5 O'Clock Somewhere: Gordon Biersch
When investors sunk about $1 billion into the Arena District, they envisioned a multiuse entertainment hub where people could watch sports, share meals and toss back a few beers.
An important piece of that puzzle is Gordon Biersch, a chic but friendly spot to hit before, during or after any Blue Jackets game (the new season starts Saturday). Anyone carrying the flag should make fast friends with one of the city's best brewpubs.
Offering plenty of room to sit down or stand up and cheer, the warehouse-sized confines welcome guests in jerseys or dinner jackets. Ohio's only branch of the national chain brims with local pride, smiling service and night-on-the-town excitement.
To start things off right, you'll find five standard drafts, one to match the calendar and occasional concoctions from the brewmaster. All are prepared on site in giant metal vats visible from the main dining room, and start at $4.75 per pint.
Before delving in, try a good-sized sampler for $5.50 and selections from a giant menu offering steaks, salads, sandwiches and unique appetizers like Kobe sliders ($10.50) and garlic fries ($6). For the full Oktoberfest experience, unfold a seasonal menu featuring schnitzels, brats and other German fare.
It's the best way to Munich without a plane ticket.
The delicious collection of craft brews on tap at Gordon Biersch will entice seasoned snobs and simple lager-lovers. Here's a bit more about what you'll find on tap.
Golden Export: Ditch your favorite American brew for this lager, which goes down much like Budweiser but has a fuller body and more refreshing finish.
Hefeweizen: Fans of Blue Moon and other German wheat beers will enjoy this crisp, cloudy, slightly sweet concoction, which smells and tastes (pleasantly) like bananas.
Czech Pilsner: Brewing in the Bohemian style gives this pilsner the crispness of a Stella Artois and some of the bitterness of Sierra Nevada.
Marzen: This tribute to Oktoberfest brews has a nice balance of sweetness and bitter hoppiness. It's similar to - but better than - the seasonal Sam Adams.
Schwarzbier: Don't let the black color scare you: This Guinness-esque elixir actually has the lightest body of the bunch, and its roasted coffee notes aren't overpowering.
Festbier (seasonal): Though similar to the Marzen, this one's less potent and features a crisper finish.
Click to ColumbusAlive.com xxx for a complete guide to Columbus bars and clubs
401 N. Front St., Arena District
Bar hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Kitchen hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 4-6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-close Monday-Friday (except event nights): $1 off drafts; $2 off wines; $5 margaritas, mojitos and martinis; select appetizers for $5
In short: A must-hit spot all season long