P.M .– Dawn: A night with Pants at Kindred Artisan Ales

Erica Thompson

Erica here. I just moved to Columbus from Cincinnati, and I'm excited to take on nightlife in the 614! I'll be sharing my adventures in this column, and I hope you'll read along. I'm truly game for anything - reggae clubs, EDM dance parties, country line dancing, you name it. But I decided to play it safe for my first go-round and check out the super-chill Kindred Artisan Ales taproom that just opened last week in Gahanna.

I wanted to avoid the opening-night crowd, so I decided to go on Saturday. Once I got over the fact that it was freaking snowing in April, I made the 20-minute drive from my apartment and arrived around 8 p.m.

I found the bar to be unpretentious and inviting as soon as I walked in. The warm light from the exposed bulbs on the ceiling and in the mini-vases on the chocolate wood bar and tables created a feeling of intimacy. The space was small but open - especially with the large picture windows that looked into what will soon be a sour beer and barrel-aging room. The crowd was light but steady, and the music - mostly rock - was low but interesting. In other words, you could breathe and you could hear. Kindred Ales is definitely a place for good conversation.

Sitting at the bar, I chatted up the best bartender ever: Pants. Yes, Pants. "Like what you wear," as he informed me when I asked if I'd heard him right. He'd coined the nickname one night after too much gin. His friends celebrated by taping multiple pairs of thrift store-procured pants to his car.

The customers were also friendly. I bonded with Nick and Mikaela over our trips to Bonnaroo. Nick has been seven times and wished the festival lasted a week. Mikaela has only been twice and has no desire to return - but Dave Matthews Band put on a really good show, she admitted.

Other patrons were having their own discussions (no one really watched the flatscreen TV to the left of the front door). I liked the variety. There were couples in their 20s and 30s, a lively group of college students and groups of men and women over 40. There was a lot of one-and-done ordering - most seemed to treat Kindred as a quick stop on their way to or from another destination.

I, on the other hand, had a handful of $2-$3 craft beer samples, from the smooth Kindred Wit to the Salvage Porter with almond, mint and chocolate - the clear winner in my book. At about 10:30 p.m., the lights had dimmed and the bartenders were winding down. I seriously considered buying my very first growler on my way out, but I'll definitely stop in again on my way to the next hotspot that Columbus has to offer.

P.M.–Dawn is a new Alive column about the Cbus nightlife scene. It will run every other week.