Cocktails/Wine Bars in Columbus, OH
Wine on High is a wine shop for just about anyone. They carry over 300 different wines from around the world, but don’t treat you any differently if you head straight for a bottle that costs less than $10 (they have more than 60 of these, by the way!). The owner is almost always in the shop and is great at directing you toward a bottle you’ll love without sounding pretentious. The store sells wine, craft beer, cigars, barware and home ware. Upstairs, in The Loft, they serve beers and wines that can be purchased at their store. Once a month they offer a tasting of 20 different wines. If you pay in advance by at least three hours, you can score your tickets for $20 each. At the door, it’s $25. You can buy tickets online, but there’s a fee. Avoid that by calling directly or stopping by.
Camelot Cellars is so much more than a wine shop and wine bar. Not only do they make their own local wine, but you can make your own, too! Their staff will help you put together flavors you love and take you through the entire process of producing wine. You leave it to them to process, then come back in a few months and bottle, cork and label it. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can choose one of their pre-made wines, then bottle and cork it and add your own label. Camelot Cellars does rent out space for events. Rentable spaces range from a single table to a room or the entire winery. Most of the wines here are a little on the sweet side, so if that’s your thing, you’ll be in heaven.
The Wine Bistro is more of a tiny wine shop with a few small tables crammed into the middle. Usually, this creates a cozy feel, but when they get crowded things can become uncomfortable. They offer a small menu of sides and pasta dishes, but these can be hit or miss. Wine by the bottle is sold at state minimum prices, so it’s no different than you’ll find at the grocery store. By the glass, though, things start to get expensive. Your best bet is to buy the whole bottle and have it re-corked if you don’t finish it off. Stop by on Monday or Tuesday, when corking and re-corking fees are waived.
SideBar 122 has been a welcome addition to Columbus’ downtown scene. The speakeasy décor puts you at ease as soon as you walk through the door, and the tiny tables are perfect for a romantic date or gossiping with a girlfriend. They make signature cocktails, one at a time, just like in the 1920s. The bartenders use real fruit juice and no powder or syrups mixes, which always makes for a great drink. Drinks are moderately priced, and meals are available in full-size or half-size dishes if you’re hungry. Since it’s downtown, you’ll be glad to know that SideBar offers free valet Monday through Saturday nights after 5 p.m.
This small town wine bar and bistro is moving up. Formerly a tiny wine store with a tiny restaurant on the edge of Canal Winchester, they’ve opened a newer location in the heart of the village. Just 10 minutes southeast of Columbus, it’s an easy trek for an evening away from the city. They have a large wine selection, although per glass prices are high and corking fees per bottle are high as well. If you’re buying to-go, it’s a good deal. The food is delicious, but service is usually slow, so it’s not a place you should stop if you’re in a hurry. They’re closed on Sundays and don’t open until 4 p.m. the rest of the week, so it’s a dinner-only destination.