After court, before court, really any time.
There are some truly metaphysical forces in play at The Main Bar, a standalone, mostly vertical building that, as I write this, still exists in a rapidly developing piece of Columbus, but it’s probably best to check before each visit. The proximity of the bar to a combination of businesses, downtown hotels and a series of state & country courts makes the clientele robustly diverse.
The parking lots that surround The Main Bar have, one by one, slowly transformed into apartment buildings that look suspiciously like every other urban apartment building and it seems likely that time will one day take The Main Bar’s plot of land too. I’m not sure how to give ‘sore thumb’ a positive connotation, but the bar sticks out in the best kind of way, like the last outpost of what was once a much more desolate downtown.
The mural painted around the outside of the building is a recent occurrence, part of a one-time bid to freshen up the area that included a full alley transformation that has since been undone by the march of progress. But the octopus tentacle climbing one wall of the bar remains, a beckoning site inscribed with ‘kiss me like a left hook.’
Inside, the bar is a true shotgun layout, with one narrow room giving way to another slightly narrower room that eventually winds to a black porch so enclosed by tall wooden fencing that it blocks all sense of time and place, usually a good thing for a night of drinking. The front room is divided into two areas all served by a common long bar and arranged in a layout that provides little room for such exotic activities such as standing or walking.
The beer selection has added a bell or whistle here and there, an ode to the wildly disparate drinkers attracted to the location, but domestic dive bar staples are alive and well here. And they draw a loyal drinking crew that ambles in and ambles out, sometimes for a shot on the way to someplace else, sometimes for a handful of shots in order to be no place else.
And that’s it. That’s the review. There isn’t more to write because there isn’t more to The Main Bar and that’s probably its greatest strength. The amenities and offers are exactly what they need to be. The bar is a perfect confluence of factors, resulting in the right bar for this right location. All walks of life are drawn for a common experience, a tiny brick-enclosed alcohol oasis amid a changing urban landscape somewhere beyond the front door, and sometimes that’s all a bar needs to be.