Short North's Surly Girl Saloon to close within week

Justin McIntosh, Columbus Alive

The Short North of yore is now, with a little more finality, no more. Surly Girl Saloon, a beloved Columbus Food League restaurant and bar, is closing Sunday, April 26, owner Carmen Owens said by phone Monday afternoon. Staff of Surly Girl Saloon, 1126 N. High St., were informed of the news this past weekend, and were promised jobs at other CFL establishments upon closing, fellow Columbus Food League owner Liz Lessner said in a phone interview.

"Bars have a certain life cycle to be relevant," Owens said. "We'd have to do a concept revamp [to stay relevant], and I don't want to do a concept revamp. I just want to focus on the concept I do have [Grass Skirt Tiki Room]. My immediate plan is to focus on Grass Skirt full-time. We have some fun plans for the patio and the menu revamp is coming up soon, and I'm excited to focus on just one restaurant because it's been a little rough doing two."

The restaurant and bar is being sold, but Lessner wouldn't divulge who had purchased the spot. The new concept will fit in well with the new Short North, she said.

"The buyer of our place is kind of what you'd expect for the area, or what it's become," Lessner said. "Surly Girl is done; the new place is an entirely different concept and completely unrelated to us."

Lessner said the owners of CFL had considered selling Surly Girl for some time. The other CFL properties (The Chintz Room, both Dirty Frank's locations, Tip Top and Grass Skirt), meanwhile, are not in danger of closing or being sold.

"The other restaurants are strong and stable," Lessner said. "People keep asking that, but the beauty of our restaurant group is everything is owned by separate owners, so there's nothing else really slated [to close or be sold]. Once the owner isn't interested in running [a CFL restaurant], then that's when we pull the plug."

The news comes on the heels of other CFL properties either closing or being sold in the last year. Long-time Short North mainstay Betty's Food and Spirits closed June 2014, while CFL closed downtown's Jury Room in November after selling it to a new owner. That space has since become 1831 Tavern.

"It's devastating," Lessner continued. "It's been really hard, but, you know … we also feel like Surly Girl was in the Short North at an important point of time and it served a good purpose. We don't know that we necessarily need to be there either. We feel great about everything we did."