Social circle

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Christine Grundey, who owns O'Toole's Irish Pub in Reynoldsburg with her husband Joe, hates to fall into the cliche of comparing her bar to Cheers - a place where everybody knows your name. But the sociable vibe is immediately obvious at the neighborhood bar, where all regulars are friends and some even have their "own" stools.

"I think people tend to appreciate more of the neighborhood setting ... A lot of the same people come in every day at happy hour," Grundey said. "Somebody can come in alone and know there's always going to be someone there they know and can sit down, have a beer with and talk to."

That familiarity also extends to the staff. Grundey's proud of her place's low turnover, which facilitates the hospitality. "Everybody likes to know their bartender, just for the simple fact they can talk to them," she said.

O'Toole's doesn't get by on its welcoming environment alone - they offer some decent specials as well.

Domestic bottles run $1.25 from 2 to 5 p.m. every day. Happy hour includes discount prices on 22-ounce domestic drafts ($3) and liquor. By far the best deal - and offering possibly the worst hangover - is Monday's super-sized $3 domestic and $6 import liter drafts.

Every week the bartenders will choose or create a special shot, but the bar's signature shot, the Swamp Bomb, still reigns supreme. "We sell the crap out of those. I can't tell you what's in it 'cause then I'd have to kill you," joked Grundey.

O'Toole's also offers plenty of entertainment options. Tuesday is pool league; Wednesday has a ladies' night, with drink specials that extend to the men; and Thursday has in-house darts and Wii bowling tournaments.

The daily activities are nice, but nothing compares to the theme parties. O'Toole's has a giant St. Patrick's Day party, and they throw other highly anticipated parties throughout the year.

A few of the most popular are the Animal House toga party, the Halloween bash and the end-of-summer beach party, complete with 1,000 pounds of sand covering the stage and bikini-clad bartenders. Grundey said people really look forward to the parties, and she enjoys going all out with her creativity in planning them.