Distilled: Bar tours offer a way to break the rut

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

Bar crawls are fun in theory, but how often do you follow through? You scout out a map, devise a plan and next thing you know you're sipping a pint at the same old neighborhood joint.

Enter Jarad Barr, who's started Barr Locals, a company designed to get folks experiencing nightlife in a new way. He knows it's too easy to fall into a rut and wants to incentivize people to learn about Columbus neighborhoods and their watering holes.

"My roommates and I would always debate about where to go and end up at the regular place," Barr said. "This is an excuse to do something different."

Barr Locals is offering scheduled outings with four or five stops at neighboring establishments twice a month. The first took place in July throughout Grandview because it's Barr's stomping ground, and he knew he could offer a worthwhile experience for tour-goers.

The upcoming tour on Aug. 24 is covering Campus as a welcome back for students (21 and over, obviously) or those looking to relive those glory days. The Campus tour also has a number of different routes, given the vast number of options. As he builds relationships with businesses throughout Columbus, Barr plans to double the tours offered.

"We're currently at two tours a month, and I'm hoping to do one every weekend in the near future; two [different] routes each month, every other weekend," Barr said.

The tours run in groups of six and cost each participant $40 to $50. At each stop you receive a different drink - a pint here, a cocktail or a shot there - some food and a Barr Local T-shirt. Each is designed to showcase both specific bars and the area's overall scene by featuring house drinks, food or its especially friendly bartender.

The tours also offer flexibility. Groups have the choice to go at their own pace and may stay longer at a place they're relishing. But you're enticed to finish because not only is the satisfaction of completion waiting, but also a celebratory shot and possibly some late night eats.

Photos by Meghan Ralston