Distilled: Happy hour of the month: Carabar

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It’s my job to go to happy hours. But, to be completely honest, this gets repetitive because many happy hours offer the same specials. Occasionally, I come acrossone that goes above and beyond the rest. This is one such happy hour.

Featuring an eclectic mix of genres, from metal to hip-hop, and a heavy rotation of local acts, Olde Towne East’s Carabar is one of the city’s best live music bars. While seeing a show at Carabar — cover charge?! F--- that! — is a rite of passage for any music fan, it’s the happy hour that’ll be the topic of praise here. From opening (4 p.m.) until 8 p.m. weekdays, Carabar offers an embarrassment of happy hour riches that present as much variety as cheap deals.

From a beverage standpoint, the draft mugs are ideal. PBRs are $1 and all others are half-off resulting in some worthy craft beers, including a number of options from local breweries, costing between $2 and $3.

If you like something stronger to alleviate a tough day — no judging here, I get it — liquors at Carabar are also on the cheap. Wells, shots of El Jimador tequila and Van Gogh vodka are $2. I recommend the potent rotgut Powers Irish whiskey.

Where Carabar is surprisingly impressive, considering it’s a rock ’n’ roll dive, is the excellent food from its Helen Killer Cafe. There’s a variety of offerings (grilled cheese, tacos, Sloppy Joes, burgers, hot dogs and more) that cater to both the vegan and meat-eater. Each day offers a different food special for a couple bucks.

Monday’s $1 grilled cheese is popular, but the tacos on Tuesdays are fantastic. A nicely-sized flour tortilla is filled with either red beans and rice, falafel or beef for $1, and buffalo chicken or fish for $2. The falafel taco — besides being extremely fun to say — is a wonderfully strange combination of ethnicities.

The remainder of the week is filled out with Sloppy Joes with house-made chips ($3, Wednesdays), meatball splashes ($1, Thursdays) and chili cheese burritos ($2.50, Fridays).

Photo by Meghan Ralston