Columbus, Ohio, the state capital, is known for its vibrant culture, friendly locals, and thriving arts scene. This bustling city also boasts an electric nightlife that offers an unforgettable experience for partygoers and night owls alike. From chic bars to pulsating nightclubs, Columbus nightlife has something for everyone, whether you’re a local looking for a new spot or a visitor seeking the best places to unwind.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the thriving nightlife scene of Columbus and share our top picks for the best bars, nightclubs, and party spots. We’ll also cover essential safety tips and advice, along with the cost of partying in the city.
Where to Party in Columbus
- Short North Arts District: The Short North Arts District is a vibrant neighborhood known for its art galleries, unique boutiques, and lively nightlife scene. The area is bustling with bars, clubs, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to start your night out in Columbus.
- Arena District: Located near the Nationwide Arena, the Arena District is another popular nightlife destination in Columbus. With several bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, this area is an excellent choice for sports fans and those who want to enjoy live music events.
- Brewery District: If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, the Brewery District is the place to be. With numerous breweries and bars offering locally crafted brews, this neighborhood is a haven for beer lovers.
- German Village: For a more laid-back night out, head to the charming German Village. This historic neighborhood is home to a variety of cozy bars and pubs, perfect for enjoying a quiet evening with friends.
- University District: The University District, surrounding the Ohio State University campus, is a vibrant area with a diverse mix of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It’s a popular spot for college students and young professionals looking for a lively night out.
Columbus Nightlife Safety Tips and Advice
- Plan your transportation: Before heading out, plan your transportation to ensure a safe and hassle-free night. Use public transportation, rideshare services, or designate a sober driver.
- Stay aware of your surroundings: As with any city, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid wandering into unfamiliar or poorly lit areas. Stick to well-trafficked areas and avoid walking alone at night.
- Keep an eye on your drink: Never leave your drink unattended and avoid accepting drinks from strangers to minimize the risk of drink tampering.
- Stay with your group: It’s always a good idea to stick together with your friends while out on the town. Make sure everyone in your group knows your plans and check in with one another throughout the night.
- Know your limits: To avoid overindulging, pace yourself and know your limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Drink plenty of water and eat something before you start drinking to help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
Cost of Partying in Columbus
The cost of partying in Columbus is relatively affordable compared to other major cities. You can expect to pay around $5-$8 for a beer, $8-$12 for a cocktail, and $10-$20 for entry to a nightclub. However, prices may vary depending on the venue and event. To save money, look for happy hour specials or attend events with no cover charge.
- Take advantage of happy hour deals: Many bars and restaurants offer happy hour specials, typically during the early evening hours. Check out the deals at your favorite spots or explore new ones to save on drinks and appetizers.
- Look for no-cover events: Some venues host events without a cover charge, allowing you to save money on entry fees. Keep an eye on local event calendars and social media pages to stay updated on upcoming no-cover events.
- Share rides with friends: Split the cost of rideshare services or taxis with your friends to save on transportation. Alternatively, use public transportation, which is often a more affordable option.
- Set a spending limit: Before heading out, establish a spending limit for yourself to avoid overspending. This can help you stay within your budget while still enjoying a fun night out.
Best Bars in Columbus
Pins Mechanical Co.
Pins Mechanical Co. combines the best of both worlds with an extensive drink menu and classic entertainment options like pinball and duckpin bowling. It’s a great spot for a casual night out with friends and one our favourite spots to begin experiencing the Columbus nightlife.
Seventh Son Brewing
A popular spot in the Italian Village, Seventh Son Brewing offers a wide range of locally crafted beers in a laid-back atmosphere. With indoor and outdoor seating options, it’s the perfect place to unwind and catch up with friends.
Antiques on High
Located in the Brewery District, Antiques on High is a sister brewery to Seventh Son, specializing in sour and wild beers. The bar’s unique interior, complete with vintage furnishings and a rooftop patio, makes it a one-of-a-kind Columbus nightlife destination.
Denmark on High
Overlooking the Short North Arts District, Denmark on High is an upscale cocktail bar offering innovative drinks and a selection of shareable plates. With its modern design and rooftop patio, this bar is an ideal spot to enjoy a sophisticated evening.
Dick’s Den is a gritty dive bar located in the University District, known for its live music, affordable drinks, and lively atmosphere. Frequented by a spirited crowd, the bar offers weekly beer and liquor specials to savor while enjoying an eclectic mix of jazz, bluegrass, and other local bands. With inexpensive domestic beers, a pool table, and sophisticated late-night jazz performances, Dick’s Den is a quintessential spot for a laid-back night out.
Sidebar Columbus is an elegant tapas bar located in downtown Columbus, offering a distinctive fusion of European and South American flavors. The combination of South American cuisine and Spanish tapas traditions sets Sidebar apart from its competitors.
Featuring an extensive selection of Spanish-inspired cocktails, wines, and spirits, Sidebar complements its diverse drink offerings with an award-winning tapas menu. This stylish establishment is the perfect spot for a unique dining and drinking experience in the heart of the city.
Antiques on High
Antiques on High, located in German Village, is an ultra-modern brewery and beer garden that boasts a trendy and tastefully designed space. This chic establishment specializes in sour and wild beers, which can be enjoyed in any of their numerous indoor or outdoor areas.
The inviting backyard beer garden frequently features a variety of food trucks, offering delicious meals and snacks to pair with a selection from their 18-beer tap list. Antiques on High is the perfect spot to unwind with friends while savoring unique brews in a stylish setting.
Lincoln Social Rooftop
Lincoln Social Rooftop is an elegant and inviting rooftop bar and restaurant situated in the Victorian Village, offering stunning views of the downtown skyline and Goodale Park.
Featuring both outdoor and indoor seating options in a trendy dining room adorned with floor-to-ceiling windows, Lincoln Social Rooftop is the ideal spot to take in the sunset and take advantage of fantastic Happy Hour deals on well spirits, wine, and oyster shooters.
Best Nightclubs in Columbus
Skully’s is a Columbus institution that combines a diner, bar, and live music venue all in one. With a diverse lineup of events ranging from electronic dance parties to local band showcases, there’s always something happening at Skully’s.
Park Street Cantina
Located in the Arena District, Park Street Cantina is a lively nightclub that offers a mix of music, from Top 40 hits to Latin beats. With an expansive outdoor patio and multiple bars, this venue is perfect for dancing the night away.
The Savoy Club
The Savoy Club provides a top-notch Columbus nightlife experience for jazz, R&B, and soul music lovers, showcasing highly talented performers in these genres. A favorite spot among seasoned club-goers, the Savoy Club envelops guests in a feel-good atmosphere of music that perfectly blends relaxation and fun.
Offering an array of themed specials, the club also hosts pool competitions for guests to enjoy. The venue is an excellent choice for gatherings and corporate events, providing a unique club experience that sets it apart from the rest.
Nestled in the Arena District, Granero Lounge is a Latin-inspired nightclub offering a diverse selection of music, including salsa, bachata, and reggaeton. The club’s energetic atmosphere and dance lessons make it a popular destination for those looking to try out new dance moves.
Axis Nightclub is the premier Columbus nightlife destination for drag entertainment, featuring a lively dance club and a contemporary patio. As the largest LGBT dance club in the area, Axis has been proudly serving the community for over 18 years. The venue showcases all-male revue cabarets, resident DJs, and renowned guest performers.
In addition to their impressive entertainment lineup, which includes troupes led by some of the industry’s top icons, Axis Nightclub is also available for corporate and private events. The club hosts energetic dance parties on Fridays and Saturdays, accompanied by captivating drag cabarets, ensuring a memorable night out for all.
Columbus Nightlife Conclusion
The Columbus nightlife scene caters to all tastes and preferences when it comes to having a great night out. With a diverse range of bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues, you’ll never run out of options for a great night out. Whether you’re bar-hopping in the Short North Arts District, catching a live music show at Skully’s Music-Diner, or dancing the night away at Dahlia Nightclub, there’s something for everyone in this thriving city.
Don’t forget to follow our safety tips and advice to ensure a fun and secure night out on the town. Keep track of your spending to make the most of the affordable Columbus nightlife scene without breaking the bank. So get ready to unleash your inner night owl and explore the vibrant Columbus nightlife scene! With so many incredible venues to choose from, you’ll soon discover why Columbus is a city that truly comes alive after dark.