Evert night is theme night, in a good way.
Despite its prime location along primary Columbus thoroughfare High Street, Eldorado’s Food & Spirits is set just far enough off the road that it can sometimes go unnoticed despite a very not subtle sign that features a Chevy El Dorado driving off into the sunset. On the border of Columbus neighborhoods Clintonville and Beechwold, the real story here is the time, energy and devotion poured into the bar by mother-daughter team Debbie Day and Nebbie Cassidy.
Veterans of multiple bars, Debbie and Nebbie purchased the Eldorado’s space in 1993, opening the Columbus dive bar in 1994. Nebbie in particular has extensive experience in bar ownership, the Eldorado’s Food & Spirits web site detailing a laundry list of prior stops. Fascinatingly, Debbie’s backstory includes a long stint in harness racing, Deb serving as jockey for over 1,000 races drawing over $500,000 in purse winnings. In the 1965 Miss World contest, Debbie finished in second place competing for Miss Ohio, another enthralling chapter in the ownership behind Eldorado’s. A retirement part was held for Debbie at one point, but the idleness didn’t stick and Debbie returned to action shortly thereafter.
Across mother and daughter, their combined character and expertise can be seen within Eldorado’s Food & Spirits, a building that has seen extensive renovation, much of it happening during a pandemic-prompted closure in 2020. Almost every aspect of Eldorado’s Food & Spirits has seen enhancement, from marketing assets like the web site and logo to nearly every fixture inside the bar. Vintage dive bar carpet was replaced in 2020 with fresh flooring, the interior repainted, the bar resurfaced, bar rails replaced, new taps installed, a new drum riser installed and an improved sound system added to the bar’s live music setup.
Eldoardo’s has been reimagined in part as a live music destination, built around local mainstay Willie Phoenix and a host of live acts that rotate through the bar. Entertainment extends well beyond live music, Eldorado’s Food & Spirits offering a laundry list of dive bar-friendly activities from Thanksgiving potlucks to golf outings to karaoke. In true neighborhood bar fashion, something always seems to be happening at Eldorado’s. not only an intentional mechanism to draw business but an organic reflection of the communal nature of drinking at a local spot like Eldorado’s. Regulars here have bene cultivated by Debbie & Nebbie over decades, the Eldorado’s seen today a reflection of family-owned dedication.
A short porch that during the winter months is adjusted to feel more like a screened-in wind shelter sits just to the left of the bar’s main door, an outdoor smoking alcove of sorts. Inside, the layout could not be more familiar, bar just to the left, large seating area to the right, pool tables in back. The bar itself winds through this main area, creating ample seating opportunities lining the short wall of the building before stretching out into the main space.
While not specifically a sports bar, the television setup at Eldorado’s is robust, particularly in and around the bar. In addition to televisions mounted to the short ledge that hangs over the bar, additional televisions are mounted on the interior of that same ledge, allowing those sitting at the bar prime viewing angles on these underhanging screens. Christmas lights line this bar area, providing a little extra ‘dive bar’ ambiance to the proceedings.
The upgraded stage is certainly structured well to host live music but similarly fits Eldorado’s karaoke nights. A raised, dedicated, professionally-lit half circle of a stage juts out into the main room, a mural behind the stage of, you guessed it, a Chevy El Dorado. Two pool tables sit just next to the stage in a separate space, a game room extension off of what is already a deceptively large footprint inside.
Trivia nights, open mic events and other community-driving activities are also hosted here, the setup ideal for the rotating calendar hosted by Eldorado’s. Free dart, pool and pinball hours are available for special events, providing a reason to stop in for a beer quite literally every day of the month. And if all of that weren’t enough, a food menu includes a host of well-loved appetizers as well as a selection of subs, sandwiches, pizza and daily specials, the kitchen amazingly open until 2 AM.
Eldorado’s Food & Spirits serves up a constant stream of communal events, filling the Columbus dive bar’s calendar with unique and compelling reasons to visit almost every day. The working relationship and combined expertise of mother-daughter team Debbie and Nebbie is allowed to shine through, the bar under constant reinvention that makes for a better and better experience every visit.