What you missed in Columbus for May 18

Joel Oliphint
In spite of COVID-19 crowd limitations, a crowd gathers to drink at Standard Hall, a bar in Columbus' Short North Art District, on Friday, May 15, at about 11 pm.

Short North bro bar Standard Hall was the talk of the town this weekend, and not because of the sweet mojitos and boozy lemonade served at the former home of Little Brother's. On Friday night — the first evening Gov. DeWine allowed Ohio restaurants to open for outdoor dining, with certain restrictions — videos and photos began circulating on social media showing a packed Standard Hall patio. Diners and drinkers mingled shoulder to shoulder without face masks, apparently embracing all aspects of "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die."

The Dispatch captured the scene with a photo gallery, and CNN even picked up on the scene, bringing DeWine on to Jake Tapper's "State of the Union" to discuss restaurants and bars in Columbus that don't seem to be complying with the governor's rules and restrictions. "The good news is that the ownership, the people running the bar, seemed to get control of it last night. We didn’t have to issue any citation. We did issue a citation for another bar in Columbus,” DeWine said.

According to the DispatchColumbus Public Health spokeswoman Kelli Newman said that officials continually monitored Standard Hall on Saturday and issued repeated warnings about overcrowding. Newman also said CPH sent a report to the city prosecutor for enforcement.

Yesterday, Standard Hall owner Chris Corso of Corso Ventures, which also owns the Short North Food Hall, Forno and other Short North establishments, told the Dispatch that Standard Hall was unfairly targeted. In addition to calling Standard hall the No. 1 Uber destination in Ohio (huh?), Corso claimed that it's nearly impossible to enforce social distancing in a restaurant that emphasizes social interaction. “I think their ideas may be useful for a traditional restaurant. But we’re more about the social experience. ... You can only separate so much,” Corso said, while also claiming to have followed the guidelines. 

No word yet on the identity of Ohio's No. 2 Uber destination. 


Yet another Short North bar, the recently opened TownHall, managed to get embroiled in another controversy over the weekend. In this Facebook post, and as reported by Cleveland's WKYC, TownHall's general manager, Ryan Hartzell, is being accused of making racist comments online. Supposedly it went down this way: On Facebook, someone posted, "Damn, imagine risking your life just to eat at Townhall." Kinda funny, right? Hartzell didn't seem to think so, because he allegedly responded, "We all risk our lives every day on different levels regardless of the virus. Stop with the fear mongering. If you hate this country so much go back to the one you came from." Ugh.


The best thing on television — 10-part Michael Jordan documentary "The Last Dance" — came to an end last night, proving once again that Larry Bird can't hold a candle to Jordan's greatness.