Whether its the decor, the drinks, or the dress of the employees, themed bars & restaurants have a way of giving us a fully-immersive escape, taking us to places around the world in our own backyards. Here are a few of our favorite locations in Columbus that offer this kind of experience, and what you can expect from a trip there.
Sam Howizit via Flickr
Grass Skirt Tiki Room
Grab you Hawaiian shirt & take a trip to the tropics at Downtown’s Grass Skirt Tiki Room, a joint that truly provides a getaway experience. The facility is drenched in the campy, pop Polynesian theme, with island music on the speakers and décor like thatched walls, lantern lights, a volcano, tikis, leis, skulls, mermaids, and surfboards everywhere in sight. The beverages on Grass Skirt’s drink menu are no different, with over 60 rums from around the world, plus boozy tropical cocktails that are served in giant skulls & tiki mugs, bubbling with dry ice vapor or topped with flames. Guests can soak up the goodness with seafood, tacos, burgers, and other comfort eats. More info >>
Pins Mechanical Co.
While Pins Mechanical Co. has gained popularity for its duckpin bowling, pinball machines, and other interactive games, the bar also stands out for its overarching theming. Pins mixes modern with industrial, featuring gigantic spaces both indoors and on its patio, with elements like unfinished wood, concrete, brick, subway tiles, corrugated metal, and exposed beams & ceilings throughout. Even the employees of Pins are suited to the industry theme, all wearing a variation of the traditional blue auto mechanic button-up as a uniform. On tap at Pins, you’ll find a wide range of craft beer from local sources & beyond, cocktails, and boozy punch to fuel the friendly competition. More info >>
Prost! Oktoberfest happens all year at Grandview’s Hofbrauhaus Columbus. Just like the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich, the Columbus restaurant takes the traditional German beer hall form, with high ceilings, long wooden tables & benches, lantern lights, decorative fermentation tanks, plus an in-house brewery. Guests to the location can dine on classics like pretzles & beer cheese, brats, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and cold bier in liter-sized steins, all served by waitresses in traditional Bavarian barmaid dresses. In addition to nonstop polka music playing during regular restaurant hours, Hofbrahaus frequently hosts live music, dancing, stein-holding contests, keg-tapping parties, and other entertainment. More info >>
Eat, Purr, Love
This entry on our list is for those who want a side of snuggles with their snacks. The Eat, Purr, Love Cat Café is the first & only of its kind in Columbus, offering guests the chance to munch on locally-made baked goods & coffee in the company of dozens of friendly kitties. This location partners with the Capital Area Humane Society to allow a number of adoptable cats to roam the space and interact with customers as they eat, play board games, and relax on cozy cushions & seating. More info >>
Old North Arcade
Although Columbus boasts several spectacular barcades, the Old North Arcade takes the cake as our all-time favorite. Nestled just between OSU campus & Clintonville, the space features multiple rooms of gaming with consoles, pinball machines, skee ball, air hockey & foosball tables, and nearly 60 vintage and new school arcade games ranging from Tron to DDR. Outside is a large patio, which features a projector screen, cornhole, Twister, and giant Jenga. The bar’s drink menu maintains the motif with a variety of over 25 gaming-themed cocktails & shooters, and craft beers on tap. More info »
Now with a whopping seven locations around the city, the Columbus-born Local Cantina offers the vibrant, energetic, yet casual experience of an authentic Mexican dive bar. These eateries are all plastered in bright color, with a mishmash of themed décor like license plates, colorful string lights, skeletons, and sombreros adorning every surface of the walls & hanging from the ceilings. There’s always something interesting for guests to observe as they munch fare like tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos. Cantina’s drink menu is also a perfect fit with the Mexican dive theme, with nearly 10 Margarita varieties, tequila-based cocktails, and a wide selection of local craft brew. More info >>