Part Three: Italian Village

Welcome back to Tour de COTA—helping you take advantage of students’ most underutilized OSU resource. With spring coming to an end and the onset of summer slowly shining through, the inherent wanderlust is beginning to buzz. The usual slew of campus patios have served us well, the inebriation gained from our local hotspots have helped us forget the stress and frustrations that come with the end of a semester. Whether you are in your first year, or gearing up for your last, an adventure outside of campus proper complete with casual libations is a rewarding way to celebrate the beginning of break. I began my summer with retail therapy and patio drinks in a neighborhood I am mildly familiar with, Italian Village.

I jumped on the #2 COTA bus around Chittenden and High, and headed down into the Short North. From years of experience, the #2 bus route is one of the more diverse routes in Central Ohio. An eclectic mix of business professionals, yuppies, fellow college students, and high school students ride the route daily. On this $2 venture, I found a seat in the back of the bus. Most recently-of-age adult beverage consumers have probably had an experience of drinking in the Short North, and being reminded of how inexperienced they are outside of the campus bar environment. So I chose to avoid the typical young professional alehouses of High Street. 

Out Of The Closet

Hopping off the bus at 5th Avenue, instead of checking out the probably overpriced American Apparel, I opted for the thrift located across the street. Out Of The Closet is not only a thrift store, but a pharmacy that offers HIV/STI testing. On this visit, I was in search of a solid pair of shorts to add to my summer collection. Though I was unsuccessful in finding the shorts I desired, I did get tested for HIV/Hepatitis C, and also submitted blood, urine, and a mouth swab for STI testing. The results for HIV/Hepatitis C were immediate (negative) and the STI results will be emailed to me within a week. This was all free, and as a sexually active adult I believe it is pertinent to stay diligent. With the sun still shining high, and a newly acquired confidence, I decided to stroll into Italian Village proper and enjoy an outdoor beverage.

Seventh Son

My first stop for drinks was the back patio of Seventh Son. I’ve frequented this bar many times in the past and would say it possesses one of the best patios in town. The brewery is only a few years old, but has made a name for itself in the craft brew scene due to its signature beers. The first drink I enjoyed was their seasonal citrus rich Cicada Brett Pale Ale. An old flame was tending behind the bar and mentioned to me they were serving Rambling House Ginger Beer. She proceeded to generously whip me up a spicy Moscow Mule with a splash of Aperol. A DJ friend played a bouncy mix of disco and reggae, providing a cool atmospheric background noise for the young vibrant crowd. With a couple drinks under my belt and my friend’s shift ending, we ventured down the block to the next destination.

Hoof Hearted

Just a few blocks south at the corner of 4th and 1st Avenue is one of Columbus’ newer breweries, Hoof Hearted. With origins in the outskirts of Cleveland, the décor of the space was modern and caters to its clientele of millennia. The place was a bit crowded, but luckily we found a seat on the small patio and enjoyed their most popular beer, Musk of the Minotaur, served with a fancy cheese plate. We watched sun began its descent and we munched. The service was great and felt more like an upscale restaurant than a brewpub. With the night setting in, my companion decided to call it an evening and dropped me off at my final destination.

St. James Tavern

St. James Tavern began as a bar for factory workers in the neighborhood. When the factory closed, the bar transitioned into a “hillbilly bar.” After the owner realized it wasn’t a successful makeover, he passed ownership to his daughter who revamped it into a progressive neighborhood dive.  A flamboyant bartender greeted us immediately upon entry, and continuing with the trend from Seventh Son, prepared a slightly less pretentious Moscow Mule.  Another bar patron left a few dollars in the jukebox and asked me to make a few selections. We enjoyed a fitting mix of Madonna, Prince, and A Tribe Called Quest over a game of pool before hitting the next stop.

Brothers Drake

Located on the corner of 5th Avenue, conveniently behind where I began my journey, resides Brothers Drake Meadery. For those who aren’t familiar with mead, it is fermented honey. I would recommend it to those who enjoy wine, or are adventurous and enjoy peculiar flavors. I thought I was daring, until I sampled their Flower Apple and knew immediately mead may not be for me. Tonight, they were hosting their biweekly dance party, Restart.  A group of local tenured DJs played soulful house music. Since I wasn’t ready to venture into the world of mead just yet,  I opted for my nightly standard, a Gin Mule, a house cocktail also prepared with Rambling House Ginger Beer. Though the DJs kept the sparse crowd moving on the dance floor, I enjoyed the rest of the evening casually sipping my drink while two-stepping and chatting with a few familiar faces before making my way back to High Street and catching the Night Owl back north. What a night.

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