Service Bar Announces Reopening Date, New Chef

The Middle West Spirits restaurant will make its return in mid-October after more than a yearlong closure.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Inside Service Bar, the restaurant from Middle West Spirits

Service Bar, the acclaimed Short North restaurant from Middle West Spirits, has announced its long-awaited reopening date: Oct. 13.  

On Friday, the local grain-to-glass distillery also officially announced Service Bar’s new executive chef, Chris Connolly, an Ohio native who carries an impressive fine-dining resume. Connolly joins the Service Bar fold following the departure of prior executive chef Avishar Barua, a former Top Chef contestant who has since struck out on his own with Joya’s Café  in Old Worthington.  

Connolly’s 11-year career includes a stage stint at Chicago’s Alinea, followed by experience at Virginia’s The Inn at Little Washington near Shenandoah National Park and the luxury hotel Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 2016, Connolly joined The Greenbrier, the famed West Virginia resort, as chef de cuisine. 

Service Bar executive chef Chris Connolly

“We are beyond thrilled to have Chris return to Ohio to helm the kitchen at Service Bar,” said Middle West Spirits co-founder and CEO Ryan Lang in an emailed announcement. “His contemporary, ingredient-driven menu is rooted in classic techniques, which perfectly complements our spirits. Chris and his team will help us showcase the very best of Ohio hospitality. 

 Located adjacent to Middle West’s distillery in the Short North, Service Bar (1230 Courtland Ave.) opened in 2017 and quickly made its debut at No. 5 on Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants list in 2018, thanks to Barua’s inventive menu paired with a top-notch cocktail program designed to showcase Middle West Spirits. In 2020, Barua and Service Bar quickly shifted to a well-received carryout menu until June 2021, when the restaurant shut down for renovations.  

The return of Service Bar is welcome news to the city’s upscale dining scene, which has been battered over the past two years. Recent closures include The Market: Food & Drink, Cleaver, Ambrose and Eve, and G. Michael’s Bistro & Bar. 

Service Bar will begin accepting reservations on Oct. 10 at