Relaxed run

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You don't expect many frills from a suds house called Run of the Mill Tavern, and you won't find them at the Hilliard drinkery. While some bars will try anything to garner attention, Run of the Mill succeeds by offering a purely refined barroom experience.

"It's a cozy little hole in the wall," said bar manager Lisa Hannahs. "It's very simple."

Located in Mill Run, the tavern is one of the only locally owned neighborhood bars in the area. The low-key temperament and generous, daily happy hour help usher in a steady crew of regulars. "It's like Cheers -- everybody knows everybody," she said.

On a crisp afternoon, a talkative, middle-aged regular pops in Run of the Mill and orders one of "Lisa's famous spicy Bloody Marys." I ask Hannahs about her renowned cocktail and she laughs. "It's just your basic Bloody Mary," she said.

The twentysomething with wavy blond hair has tended bar in the Arena District, but she prefers the relaxed, personable setting at Run of the Mill. Conversation in the small, open space is centered around the large island bar. Narrow tables and tall chairs provide additional elbow-bumping seating, while darts, Golden Tee and two pool tables offer retreat.

The tavern draws a healthy crowd for game-day TV gazing, which is clear from the joint's earth-toned scarlet-and-gray walls and sports bar-like decor. Two sizable projector screens command most of the attention, though patrons will momentarily avert their gaze if the bar orders in pizza.

Run of the Mill just serves up cold drinks. Reasonably priced 22-ounce drafts -- like Bud Light ($3.50), Killian's or AmberBock ($4) -- and double-sized straight shots, like Jim Beam ($3.75), tend to be the weapons of choice for evening crowds. A few higher-end liquors and single-malt Scotches, such as 12-year-old Glenlivet ($6.50), add some depth to the drink list, but don't expect garnished martinis.

As the night carries on, area restaurant workers find their way to the bar and contribute to a younger gathering of drinkers. Tall, chilled shots of Jager ($4.50) and mixed drinks tend to please the late-night crowd. "We pour pretty stiff drinks," Hannahs said.

Run of the Mill Tavern

3774 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard 614-777-177312 p.m.-2 a.m. daily12-7 p.m. daily: $2.50 select 22-ounce drafts, $2.50 well drinks and six-for-$12 domestic bottles