Bier Stube

Columbus, Ohio

Johnnie's Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Exterior

In Short

A hallmark of a gritty south campus of years past, the Bier Stube, in the shadow of the Ohio State University, romantically nestled behind a parking lot and a liquor store, is a must-visit as part of a campus tour, a college night out…or really, any given Tuesday.

Field Rating

6

out of 10

This bar won’t keep south campus alive by itself.

Field Note

The area around THE Ohio State University is an ever-changing mosaic of cheap food, tattoo shops, impulse retail, and there’s probably a book to be bought in there somewhere. South campus in particular has seen massive shifts over the past three decades as the area around the highest concentration of Ohio State dorms has been handed over to planners and developers.

If you believe the world absolutely needs another Great Clips, then this is a good development for you. But if you’re like the rest of us and value the quintessential campus bar, south campus gentrification has been a blood bath. Bars with fantastic names like Mean Mr. Mustard’s and Stache’s are lost to history, but one stalwart of the south campus dive bar scene remains: Bier Stube.

It feels like a bar that was already in place, waiting for a university to be built about 100 years ago.

And walking into the Stube, you can tell. It feels like a bar that was already in place, waiting for a university to be built about 100 years ago. The bar has stood so long in fact, that a local publication devoted an article to the age & longevity of the bar’s jukebox (a device inconsiderate enough to run on CD’s instead of an Internet connection).

Romantic preamble aside, the Stube is an amazing, tiny, cramped, dark place to bring your liver and leave your car keys at home. Set back from the road, the experience even features a lonely walk through a slightly disturbing parking lot behind a liquor store to heighten the excitement. The bar features a single room, a basic bar, a line of booths, a drop ceiling and the aforementioned, visibly worn jukebox that has never known a world without Eric Clapton.

Entertainingly, the bar dart board is strategically placed to encourage puncture wounds among booth drinking college students and the bar’s biggest technical advancement in the last 20 years is probably the arcade beer pong game just inside the front door. Traffic flow in that front door is directed by what looks to be a steel partition forged in about 300 B.C. specifically for that purpose, funneling drinkers in from a modestly-sized, concrete-dominated patio.

What I cannot possibly stress enough is the majesty, glory and beauty of the Bier Stube sign.

What I cannot possibly stress enough is the majesty, glory and beauty of the Bier Stube sign. It’s old, it’s simple, it’s a faded product of dreadful Ohio winters and for some reason it sports sophisticated Old English lettering (“STUBE”) that offers an amazing juxtaposition to the vibe inside. The bar was established in 1966 and the sign wears every one of those years.

A trip to Ohio State isn’t complete without a stroll through the Oval, a drive down High Street, maybe reading a book about physics or something underneath a Buckeye tree, but the Bier Stube offers education of a different sort that should not be missed. Don’t worry, the sign will be impossible to miss.

Photos

The Basics

1479 N High St
Columbus, OH 43201

Classification:
College Dive

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