When you think "bourbon," the first place that comes to mind is probably Kentucky. But with all due respect to our neighbors across the river, Ohio has plenty to offer when it comes to the most American of spirits. In every corner of the Buckeye State, you'll find great bourbon bars where you can sip your favorite whiskey neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a unique craft cocktail. Let's all raise a glass to the best bourbon bars in Ohio!
It's hard to imagine a better hangout for bourbon aficionados than the Whiskey Bar. With its straight-to-the-point name and welcoming speakeasy vibes, it's a perfect place to sit and sip awhile. And with over 400 varieties of whiskey on deck, it's unlikely you'll run out of spirits to sample. The Whiskey Bar also has a friendly, easy-going staff of bartenders who are always happy to help you find the perfect bourbon for any palate. This is definitely a hidden gem in the Cleveland area.
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Offering one of the best bourbon collections in Northeast Ohio, Society Lounge is a staple of the Cleveland bar scene. With its stylish interior and Roaring 20s-inspired atmosphere, drinking here almost feels like stepping back in time. Society lounge is best known for their expertly-mixed craft cocktails (bourbon fans should sample the 'Death in New York') and prohibition-era ambiance, but they also offer a huge selection of spirits. Expect to be able to choose from 30-plus bourbons at any given time, and with a healthy selection of rye, scotch, and gin to boot.
The Bourbon Review named Oak & Embers one of the best bourbon bars in America in 2019, and they definitely know what they're talking about. This hole-in-the-wall in Chesterfield is all about the three B's: bourbon, barbecue, and beer. They serve an amazing selection of bourbon and craft beer to go with their smoky, savory pulled pork, beef brisket, and baby back ribs. And if you're in the mood for a cocktail, try one of their bourbon-centric signature mixed drinks. The "Follow the Smoke" is made with Makers Mark bourbon, Campari and Dolan sweet vermouth smoked with hickory.
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You'll find no shortage of great whiskey bars in Columbus, and the Buckeye Bourbon House is definitely one of the best. Their bourbon shelf is a thing of beauty, and they're always highlighting new and exciting bourbons, including a lot of small-batch spirits made right here in Ohio. They have over 50 whiskeys and bourbons to choose from, as well as crafty cocktails and a menu of elevated pub grub. They even offer bourbon flights for those who want to savor the different flavors. Buckeye Bourbon House also made Bourbon Review's ranking of the best bourbon bars in the Midwest for 2021.
Over 300 whiskeys are just waiting to be sampled at the Alibi Bourbon & Cocktail Lounge, a High Street hangout that might just offer the best bourbon selection in Columbus. This cozy, intimate space is the perfect place to enjoy drinks with friends and enjoy the Prohibition-themed decor. In addition to a deep roster of bourbons, the Alibi Bourbon & Cocktail Lounge offers an incredible array of signature cocktails that run the gamut from approachable and sweet to bitter and spirit-forward. You'll never run out of new flavors to try here, but if you want a basic Old Fashioned made just the way you like it, this is a great place for that too.
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A beloved staple of Columbus' Grandview Heights neighborhood, Barrel & Taps has everything you need for a good time. They always have a well-curated selection of bourbon ready to pour and craft beer on tap, and the indoor bar and outdoor patio each invite guests to stay awhile and enjoy themselves. There's a good chance there will be a food truck or two on-site if you get a little hungry. And with regular events like trivia nights, live music, and yoga on the patio, there's pretty much always something fun going on at Barrel & Taps.
Having been awarded Best Creative Cocktails two years running in 614's ColumBest poll, High Bank Distillery Co. takes drinks seriously. Bourbon is featured in cocktails such as the End of Anxiety, which pairs nicely with the restaurant's many shareables. We're partial to the Crispy Brussels with sweet chili glaze and Shrimp Tacos with adobo marinated shrimp. In addition to Grandview, the owners of this bar and eatery are scheduled to open a second location in the Gahanna/New Albany area this year.
Cincinnati is just a stone's throw across the Ohio River from Kentucky, so it should come as no surprise that the city has a lot to offer bourbon aficionados. The Littlefield is a great example. This hip Northside hangout features an eclectic interior and a breezy patio space, along with a great bourbon selection and plenty of local craft beers on tap. They make great cocktails too, like "The Fergus," made with bourbon, balsamic vinaigrette, ginger beer, and basil simple syrup. The Littlefield is also known for their elevated pub fare and Sunday brunch, which always includes vegan and vegetarian options alongside staples like burgers and shrimp-and-grits
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You might never have guessed that biscuits and bourbon went together, but you will after visiting Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey. Their biscuit plates and biscuit sandwiches are to die for. Try the Rosewood—Korean fried chicken, house-made kimchi, and Gochujang BBQ between two golden, butter biscuits—and chase it with a house cocktail like the Boomtown Gold Rush or the Gold Fashioned. Boomtown always has around 50 varieties of bourbon, scotch, whiskey, and rye as well, and their whole vibe revolves around a creative take on classic American frontier food and drink.
Known for being a great happy hour hangout, Hop Scotch Craft Beer & Whiskey is the perfect place to grab a drink after work. They have a huge selection of bourbon and whiskey, along with plenty of excellent craft beer. The staff behind the bar is reliably friendly and knowledgeable, and weekly specials like karaoke and mix-and-match craft beer buckets, there's always a good time to be had. Hop Scotch has 100-plus varieties of whiskey and a menu of staple pub fare like wings and flatbread pizzas.
Ohio offers no shortage of great bourbon bars. What's your favorite watering hole?
Photo courtesy of Arch City TavernNamed after the famous arches sprinkled throughout Columbus' High Street at the turn of the century, Arch City Tavern is a neighborhood gastropub with a fine selection of burgers, sandwiches, craft beers and cocktails. Enjoy their classic atmosphere during their happy hour, where you can get half off of all drafts, wines by the glass and their delicious pizzas along with a plethora of other fantastic specials. For an even greater deal, stop by on Mondays for their five dollar burger special all day. 584 North High Street | Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., Everyday, 4-9 p.m. Bar 23 is a bar and lounge centered on the east side of North High Street in the Short North District. While you can almost always find a game on one of their large flat screen TVs, they don't consider themselves to be exclusively a sports bar. On the weekends, enjoy a more lounge atmosphere, with larger crowds and a DJ. Their weekday happy hour consists of half-priced appetizers along with their daily special of half-priced martinis from four to nine p.m. 1044 High Street | Monday-Friday, 4-8 p.m. Bodega encourages you to come for the beer and stay for the food — and we couldn't agree more. They offer over 200 beers, 47 of them on tap, along with a fresh and inventive American pub-style menu. In addition to their daily specials, they offer half-priced draughts during their weekly happy hour. Be sure to stop in for their "$1 Grilled Cheese Monday" or their "$3 Gourmet Taco Tuesday" — which just may be the best thing ever. 987 North 4th Street | Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Cosecha CocinaLocated in Italian Village, Cosecha Cocina is a local favorite for their refreshing margaritas and delicious Mexican-inspired street food. Their menu includes traditional bites like tamales, tostadas, tacos and enchiladas — all with an innovative twist. Visit them during their happy hour during the week for $5 margaritas and $3 tacos along with $2 chips and salsas, Pacifico, and Negro Modello! 65 East Gay Street | Monday-Friday, 3-6:30 p.m. Dui Amici is located in a renovated, historic building in downtown Columbus and has been serving some of the best Italian fare in the area since opening in 2003. Their menu features classic Italian dishes along with some modern and creative twists on lunch, brunch and dinner items. During their happy hour, you can try their pizzas, appetizers, beers, wine and mules in the bar and cocktail area — all for half of their usual prices. 335 West 3rd Avenue | Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. This neighborhood spot is nestled in Victorian Village. Whether you're looking for a spot to catch up with some friends or a place to catch the game, Harrison's on Third offers something for everyone. Stop by during their happy hour for a plethora of reasonably priced options, including discounted draft and craft beers, half-off all bottles of wine, $3 pizzas, $6.99 appetizers, and more! 595 South 3rd Street | Monday-Friday, 4:30-7 p.m. G. Michael's Bistro and Bar offers a menu full of locally sourced, seasonal food to give their patrons a unique and high-quality dining experience. Every innovative dish is inspired by the South's "low-country" flair — the perfect compliment to their relaxed-upscale atmosphere. Visit them during happy hour for $6 craft cocktails, $3 select draught beers, $5 wine pours and $8 small plates! 624 North High Street | Monday-Friday, 4:30-7 p.m. With one of the most artistic and delicious menus around, The Guild House may just be Columbus' best-kept secret. They offer creative American cuisine that is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and use as many locally grown ingredients as possible. The fantastic deals during their happy hour include half-price featured wines, cocktails and beers along with items from the "Raw", "Market" and "Appetizer" menu sections. 2971 North High Street | Tuesday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. This sleek and chic neighborhood brewpub is located in an old car wash that has been transformed into a modern space with a friendly atmosphere. The brewers are constantly on a quest to create the perfect pint, so you're in for some innovative and creative brews when you visit. Plus, this brewery is dog-friendly so you can bring your pup along for the ride. Their happy hour includes deals like $1 off draft beers, wine, cider, cocktails and shareable appetizers. 693 North High Street | Sunday-Friday, 3-8 p.m. Since 1988, Mac's has been a Short North Arts District favorite, where people love to gather and unwind after exploring the neighborhood. Their menu is full of tasty, Scottish-inspired dishes, from Scotch eggs and Cornish pastries to Guinness stew and bangers and mash. Head over after a long day and enjoy their happy hour menu that features $3.50 drafts and half off appetizers, bottles of wine and much more! 1195 North High Street | Tuesday-Friday, 5-7 p.m. With locations in Brooklyn, Chicago, Baltimore and Columbus — Paulie Gees taking the country by storm. This critically acclaimed pizzeria offers Neapolitan-style pies made in a wood-burning oven, along with local beers and wine. During happy hour, you can get their signature and vegan pizzas for $10 and their famous pizza flights for only $20. After you've had your pizza fix, wash it down with discounted specialty cocktails and select wine pours. 413 North Front Street | Monday-Friday, 2-8 p.m. on non-nationwide arena evet days R Bar is located in the Arena District of downtown Columbus and is the best place in the city to watch a game thanks to their more than 30 flat screen TVs. They offer a rotating, seasonal tap full of local craft beers, as well as an extensive menu full of your sports bar favorites. Visit during happy hour for a plethora of discounted drinks and their famous appetizers at half the usual price. 122 East Main Street | Monday, Wednesday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. Nestled downtown, Sidebar 122 is a go-to spot for live jazz, upscale cuisine and high-quality service. Their menu features dishes with Mediterranean flare intermingled with South American inspired small-plates. During their happy hour, you can enjoy $2-$4 bottled beer, $6 wine, $10 pizzas, and much more! Plus, don't forget to stop by on Tuesdays for their "Tapas Tuesday" special. 73 East Gay Street | Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. Enjoy Ohio comfort foods, fantastic whiskey concoctions, live music and pinball — all in this artsy neighborhood bar. You can enjoy their happy hour during the week, which offers $2 off Ohio draft beers, $3 Watershed Liquors and half-off select appetizers. Also, make sure to visit during the weekend whenever you can and grab brunch (our favorite meal of the day) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.