Distilled: Clintonville, the city's best new beer locale

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

A small stretch of Indianola Avenue has become a destination for discerning beer drinkers thanks to welcomed renovations at Studio 35, the Crest Gastropub and Savor Growl (formerly Weber Market). Each are longtime Clintonville businesses that underwent substantial transformations, including ramping up beer offerings.

Studio 35 was the first when it retrofitted its space a year ago, including a much-improved bar area and 48 taps offering a variety of craft beers. It's as much a destination for beer drinkers as it was for movie geeks. The Crest and Savor have just recently completed construction and re-opened with admirable new spaces. Both also offer around 60 taps of craft beer, and both have a focus on Ohio-made brews.

It's totally by coincidence - none of the businesses' representatives said they planned renovations in conjunction - but it's a boon for the neighborhood and Columbus' beer lovers as a whole.

"Our business is not only for the neighborhood - it's mainly for the neighborhood - but it's also an attractor for people all over the city. People from Westerville, Polaris, German Village, Downtown come here for the beer," said Firas Habli, owner of Savor Growl.

What's even more impressive (especially considering it's also coincidental) is that each place has vastly different beer lists. Eric Brembeck, co-owner of Studio 35, saw only 20 crossovers out of the 150-plus combined taps at all three locations.

Clintonville's upward alcohol trend is only growing with Global Gallery and Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe both obtaining liquor permits through the May 7 election. But people aren't just flocking to the area only for booze - it's become a hub for nightlife activity.

"This is starting to be an attraction. They come this way whether they want a growler, or a bite to eat [before] going to Studio 35 for a movie," said the Crest's assistant manager Will Davis.

Some residents may be apprehensive about this recent ascension of alcohol-related businesses, but let's not forget this is Clintonville - a neighborhood mainly occupied (and visited) by post-graduates and professionals looking more for a friendly conversation than a wild night out.

"I don't think any of these places cater to Campus. I cater to young professionals and people who are willing to pay $4 or $5 for a good beer. I'm not lining up shots on my bar and having $2 beer nights," Brembeck said.