10 great dates and the Sinatra singer
Check out 10 great dates, such as heading to a winery or a ballgame, and read about the Sinatra singerâ€”a crooner who knows a thing or two about romance.
Looking for fresh ideas for a special night out? Here's a list of fun, flirty dates around the city. Each date has its own price scale: Whether you decide to spend a little or a lot, these dates are sure to impress.
$-cheap; $$-not too bad; $$$-a little pricey; $$$$-pricey.
Roses are red ($)
Download the Clintonville walking map from the Columbus Public Health Department’s website (publichealth.columbus.gov/columbus-walking-maps.aspx) and follow the three-mile path through Whetstone Park, including the Park of Roses. The department’s designated trail ends on Orchard Lane, which is about two blocks west of a strip of High Street that features several antique book stores, Global Gallery, a record supply store and a wine shop. Happy strolling.
Hands on ($$$ or $$$$)
Either one of these dates lets you DIY. You can check out Camelot Cellars (958 N. High St.) in the Short North to create your own wine and label for 28 to 30 bottles—prices can range from $205 to $405. Or, for a cheaper route, about three blocks down High Street, sign up for a design workshop at Substance for Fashion Conscious People (783 N. High St.) and make your date a screen-printed T-shirt or a piece of jewelry. (Substance workshops cost $29.95 per person and must include at least three people, so think about doing this on a double date.) Either way, finish the night at the arts district’s Marcella’s (615 N. High St.), where you and your fellow daters can mix and match the restaurant’s signature small plates.
Be a kid again ($$$)
Some say falling in love can make you feel like a kid again, so what better place to start than the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium? You can tour the grounds, have a photo-op with Beco and be one of the first visitors to check out the Polar Frontier exhibit, which opens in early May. After a day in the sun, stop by a restaurant in Powell, such as Local Roots or the Lost Shepherd, and end your evening listening to live music at Espresso Yourself Music Café.
Cafe love ($$)
First date jitters? Relax with your date at the Short North’s Cup O’ Joe/MoJoe Lounge, 600 N. High St., where you can order coffee (or drinks) and sandwiches while getting to know each other. If the conversation flows like the coffee, head to Kafé Kerouac, 2250 N. High St., located just north of Ohio State. If you’re there on a Wednesday, grab a drink (we like the “Toni Morrison” latte) and stick around for open mic slam poetry.
Art of romance ($)
If you’re looking for a laid-back outing, grab a bite to eat at the Columbus Museum of Art’s Palette Express and check out bold glassworks in the Chihuly Illuminated exhibit. The museum currently is being renovated, but selections from its impressive permanent collection also are on view. Afterward, take a quick jump over to the Short North and visit its many galleries. Art fans will appreciate the strip’s outdoor murals, such as the modern take on the famous “American Gothic” painting (as shown on the cover) on the side of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams building at 714 N. High St.
A scenic drive ($$)
Sometimes, you just need to get out of the city for an evening, and the Winery at Otter Creek in Johnstown (740-892-2199) might be just the place for a quick getaway and a comfy, casual first date. Head east into rural Central Ohio and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the vineyard located on several acres of rolling countryside. Sit on the back patio and taste a variety of whites and reds—priced at $10 to $15 per bottle or a taste of eight wines for $3 per person—while listening to live rock or a concert pianist. There is no food served at the winery, so guests are encouraged to pack a picnic or appetizers to enjoy during their visit.
Retreat to the village ($$$)
German Village’s Barcelona, 263 E. Whittier St., is a fun spot to enjoy a meal while getting to know your date. The patio is a treasure during the warm summer months, and while you’re sipping a glass (or two) of vino, you’ll feel like you’re in a garden oasis instead of a city. It’s so relaxing that it might even help calm those first-date nerves.
Heat things up ($$$)
Sur La Table, located at Easton Town Center, is a unique place to get to know your date while you cook dinner together. The cooking school offers a variety of classes for couples, including “Date Night: Spring in Provence” on May 28, which will teach couples how to prepare cuisine inspired by the southeast coast of France. Check out the schedule at cookingclasses.surlatable.com.
Home run ($$)
Take your date out to a ballgame at Huntington Park in the Arena District. Columbus Clippers home games run through Sept. 3. Casual couples can embrace one of the team’s traditions—Dime-a-Dog Nights—May 17, June 28 or Aug. 23. Those looking for fancier fare can follow up their trip to the stadium with a short walk to Cotters Restaurant in Nationwide Arena. The location features outdoor patio dining that offers a romantic view of the historic Union Arch. Tip: Call for reservations early—seats fill up fast on game days. Impressive dinner conversation starter: The Arch is the only remaining remnant of the old Union Station architecture.
Get out of town ($$$$)
Plan a day trip and head about an hour and a half southeast to Hocking County, home to the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls (Logan, 800-653-2557). At the rustic retreat, indulge in treatments from traditional massages to body mud wraps. (It’s worth mentioning that the Inn is openly supportive of its GLBT guests.) After a gourmet dinner at the Inn’s log cabin restaurant, take your date 20 minutes north to Hocking Valley Canoe Livery (31251 Chieftain Dr.). The park offers a two-hour Romantic Moonlight Canoe tour, which is capped with a bonfire, entertainment, libations and a marshmallow roast. The tours ($42 per canoe) are on May 8, May 29, June 26, July 24, Aug. 21 and Sept. 25.
Jackie Mantey and Taylor Swope are assistant editors for Columbus Monthly.
The Sinatra singer
The combination of pasta, red wine and some Frank Sinatra can go a long way on a hot date. We chatted with singer Michael Sutherland—who’s been channeling Ol’ Blue Eyes and fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin, among others, for half a decade at Dublin’s La Scala Italian Bistro—about romance, his claim to fame and how he met his wife.
How long have you been performing? I’ve been a musician all of my life. I worked in radio stations all over the country, lived all over the United States. I also am a freelance voice-over talent—for radio, TV commercials, TV narrations, film trailers, things like that. For radio, I’m the guy who’s, you know, the ‘voice of the station.’ As for Sinatra, it was 2002 when I started.
Do you have to smoke a lot of cigarettes to get a voice like the ones in the movie previews? Ha! I probably should quit that, shouldn’t I? I’m actually smoking a cigarette as we speak. I love me some tobacco!
When was the moment you realized you had this talent to emulate? I was doing a guitar solo act and I happened to do a few Sinatra songs for the mom-n-pops in the audience. And it went over! My wife, Cynthia, said I should focus all my time and energy into doing that. We’ve been going gangbuster ever since.
Did you woo your wife with your voice? It’s kind of funny: I was divorced in 1995 and was single for several years. I actually met her online at one of those online dating things. We got to talking, and it turned out we went to high school together. Her brother played guitar in my high school band. She sat beside me in my third period study hall and had this big crush on me. I hadn’t seen her probably since she was 14 and I was 18. I said, ‘This is too funny, we gotta get together.’ We got together and the rest is history.
Did you sing at your own wedding? I think I did, but I only did a couple songs.
You don’t like to call yourself an impersonator. How do you prefer to describe yourself? As an entertainer/interpreter. There’s a thousand impersonators out there, and most of them are pretty bad. This whole thing comes very natural to me. It’s not like I’m trying to impersonate or anything. It’s what’s in me and it’s what I feel. It’s not just Sinatra that I do. I do a lot of Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Michael Bublé, I do Tony Bennett’s stuff. It’s a good mix. I’d say 75 to 80 percent is Sinatra. But I’m about 300 songs deep in my repertoire. I can sing for about 15 hours straight.
Without getting a sore throat? My throat is always the last thing to go. It seems to outlast the rest of my body.
Michael Bublé, huh? Are you trying your hand at emulating any other new artists these days? Like I said, good music’s good music’s good music. Bublé’s gotta couple of new songs. I really dig his arrangements.
Do you get a lot of elderly women throwing themselves at you? They think I’m dreamy! (Laughs.) I actually play to a wide array of audience. The older demographic, they enjoy it most. They grew up with it. I do also a lot of weddings. It’s really surprising, and it makes me feel good that the younger generation enjoys this music. This music is timeless. It’s universal. It doesn’t just appeal to the older crowd. I’ve been really surprised how much the younger folks really enjoy this music.
Where would Ol’ Blue Eyes or Dino go to meet women in Columbus? La Scala is a great place for that. It’s kind of my home base.