5 O'Clock Somewhere: Level Dining Lounge

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A while back, the building that housed venerable seafood restaurant R.J. Snapper's became a giant hole. Then it became a secret. What emerged is one of coolest and most interesting places in town.

At Level Dining Lounge, the phoenix that rose in June, you can eat well, sit comfortably and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the most happening nightlife block in town. You can do it relatively cheaply, too.

Looks were obviously a priority in creating the space, and every aspect of the interior design is cohesive - from the take-out menus to the table settings. Dominated by stark blacks, tasteful track lighting and creamy white leather, Level is luxurious yet restrained, pristine but welcoming.

Inside windows that open directly onto High Street is a beautiful marble bar lined with cushy, high-backed chairs, and a collection of traditional four-top tables. Heading back to an open kitchen, you'll find a row of low-lying lounge tables on one side and a handful of booths on the other.

This seating variety should accommodate a range of needs: formal dinner, after-work cocktail, hangover brunch and late-night canoodle. On weekends, an upstairs lounge offers an extra bar and a few private spaces demarcated by sheer curtains.

Level's chic decor may have some hungry, thirsty first-timers fretting that they'll be forced to order four ounces of exotic bisque for $18. Not so.

Yes, you can sample gourmet fare like a tuna tartare appetizer ($12), a seared scallop entree ($15) and a range of top-shelf 'tinis. Or, during happy hour, you can grab a bottle of Bud, deluxe sandwich and sweet-potato fries for around $11.

A la carte prices for the weekend brunch menu are the same or cheaper than those at Tee Jaye's - not the kind of discount often found in restaurants with white leather and down-tempo house music. A seven-day slate of themed specials sweetens the deal.

A rooftop bar will be added next summer, and you can expect other big things from first-time restaurateurs Brent Clevidence and A. Previn Wyatt.

Level Dining Lounge

700 N. High St., Short North


Web: levelcolumbus.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. daily (kitchen open until 11 p.m.)

Happy hour: 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday: $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks, $4 call drinks, select $5 appetizers

In short: Bona-fide chic for relatively cheap

Level Lineup

In addition to a weekday happy hour, Level offers regular entertainment and discounted spirits.

Monday: Service industry night with drink and food specials starting at 9 p.m.

Tuesday: Team Trivia, $3 Smirnoff drinks, $2.50 domestic bottles

Wednesday: Select $5 martinis

Thursday: $3 Three Olive drinks

Friday: $5 mojitos, $6 fresh-fruit mojitos

Saturday: DJ Jeremy James

Sunday: Long Island pitcher special and karaoke with Crazy Bob at 10 p.m.