Since graduation, I've been slaving away with the traditional post-collegiate job hunt, and it is just as horribly exhausting as it sounds. So yesterday when Boyfriend (his name is John Paul, but you can call him Boyfriend) got off work, we decided to take a break by checking off a few more Columbus-area bars.
We started out in the Short North at Village Idiot, a dive-y sort of bar with TVs, a pool table, and graffiti art decorating the concrete floor. Despite the spectacular happy hour specials--on Wednesday, it's "$3 everything" for all the liquor on the shelf, plus $2 and $3 beers til 9pm--the place was remarkably empty, with a couple guys playing pool and some older folks wandering in and out periodically. Boyfriend and I weren't quite sure what to make of the place. It looked like a dive bar, but as Boyfriend pointed out, it was entirely too clean to be a real dive bar. The cleanliness was just fine with me, but Boyfriend said, and I quote, "I like it when my feet stick to the floor when I walk in." Village Idiot is also right in the heart of what we're coming to know as Columbus's Hipsterville, a very dangerous area for two people from a preppy liberal arts college in New York who occasionally pop their collars in a non-ironic manner.
Despite the location, the bar was gloriously hipster-free and we enjoyed a couple Bell's Oberons, which Boyfriend claims are similar (but undoubtedly inferior) to his beloved Sam Adams Summer Ale. After that, we took advantage of the $3 everything deal and I asked the bartender to make me something unusual and girly, to counteract the testosterone that was radiating from Boyfriend's whiskey and coke. I ended up with some sort of vodka drink that tasted like a watermelon Jolly Rancher, which Bartender named "Something Special."
Next, we headed down the road to McFadden's, a two-story Irish (or "Irish," I''m not quite sure which) bar whose happy hour we were about half an hour too late to take advantage of. Instead we took them up on their drink offer of the day: $1 bombs. We sat on the second floor outdoor balcony, which gives you a nice view of the very uninteresting road and the other bar on the other side of the sidewalk. As for the bombs, well...turns out I had no idea what a bomb was. I thought it was like a sake bomb or a Jager bomb, where you drop a shot of something into a beer or whatever. Turns out I was wrong, and the bomb is just the thing you drop in and not the whole drink itself. So I got a weird little strawberry-flavored shot, and Boyfriend got a watermelon-flavored shot, and the waitress seemed very confused when we declined to order anything else to go with them. We did our sickeningly sweet shots and hurried on to the next location, the drink deals at McFadden's being not quite good enough to keep us around for long...maybe we'll be back for St. Patrick's Day.
I wanted to stop at Gooeyz, which was right next to McFadden's, because I'd seen them on the list of Wednesday happy hours. When we walked in, however, we discovered that Gooeyz wasn't so much a bar as it was a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant (really) that happened to serve like two kinds of beer and some sort of cheap wine. Pass.
So then we went to Taco Bell, about which I have nothing further to say due to the fact that if you've ever been to any Taco Bell ever, then you already know what it was like: a public restroom where also there is food.
Taco Bell must have put us in a faux Mexican mood, because from there we hopped over to Park Street Cantina in the Arena District. I was actually pretty impressed with the Cantina; we saw it and decided to stop on a whim, and it had a nice Tex-Mex feel with a huge bar and a lot of outdoor seating. We were about 45 minutes too early for the $5 pitcher drink special, but we ordered some Dos Equis and got the free chips and salsa that came with it. While we were enjoying our authentic Mexican beverages (Dos Equis is a personal favorite of mine; Boyfriend is from Texas so it always reminds me of visiting him there last summer), I happened to notice a man sitting at the other end of the large horseshoe-shaped bar who was wearing a fabulous half-cowboy, half-sunhat hat.
Now, probably everyone who has ever encountered me after about one-beer-and-a-half knows that sometimes I get into a mood where I like to collect things...by which I mean go up to people and ask if I can have some specific item that belongs to them. It's a very specialized skill I picked up in my youth (read: college) at frat parties, where the fraternity brothers often have really fun themed hats or whatever that I decide I want to wear, too. This is precisely what happened with poor Hat. To be fair, Hat's hat was pretty cool. It had a big blue bow-thing on it. And I'm pretty sure Hat's hat was a girl's hat, even though Hat was an old lonely man sitting there drinking a beer by himself.
So I did what any sane, compassionate individual would do: I told the bartender that I had a mission for him, and asked if he'd go tell Hat that I'd buy him a second of whatever he was drinking if he would let me wear his hat. Bartender replied with something along the lines of "No way, Jose."
Friend: not made.
Bartender Two, however, was a bit more accommodating; he waffled for a bit, and explained that he didn't think Hat spoke any English. I asked what language Hat spoke, and Bartender Two said Russian. So I told him that a common language wasn't really necessary to trade a free drink for a hat, and all he had to do was point at a beer, then point at Hat's hat, then make a little back-and-forth motion to indicate a trade. Bartender Two countered my offer and said that he wouldn't ask for Hat's hat, but he'd buy me a drink if I went and did it myself.
...So I did. Hat was a very nice old man who handed over his hat and let me wear it without even questioning why on earth some little white chick in a Mexican bar was accosting him for his personal property. Turns out Hat was Nicaraguan, not Russian, and he got his hat in Cancun, and also he teaches biology at Ohio State.
The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful. I enjoyed my free Dos Equis, courtesy of Bartender Two, and Boyfriend kinda-sorta made a friend with the manager, who he thought had a Texan accent, but turns out Manager is actually from Ohio. Friend fail.
This weekend there's a beer festival in Columbus, and we're also planning a pub crawl for Friday and/or Saturday night, hopefully with guests who will join us on our Drink Columbus adventure for a bar or two. So...stay tuned?