Meister’s Bar

Columbus, Ohio

Johnnie's Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Exterior

In Short

A contrast to affluent Grandview that surrounds it, Byrne’s bucks the fake Irish pub stereotype with live Irish music, the smallest stage in the city and a pizza hole that has to be experienced to be properly appreciated.

Field Rating

7

out of 10

Come for deep dish, stay for the Bird’s Nest.

Field Note

The first few times I visited Meister’s Bar, I would routinely get lost along the way. The neighborhood might technically be referred to as Grandview, one of the nicer near-suburbs in central Columbus, but its real location is probably better described as “in-between.” The bar’s closest neighbors are nondescript office buildings, a strip mall a couple of blocks away that has seen a steady rotation of tenets and a flower shop so confusing that it has a street address in its name that it isn’t located along.

Meister’s occupies a building that one local publication referred to as “rather rundown” and while that description can’t really be argued with, the beauty of this classic Columbus dive bar comes from that architectural truth. The bar sits well above street level, ample parking on the back, small boxed in patio along the front, deeply Germanic, lit-up sign towering over all of it.

A handful of the high top tables have a view through a metal railing into a half-floor up, where a short staircase spills out into a hyper-cozy darts room named the “Bird’s Nest”

The parking lot in back complements a few spots out front, notable because of the massive Jägermeister-themed mural that runs the length of the space, proclaiming the name of the bar as if there could be any mistake. Two pool tables dominate the main room, with high tops sprinkled throughout the space. A long L-shaped bar travels nearly the full length of the front room and the joint between the two arms serves as the natural collection point for beers, drunks and lines.

A handful of the high top tables have a view through a metal railing into a half-floor up, where a short staircase spills out into a hyper-cozy darts room named the “Bird’s Nest” that typically attracts more people than it can reasonably handle on any given weekend evening. The same can be said for Meister’s overall really, a dive bar perhaps a little too popular to really hold the term, with the main spot broken up by seating just well enough to make traversing a busy room on a Friday night a feat of physical endurance.

A small window serves as the barrier between bar and pizza kitchen, where arguably the best deep-dish pizza in Columbus is concocted.

But the real magic happens just around the bend, past the pool tables, where a small window serves as the barrier between bar and pizza kitchen, where arguably the best deep-dish pizza in Columbus is concocted. Pizza by the slice and subs are offered but are really just distractions from the deep dish itself, a magnificent addition to or remedy for a long night of drinking. Make no mistake, the pizza is worth whatever wait is offered.

Of course, as is tradition for a Midwestern dive bar, the full space is covered in wood paneling, from main bar to Bird’s Nest, creating a feeling of warmth complemented by the hardwood throughout the first floor. And that’s Meister’s, really, a floor and a half of often packed-in drinking space perfect for an Ohio winter night, particularly so with deep dish in hand.

Photos

The Basics

1168 Chambers Rd
Columbus, OH 43212

Classification:
Neighborhood Bar

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