Bar profile: Barrel & Bottle's North Market bar enhances dining experience

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Enjoying an adult beverage with a meal at the North Market used to be reserved for take-out only; that all changed in September. Roughly a year after announcing plans for expansion, The Barrel & Bottle is well into its first month of offering on-premises sips for North Market patrons, allowing diners to grab a drink while enjoying some next-level nosh.

"The North Market is an experience, and adding the alcohol pairing element to the dining selection just makes sense," said Collin Castore, co-owner of The Barrel & Bottle.

Castore and co-owner Jen Burton moved The Barrel & Bottle into the space formerly occupied by Holy Smoke BBQ, nearly doubling their real estate and allowing for the addition of communal tables and a bar. Though not part of the original plan when the pair opened Barrel & Bottle in the North Market, including on-premises drinking was an organic addition.

"The idea developed from seeing the trend toward on-premises consumption in other markets," Castore said. "It has become so commonplace for market districts to serve alcohol that people are surprised they aren't allowed to walk around with a glass of wine or sample of beer."

Currently, alcohol consumption is only permitted in the 1,100-square-foot space The Barrel & Bottle occupies, but North Market staffers are working with lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow for alcohol to be consumed throughout the building. Because each merchant at the North Market technically has their own lease, passing the legislation becomes complicated.

"Ohio liquor laws aren't made to accommodate 35 separate leases, so that's been a challenge," Castore said.

Though comparatively, the North Market is a little late to offer sips while shopping, Castore believes it will only add to the already unique experience patrons have at the market.

"Now I can get my son some pizza, some Indian food for my daughter, and grab a drink with my wife all at the same place,” Castore said.

According to Castore, the response so far from both merchants and patrons has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Alcohol is new to the North Market, so we’re trying to ease into it and make sure we do everything the right way,” Castore said. “But patrons are really happy with the decision, and we’re working with other merchants on tastings and events. The merchants seem excited they can tell their customers to come in and see us for happy hour now.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston

The Barrel & Bottle

59 Spruce St., Arena District