Closing time: Phil Richardson of Angry Bear Kitchen

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Phil Richardson is no stranger to the local bar scene: With a nearly 12-year bartending career in Columbus, he's done stints at Brownstone (now Sidebar), Park Street Patio, Lindey's and, most recently, Basi Italia. Now, he's the force behind the cocktail menu at Angry Bear Kitchen, which opened in Old North in May.

"These are farm-to-table guys," Richardson says of the owners and the restaurant's concept. He works to incorporate those fresh ingredients into the drinks. "It's keeping an elevated mindset. It's fun with the fresh fruit and herbs, and it's being bold at the same time."

Richardson credits a love of learning with fueling his excitement for the gig.

"I've learned a variety of different things, and I've seen the trends, from flavored vodka to mixology," Richardson says. "And I've had a lot of consistent regulars throughout the years. When you know people that long, you've built a friendship."

What's your favorite cocktail at Angry Bear Kitchen?

Our margarita. We do a lot of shrubs here. We do a tomatillo and jalapeno shrub, and that's in the ABK Margarita. It has that smoked flavor-it's something different.

Any recommended Angry Bear food and drink pairings?

I love bourbon, and I love beef. I think these work well together, so I like any beef dish with a whiskey cocktail. We have a play on a Manhattan called an Old Man (bourbon, sweet vermouth, chai, fig and orgeat syrup). I like that with our hanger steak.

As the temperatures cool down, what's a good cocktail to warm up?

Bourbon is always great when it cools down. Any kind of cider with apple and cinnamon. And I love tequila. My two favorite spirits are bourbon and tequila.

Where's the best brunch spot in Columbus?

Lindey's. I used to work there, and I love the eggs benedict. It always stands out to me.

If you need a quick meal, where do you grab and go?

I always go to Press [Grill]. It's quick and easy, and I know everyone there. It's my go-to.

Where do you go for a special occasion?

Probably G. Michael's. I love the food and the decor of the place. It seems very celebratory. Or The Top Steak House. We also do celebratory things there, like our Christmas dinner. We go there a lot for birthdays and holidays. It seems like during the holidays, that's where we end up.

Any favorite neighborhood haunts?

Typically, it's always Beck Tavern and Club 185. Those are my two spots. Curio is great, too.

Short Orders: Where Phil Richardson goes for something specific

Mexican It's Latin, but El Arepazo in the Gay Street alley. I go there once a week. Typically I get the carne asada. It's egg, avocado, black beans-it's pretty top notch.

Italian Always Giuseppe's. I [order] a lot of their specials, but any of their pastas are great. I love how it's small and quaint, and there are a lot of cool people who work there.

Food Truck I don't do food trucks that often, but we're right by Ray Ray's [Hog Pit]. Barbecue is my favorite kind of food. I go there two times a week.

Sandwich I always stick to German Village stuff. I love Brown Bag [Deli]. They have good sandwiches. I love the No. 2, the Village Addiction. It's got turkey and a cranberry mayo.

Atmosphere Club 185. There's something about that place-it's familiar to me. It's home to me. It's been part of my life since I moved back here from college.