Behind Bars: Drew Sherrick at Dirty Dungarees

Erica Thompson

People have to do their laundry somewhere. And people want to go out and drink. So the idea of establishing a chain of local laundromat-bars was an ingenious idea, at least for a while. All Dirty Dungarees Laundromat and Bars have since folded except for the North High Street location, which opened its doors in 1978.

“I think the location was pretty good for having people who can walk to it,” said Drew Sherrick, who bought the bar in 2015. Open every day from morning until midnight (the last load must be in by 10:30 p.m.), the business attracts neighborhood residents who want to have a drink while they do their laundry.

The establishment sees a large group of students during the Ohio State Senior Bar Crawl, which is one of Sherrick's craziest days. “[It's] just an endless flood of people coming in,” he said. “We usually get the people heading southbound because the people heading northbound, they have like 30 bars so they never make it up here. … On some of those days, we'll have [about] 300 people walk through in three hours.”

Most other times, the bar serves about 10 people in the evening. Entertainment includes arcade games, a pool table and an occasional band playing in the back room. “I don't want to be a venue, but it's like a fun little extra thing to do because I'm friends with a lot of bands,” Sherrick said. “It's kinda like having them play in my living room.”

A musician himself, Sherrick played in a band in Logan, Ohio, before moving to Columbus around 2008. He booked bands and ran Oldfield's on High before purchasing his first laundromat — located in Grove City — which he has owned for about six years.

“It's very steady,” he said of the laundromat business. “It's not anything I'm ever gonna get super rich off of or anything, but it pays the bills. And I've gotten pretty good at doing laundry over the years.”

Other than updating the equipment and adding craft beer to the menu, Sherrick didn't have to make too many changes to the bar. “I'm not the most visual person, so the decor is something I need to work on, eventually,” he said.

But the prospect of getting a buzz while completing a tedious, necessary task does bring in some clientele beyond Old North limits.

“I definitely have people who drive in from like the South Side or Upper Arlington,” Sherrick said. “[Laundry] goes faster when you have a beer to fold with.”