Roundup: 6 great Columbus Bloody Mary bars

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Bloody Mary is often called the most complex cocktail, perhaps because it’s so broadly defined. Generally, we can agree that a Bloody Mary needs two things: vodka and tomato juice. (We’re not taking into account other versions named for their tequila, bourbon, etc.) But after those two base ingredients, the field is wide open.

Everyone likes their Bloody Mary a little different: sweet, spicy, smoky, savory. Some want it loaded with garnishes, some want a stalk of celery and that’s it. How do restaurants handle such a complex drink? Enter the Bloody Mary bar.

Matt the Millers Tavern ($7)

Matt the Miller’s ties its Bloody Mary bar in with its Sunday brunch buffet. All three locations — Grandview, Dublin, Polaris — base their Bloody Mary on Ultimat vodka. The bartender will give you a glass of booze and then turn you loose on the bar to choose from pickled veggies, hot sauces, olives and even jerky.

Ethyl & Tank ($5)

E&T’s Bloody Mary bar is a steal at just $5. It starts with a generous pour of your choice of vodka, including flavored versions, then it’s off to the small bar to add housemade Bloody Mary mixes, garnishes like horseradish or bacon, and finally hot sauces and seasonings.

Union Cafe ($4-5)

Like Matt the Miller’s, Union’s Bloody Mary bar is offered the same time as its Sunday brunch buffet. The price depends on your choice of vodka, but you get to fill it with celery, horseradish, stuffed olives and the like. If you’ve brought a non-Bloody Mary drinker with you to brunch, you can tempt them with the mimosa bar as well.

Knotty Pine Brewing ($5)

Knotty Pine quickly jumped back into the restaurant and brewery scene, but lesser known is its foray into weekend brunch. Accompanying blueberry pancakes and baked eggs is a Bloody Mary bar, too. After grabbing vodka at the bar, patrons can pour themselves regular or spicy Bloody Mary mixes on tap (yes, on tap), then peruse the table filled with house-pickled garnishes and condiments.

Kraft House No. 5 ($10)

Kraft House just released its new brunch menu, and with it came a Bloody Mary bar. The prospect is simple: build your own Bloody from a variety of spirits, mixes and garnishes. Any concoction you create will pair nicely with the Southern-inspired menu of chicken and waffles, Kentucky hot brown or biscuits and gravy.

Worthington Inn ($10)

Last year Worthington Inn did away with its weekend buffet in lieu of an a la carte brunch. Customizing your Bloody Mary is made easy at the table. Your server brings you a slip to fill out, specifying which of the 15 garnishes you’d like to add (including items pickled in-house) to your base of Watershed vodka.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast athttp://BreakfastWithNick.com and authored the guidebook “Breakfast With Nick: Columbus,” with a second edition coming in 2015. He leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.