5 O'Clock Somewhere: The Jury Room
The Jury Room feels like an exclusive, old-school gentlemen's club - just without the stuffiness and annual dues. Everyone's welcome in these cozy confines, where you'd have to fight to not make friends.
"It's like partying in your family room, except you don't have to clean up," said owner Georgia Byrd, who often comes down from her appraisal business upstairs to chat up the regulars. "I've been in this building since '86, and the novelty never wears off."
She's right: There aren't many places like this left Downtown. Opened in 1831 and passed into a number of different hands, the bar retains much of its original charm.
Beautiful hardwood accents line the windows overlooking Mound Street as well as a large mirror behind the bar and a beautiful pressed-tin ceiling. If you're looking for winter shelter, there's a working fireplace amid several shelves filled with books.
A few random pieces of Buckeye memorabilia hang from the walls, but everything else feels historic and classy. (Keep your eye out for an upcoming tour of historic bars hosted by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation. The Jury Room is slated to be the first stop.)
Free pizza and appetizers are offered during happy hour on Wednesday and Friday, and a full menu is available until around 11 p.m. Specialties include a pulled pork sandwich with fries and slaw ($7), deep-fried pepperoni ($3.75) and a crock of Georgia's Buckeye Red Award Winning Chili ($4.35).
The bar doesn't stock as much whiskey as its name implies, but it does feature two Elevator brews on draft, lots of domestic bottles, a full liquor selection and a slate of clever shots created behind the bar.
Several bartenders are big fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the team's No. 1 star. In homage, they've created the LeBron Jameson, perhaps the best pun in the history of liquor. A shot of Jameson is topped with a bit of sour mix and a cherry on a cavalier-style cocktail sword.
The Jury Room Pub and Whiskey Bar
22 E. Mound St., Downtown
Bar hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Friday, noon-1 a.m. Saturday, closed Sunday
Kitchen hours: Open until 11 p.m., depending on crowd
Happy hour: $2 domestic bottles and discounted liquor 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, complimentary appetizer buffet Wednesday and Friday, regular shot specials
In short: Guilty ... of really good taste