Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern

Columbus, Ohio

Johnnie's Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Exterior

In Short

A few blocks east of Ohio State’s main campus, Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern is a campus dive bar mixed with a craft beer pub. Especially when the Ohio weather cooperates and the pair of outdoor patios are open, Oldfield’s feels like a classic neighborhood bar that benefits from its location close enough to campus to draw the right kind of crowd but far enough away to not draw too big of one.

Field Rating

6

out of 10

Ask for the Chitshow. It’s a drink. Don’t worry.

Field Note

A few blocks from The Ohio State University’s main campus, Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern feels like a craft beer bar crossed with a classic campus dive. A corner plot in a perpetually evolving neighborhood made up of chiefly off-campus student housing, Oldfield’s boasts a deep beer and liquor menu sourced entirely from the state of Ohio. And though one might expect a little snobbery with a high end, local-only craft beer selection, there is no snobbery to be found in Oldfield’s single room dive bar footprint.

Oldfield’s is the perfect place for a college student to grab a beer who may be uninterested in fighting throngs of people crawling up and down High Street, Ohio State’s main artery. The nature of Oldfield’s part of town has changed over the years, some redevelopment slowly encroaching on the building, but it still feels removed from the hive of activity that 50,000 students can create just a couple of blocks to the west. This is a campus bar built for drinking, and drinking pretty respectably at that.

It’s easy to envision the Oldfield’s location as a storefront from years gone by, windowed walls funneling to a front door like some kind of old-school clothing store.

It’s easy to envision the Oldfield’s location as a storefront from years gone by, windowed walls funneling to a front door like some kind of old-school clothing store. The door perpetually describes the long line of daily specials and occasional events. And though fresh work has been done to the building and the sign above the door, the Oldfield’s story traces back to 1951 and a second now defunct location along Ohio State’s north campus High Street corridor.

Inside, the description of the space is pretty simple, a square open footprint with a bar commanding one wall and a handful of tables throughout. An elevated platform just inside the front window offers a little bit of separation and doubles as a stage for occasional live music acts. The extensive beer selection is readily apparent thanks to the long line of taps. Provided menus feature pizzas and strombolis prominently.

The outdoor space makes for a true neighborhood vibe when the Ohio weather agrees.

Work continues to be done on maximizing Oldfield’s outdoor space, including a TV-laden back patio and fenced-off sidewalk seating that wraps around the bar’s corner location. In line with other nearby bars that have popped up over the years, the outdoor space makes for a true neighborhood vibe when the Ohio weather agrees.

Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern is, in the end, a campus bar that feels like it is only tenuously connected to Ohio State’s campus. Just a handful of blocks removed from Ohio State proper, Oldfield’s can feel like a world away, a craft beer destination disguised as a neighborhood haunt catering to assembled off-campus students. That a robust selection of local beers can be found within only heightens the allure of Oldfield’s as a classic neighborhood dive bar.

Photos

The Basics

1571 N 4th St
Columbus, OH 43201

Classification:
Downtown Dive

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