"I" has it

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When the owners of Wendell's the Alumni Grill decided to transform their Lane Avenue location, they wanted a new moniker that was steeped in the long tradition of Campus watering holes. So they chose the Thirsty "I," paying homage to a bar they frequented when they attended Ohio State. "It's a nostalgia type thing. Tradition goes a long way around here," said general manager Richard Belding.

The "I" is anything but your traditional Campus bar, however; it caters to both college students and those looking to avoid the hectic chaos of most Campus joints by dividing the venue into sections. In back is a bar and restaurant area for anyone 21 and over; an open front room has pool tables and games for the younger Campus crowd.

The setup is meant to attract all types of bar-goers. "I want the kids to come in here," Belding said. "It is a fun place to hang out now, but we're trying to cater to all realms and facets of the Ohio State community."

Monday through Friday the "I" offers daily specials sure to please the thirsty crowds. But Belding doesn't feel that the drink deals are the reason the bar has a steady customer base.

"I know the atmosphere we've created here makes it student-friendly," he said. "Let's be honest, these kids can go anywhere and drink for a buck."

He likes to think people keep coming back because the Thirsty "I" is nicer than your average bar, with great patio options and food that's a step above pub grub.

Many of the options on the menu -- pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and munchies -- are comparable to typical bar fare, but quality sets them apart. The finesse of Wendell's chefs is represented in each dish; fish and chips, made with beer-battered Atlantic cod, is the standout.

While the Thirsty "I" likes to fashion itself as anything but a typical Campus bar, every Saturday it becomes a football funhouse. Said Belding, "The aura is incredible. It's a community in here; everybody is a Buckeye fan. There is a glow about the place."

Daily Specials

Monday: $7 four 16-oz. domestic cans

Tuesday: $2 34-oz. domestic pitchers

Wednesday: $2 bring your own mug (34-oz. limit)

Thursday: $5 Sparks bombs, $5 pitchers of Tropic Thunder

Friday: $5 100-oz. Thirsty tube (until 7 p.m.)