Behind Bars: Megan Temple at Betty's Bar

Erica Thompson
Megan Temple

Upon entering Betty's Bar — a quaint, square building with a bright red door — you'll notice a sign displaying business hours: “Open when I get here, closed when I leave.” The schedule depends on the owner, a woman nicknamed Shorty, though she is actually almost 6 feet tall. But generally the Arena District establishment is open Thursdays and Fridays to catch the traffic to and from the Columbus Clippers games.

“If there's a home game, then you know we're here,” said Shorty's 24-year-old daughter, Megan Temple, who bartends.

If Temple takes over the bar in the future, she would be the third-generation owner of the family business, which began when her grandparents, Betty and Russ, bought the bar in 1962. Previously, the building was a convenience store, serving alcohol and some food, Temple said.

“This was my daycare,” Temple said. “[My mom] would have a little couch set up for us and we would just hang out in our corner with a little TV while she worked. … A lot of the customers do remember me [from back then].”

Despite some upgrades, the bar hasn't changed much over the years. It still has a rustic feel, with wood walls and bar, and even a fireplace that customers gather around during the winter. The menu is simple, with standard bar food — “We're known for our burgers,” Temple said — and domestic beer.

“We have no draft, which, I think, sets us apart from almost every single bar,” Temple said. “It's one of our quirks.”

Quirks are abundant. Mounted above the bar is a row of construction hats as an homage to past clientele that worked to build Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park. There's also a dresser in the women's bathroom, and a nearly decade-long tradition each week: “Thong Thursdays.”

“The bartenders wear a thong while they bartend,” Temple said. She and Shorty do not participate.

When Temple is not helping out at the bar, she works as a manager of a pet shop, a fitting job for the animal-lover who has a dog, two cats and a bearded dragon named Zelda.

“He's my little scale-y baby,” she said.

Temple also has plans to start a career in real estate. But she can't leave Betty's Bar behind.

“I didn't think I would like it,” she said of bartending. “But I enjoy it now … and I definitely will continue working here. It's a piece of the family that I can't give up.”