You're moving from LA to where?

{Author's Note: This has been updated as of 12/18/07 5-5-09... many a few things a lot of stuff has changed.}

Dear Amber,

My friend Lacey shared with me that you are moving have moved from Los Angeles to Columbus, OH. (I put OH after Columbus as we are not cool enough just to be known as just Columbus.) I do not know why Lacey would suggest me as your virtual tour guide except that once I gave her directions on how to get to the Columbus Zoo. She ended up in OrlandoLos Angeles so I’m not sure what that says about me.

There are only two reasons to move to Columbus: love or lust. You are from LA so I can only assume you are a Scientologist on a secret mission to find out what makes the Eastern Mid-Westerns tick. We have three motivations in Columbus: food, drink and fun. I have asked my friends to help me compile a list of places to go and things to do in Columbus. I had to ask my friends because all I know about Columbus involves drinking and I’d like to think there is more to this town than the bottom of a bottle.

I’m not good at categorizing so I’ll just roll with it:

Columbus actually has really good food. When you get off the plane or when you are pulled over for speeding as you drive into the city limits, take note of all the fat and happy people. So, here are some good eatins:

If you like Mexican, margaritas and patio dining:
Great for people watching and if you drink enough, great for people to watch you.
Estradas has closed, but has re-opened as the NEW B-Hamptons. See BARS.

If you like awesome raw fish:
Restaurant Japan
Authentic Japanese atmosphere without the drunken business men.
**AUTHORS NOTE** Sadly, Restaurant Japan is closed and has been replaced by Sher-E-Punjab Indian. They do not have raw fish and I have to assume that they cook their food.

As a replacement, let me suggest the Tropical Bistro. Columbus used to be home to an unbelievable Tiki Restaurant called The Kahiki. Somebody must have worn the bad luck necklace from the Brady Bunch into it because it was closed down and replaced by a CVS. The Kahiki was stripped and all the decorative goodies were lovingly stored in a warehouse. Six years later, a tornado passed through the warehouse, gathered up the scenic elements and into a strip mall where the decorations were randomly stuck to the walls of an old Chinese carryout. They then decided to open up a bistro there. The Tropical Bistro has one of the chef's from the Kahiki and a couple of the bartenders as well. It's not the Kahiki, but when your are thirsty, you’ll drink about anything. They still make the best Suffering Bastard. CLOSED

If you like raw fish and hanging out with people who think you have to pay a lot to eat raw fish:
Haiku Poetic Food & Art (Restaurant)
You order sushi
Gucci bag and Prada shoes
We don’t take checks here

If you like sushi and karaoke (which is actually authentic Japanese atmosphere)
Otani Restaurant & Sushi Bar
They have a sushi buffet for lunch and that scares the bejesus out of me.

If you like both Germans and German food:
Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus
Hmmmmmm… sausage! I suggest brining along an extra pair of Gludaclowsen so that you don’t have to worry about splitting your wunderflutag and exposing your heidegraben.

Here are some other suggestions that I would write about except that I’ve been kicked out of two and cannot pronounce the third without coughing up phlegm:
Milo’s Deli
Claddagh Irish Pub

Things To Do While Sober
This one was very tough for me. Luckily I had a number of friends who actually do things with their families outside of happy hour.

Inniswood Metro Garden
(This is word for word what Erik suggested) It’s a nice place to go with your family or take a romantic walk with your friend’s wife. It’s easy to navigate and lots to see. The last time I was there I saw a turtle, two snakes, and at least a half dozen frogs. They have a small nature preserve, nice gardens and some ponds, with interactives and signage for kids.

Highbanks Metro Park
They have a butterfly and hummingbird garden! If you have a cat and a cat leash you can take it on one of their three pet friendly paths. If you don't have a cat leash, thank God... I was worried there for a minute.

Bike Paths
I hear tell that bike riding can be a fun, invigorating, family building activity. I’ve listed the web site of the bike paths in Central Ohio so that we can both check it out.

The Drexel
The Drexel plays movies that make Al Gore cry. They also have a problem with their projectors as some films are black and white. Luckily, they run the words at the bottom of the screen.

The Arena Grand
The Arena Grand movie complex has big, comfy, red leather seats. Not sure if that is for comfort or easy clean up. I hear it is a great place for a first date except that the seats are too far apart for a clean “yawn, stretch and reach to arm over the shoulder” trick.

Things To Do While Not Sober
There are a lot of places to drink in Columbus. We’ve got ritzy places and we’ve got dive bars. We got places where a 24 year old idiot will hit on you, other places where a 42 year old idiot will hit on you and a few that I don’t go to. Here are a few of my favorite spots:

The R Bar (North of Campus and in the Arena District)
{The R Bar is now closed... I weep and weep again. This is the bar where we went to see the Small-of-the-Back-Girl and to go to Phase 3 and to cry when we all got laid off from COSI. Well, shit....}

B-Hamptons (awesome happy hour and good looking clientel)
I wept when I got the news.
B Hamptons has been re-born as Hampton's on King
Thurman Café (eat while you drink; try one of their world famous burgers)
Brazenhead Irish Pub (several locations, several beers on tap, several good looking people drinking at all hours of the day)
Char Bar (Check out the haunted piano in the basement. Use the chalkboards in the bathrooms to make fun of your friends.)
Byrne's Pub (Good music and Granddad’s pizza next door. Don’t ask for Guinness in a pitcher.)
The Round Bar (Look for the bartender who uses a scrunchie to flirt with the clientèle.) A fucking shame.

I must implore you to check out Skully’s 80’s dance night. We usually get drinks at one of the above mentioned locations until 10:30pm and then head over to Skully’s. Ladies get in free and dudes pay $4. We have had some really great times at Skully’s. At least that’s what it looks like in the photos that are e-mailed to me the next day.

Wear black. Take a friend.
Hopefully with re-open.

I hope this list helps. There are a ton of things I left out. My suggestion to you is that you look for The Other Paper. It’s a free, weekly newspaper, published on Thursday that lists all the concerts, venues, bars and events happening in Columbus for that week. Dave tells me there are some interesting personal ads in the back. Lacey and I actually had our photo posted in the Other Paper once. Check it out!

Good luck. Columbus is surprisingly a great place to live. And drink. {Author's note: And drink more.}


Anonymous said...

No mention of The Rack? I thought I knew you!

HolyJuan said...

The Rack? You want me to scare her out of town?

The Rack is a place you have to be tricked into going to the first time. After that you are scarred and it just doesn't matter.

BD in Ohio said...

Dude. Forgot Thurman's Cafe.

Andyman's Treehouse ain't a bad bar, either.

HolyJuan said...

Dude. It's under "Things to do when not sober"

I know it should probably be under restaurants, but last time I was there I was drunk.