Bob’s Bar

Columbus, Ohio

Johnnie's Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Exterior

In Short

Self-proclaimed or not, the Cultural Hub of the Midwest wears a dive bar exterior that houses one of the best beer selections in the state. You may not find discourse akin to a classic French salon, but you will find a fine place to shout over a jukebox before stumbling into a falafel joint next door and that’s plenty cultural too.

Field Rating

9

out of 10

8 of the 9 points come from the sign out front alone.

Field Note

Bob’s Bar is an onion. It’s a strikingly robust craft beer oasis wrapped in a dive bar husk that features one of the most brutal restroom layouts in the state of Ohio and a bold, blazing sign outside that shouts “Cultural Hub of the Midwest.”

And Bob’s should have been, could have been a run-of-the-mill strip mall bar with a local clientele and TouchTunes in the corner, dangerously close to a sprawling Target parking lot and a Gamestop a few doors down. But Bob’s is so much more, a fact made clear with one glance at the white sign above the door that proclaims the bar’s cultural hub status to all who enter.

Unless your idea of a pub crawl is beer followed by Bob Evans (not a terrible idea), Bob’s lives on an Uber-only semi-accessible drinking island.

The location is peculiar. A semi-suburban retail megaplex lies just to the north of this divided parking lot off one of Columbus’ main thoroughfares, High Street, shared by a nondescript market, a narrow Greek restaurant (more on that later) and Bob’s. Unless your idea of a pub crawl is beer followed by Bob Evans (not a terrible idea), Bob’s lives on an Uber-only semi-accessible drinking island.

Food trucks post up outside on a frequent basis, but the real Bob’s experience is one that includes a trip to the Pita Hut, trademark eternally pending no doubt. Somehow more narrow than Bob’s cramped confines, a host of traditional Mediterranean favorites are available here, just a few steps from the cultural hub, basking in its beer-soaked aura. Many a night for many a Bob’s patron has included a late night stop at Pita Hut to stem a downward spiral.

Bob’s layout is narrow, it’s long, and it’s dotted with enough roadblocks, enclaves and barriers to make a trip to the bathroom on a Saturday night a time for prayer and hope for safe passage. And may your bladder be blessed that night as the bathrooms borrow heavily from the narrow-living motif of the bar, making for some tricky angles, fleeting privacy and expedient exits.

And you can get a Black Label, too, and that kind of flexibility is immensely valuable on a given night.

Bob’s features the basics of any good bar, but it’s the beer selection that earns the title above the door. And that selection is egalitarian, equal parts High Life and triple dry hopped fruited lactose-infused milkshake IPA, providing not just outlets for every socioeconomic capability but also endless potential adjustment throughout a beer-soaked night. Bob’s at times features beer on tap found nowhere else in Columbus and potentially found nowhere else in Ohio. And you can get a Black Label, too, and that kind of flexibility is immensely valuable on a given night.

Once a year the rotating beer selection, creative and expansive in its construction, culminates in Bob’s Anniversary Party, a destination event for anyone that values the intoxicating mix of a world-class dive bar selling deliciously diverse beer to a devoted, drunk and feisty fan base.

And that’s the real joy of Bob’s, a neighborhood bar in a strip mall adjacent to a big box retailer inexplicably selling some of the world’s best beer without the pretension that so often accompanies it. Arranging an evening out in Columbus? Tell your friends to meet you at the Cultural Hub.

Photos

The Basics

4961 N High St
Columbus, OH 43214

Classification:
Neighborhood Bar

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