Short Order: Mussels and More at The Crafty Pint

Beth Stallings
Coconut Mussel Bowl

Ahhh. This is the sigh of relief I breathed on my first visit to The Crafty Pint-a place that bills itself as a beer-centric, playful pub-grub gastropub. Why the elation? Because lately, the term "gastropub" is both overused and thrown at any bar with food. This Linworth eatery, however, fits the definition-a place that gives equal credence to both what's flowing out of the taps and coming out of the kitchen.

Though the bar space itself is small, there are 40 beers on tap that rotate pretty regularly. Several kegs had been changed minutes before a Friday night visit. Servers seem well-versed on what's available, too, as our waitress conversationally answered questions about a Seventh Son session ale and an Ommegang summer brew. While the bar plays favorites with local beers, there are also classic picks from craft breweries from Kentucky to Colorado.

The menu is a perfect example of an all-pleaser. There are kids meals served in old-school lunch boxes, salads, flatbreads and steak and seafood entrees. The best bets are on the beer-friendly small-plates menu with options like sweet Honey Bourbon Wings ($9) and yeasty hand-braided soft pretzels ($7) worth ordering for the not-too-hot and sweet habanero dipping sauce alone. The standout is the Coconut Mussel Bowl ($9) with a rich and spicy ginger and coconut broth so good, we ordered extra bread to sop it up. If you're truly hungry, skip the ho-hum Paprika Pork Tacos ($9) and order the ale-cheese topped Crafty Burger ($13) served with a side of sweet-and-spicy tempura pickles.

Run by the owner of Rude Dog, The Crafty Pint is the kind of place that takes itself seriously enough to be good, but not enough to be stuffy. Every table is equipped with outdated Trivial Pursuit cards and salt and pepper shakers made from airplane-size liquor bottles. Checks come tucked into Dr. Seuss books. So arrive with the same attitude. 2234 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., Linworth, 614-468-1675,