5 O'Clock Somewhere: Betty's Bar
The Arena District's transformation into the pro sports capital of Columbus has revitalized the surrounding neighborhood, leading to chic condo projects, new businesses and the city's hottest nightlife district.
Betty's Bar, on the other hand, hasn't changed a bit.
Opened in 1963 by a local family - and now maintained by a woman known as Shorty - Betty's provides the perfect place to post up before a game or cool down after one.
Sitting in a squat stone building directly southwest of Huntington Park, it's the last vestige of the neighborhood's history as several odd blocks between Downtown and the Short North. This place, a black sign out front informs, is the original Betty's.
The inside's dark and cool and features what you expect to find in a dive worth its salt: pool table, jukebox and odd decor. In this case, vintage beer signs, red holiday lights and cast-iron pans hanging from the walls.
There are a few tables, some booths and an indoor picnic table. Out back sits a shaded patio. Its adjacent gravel lot is the cheapest and most reliable parking you'll find for any Columbus Clippers game.
Known as the "Home of the Grease Injection," Betty's serves up daily food specials, like a burger, fries and soda for $6 - something you won't find at either sports arena on Nationwide Boulevard. The menu also includes wings, rings and a few sandwiches no more than $8.
To wash it down, mixed drinks start at $4.50, bottled beer at $2.50, with Miller Lite specials on game day.
Betty's may be a bit rough around the edges, but never doubt a place that has survived for more than four decades by keeping things simple.
Bottles of Beer on the Wall
The bar's got no taps, so your best bet is bottled beer. Here's the selection:
Leinenkugel's Classic Amber
Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Did you know?
The Ohio State Penitentiary, a notorious prison, was located on the site of what's now the Arena District. It opened in 1834 and closed in 1979 - about 16 years after Betty's opened.
Click to ColumbusAlive.com for a complete guide to Columbus bars and clubs
435 W. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Friday
On weekends with games or special events, bar opens about an hour beforehand and closes at 1 a.m.
In short: A cheap and easy spot before and after games