Touring Understory, the new Event Space from Wolf's Ridge Brewing

With its first wedding under its belt, Understory is officially open for business.

Emma Frankart Henterly
Columbus Monthly
Inside Understory's event space

Recently, Columbus Weddings had the opportunity to visit Understory, the new event space from Wolf's Ridge Brewing, and sample some of its offerings at a media preview tour. The venue hosted its first wedding at the end of October and is currently booking for the remainder of 2021 and 2022.

A buffet of hors d'oeuvres at the media tour
The Holy Wood cocktail

The tour included cocktail samplings from Travis Owens, beverage director for Wolf's Ridge and Understory and founder of the now-shuttered Curio cocktail bar. Owens lived up to his reputation as one of the city's best bartenders, with inventive, seasonal creations like the Holy Wood (bourbon, fig leaf, jaggery sugar), When Doves Cry (reposado tequila, cumin, grapefruit) and the nonalcoholic Na-nah-na-nah (aperitif, Seedlip Grove 42 nonalcoholic spirit, strawberry, cucumber, soda). Small bites included a luxe charcuterie and cheese spread, BLT bites with bacon jam and tomato on toast, and tuna poke cups, all more than worthy of the Wolf's Ridge name.

Gymnasium wood flooring, brick walls and ceiling-high windows create an urban, industrial-chic feel.

The charm of Understory's event space is located above the brand's public spaces and an outpost of Emmett's Café (both of which have yet to open) in the Open Air Building at 2571 Neil Ave. in Old North Columbus. Designed by Ohio Stadium architect Howard Dwight Smith, the building formerly was a school for children with or at risk of tuberculosis and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.

This historic designation means a number of original details have been preserved or restored, from lockers lining the hallways to the wood-slat gymnasium flooring in the venue space itself, says co-owner Bob Szuter. That, combined with rustic brick walls and contemporary chandeliers with a modern design, give the space an urban-industrial vibe. The space is something of a blank slate, but we envision it decorated with lots of greenery and gold and white details for an uber-trendy vibe.

The venue includes custom-made mobile bars for flexible layout options.

We were also charmed by the venue's custom, hand-painted mobile bars, which allow for greater flexibility in space layout and were designed by Columbus-based Flat Black Commercial Visuals. 

The public patio gives the effect of being among the treetops. It faces the Olentangy River.

Also not to be missed are the building's outdoor spaces. The venue will have its own private terrace, though the downstairs public patio—which gave Understory its name thanks to the way it makes you feel like you're sitting among the trees—could potentially be rented for an additional fee, says Szuter. 

A patio will connect the public spaces on the lower level with nature.