The word hovel is used here lovingly.
In a seriously loving sense, Beck Tavern looks like the type of hovel that might exist in something referred to as The Shire. It’s an adult-sized establishment. It has appropriately-shaped doors, pleasantly comfortable seating and pint glasses that fit in human hands. But there’s just something about it that makes you feel like you have to hunch down to enter. Or maybe grow some supplemental body hair in unnatural areas.
A younger person may call it Hagrid’s Hut, but no matter its mythical equivalent, Beck Tavern is just the right kind of hovel. It’s dark. It’s sparsely decorated. It’s satisfyingly caked in wood. It has bizarre and distinguishing traits, like a Hoegaarden tap that’s been there for years, for some reason. There’s nothing quite like Beck Tavern (not even High Beck Tavern, a few blocks away, not to be confused).
Nestled in maybe the most picturesque part of Columbus, German Village, Beck Tavern offers just the right kind of contrast to ritzy, expensive, old-school restaurant Lindey’s down the street. Drink a $14 martini a few cobblestone steps away, stumble into Beck’s Tavern for a $3 Bud Light for a nightcap. Actually scratch that, make it a $2.50 PBR.
Built so long ago that I think perhaps people were just naturally shorter, a series of wooden booths line one wall, permanently structured to bring intimacy among knees. A handful of group seating locations are, again mysteriously, constructed atop elevated platforms, showcasing your family’s RBV-fueled disagreements for all to see.
The dart boards are cramped together to encourage what might be politely referred to as mingling. The bar seats are rare, close together and slightly uncomfortable. Available bar space is at a premium. The bathrooms hold about one Midwestern man at a time. It’s cozy. Am I getting that much across? It’s quite cozy.
And as is the case for many a great dive bar, that’s the magic of Beck Tavern. Picture a cold Midwestern winter day, uneven streets outside caked with perma-snow, and this little hovel of a bar is warm, welcoming, fueled by inexpensive beer served judiciously in cramped quarters. Beck Tavern is the right kind of hobbit-sized dive bar. Especially if you’re hankering for a Hoegaarden.