as their dads' hangout after the neighborhood softball games and a great place to get an authentic Nathan's Coney Island hot dog. Today, the crowd gets a little bit younger in the happy hour zone (don't ask for specials, the prices are already plenty reasonable) but they still come in droves for the nostalgic atmosphere and the equally quaint fare. Where else can you get pigs in blankets and fried bologna sandwiches? (614-228-3904)


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Maps and Directions

1
Barcelona 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Wine Bar
Neighborhood: GERMAN VILLAGE
2
Columbus Brewing Company 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Brew Pub
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
3
4
Buffalo Wild Wings 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
5
Barley's Brewing Company 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Brew Pub
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
6
Martini's Italian Bistro 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
7
Oldfields on High 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Live Entertainment, Live Music
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
8
Tommy Keegans 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
9
Thirsty Ear Tavern 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Music
Neighborhood: GRANDVIEW
10
Club 185 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: GERMAN VILLAGE
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