clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where to find the best bars near Ohio State

High Street and the surrounding areas certainly offer lots of nightlife options. Which bars near campus are the best? Land-Grant Holy Land's Josh Stivers explores, using completely subjective criteria.

Is Kildare's one of the best bars near Ohio State?
Is Kildare's one of the best bars near Ohio State?

When visiting The Ohio State University in search of college nightlife, High Street is at the center of late nights and questionable decisions. However, finding the best bars in a lineup that stretches over a mile isn’t easily done without some assistance. And what about the bars that aren’t on High Street? There are numerous variables that go in to finding the best bar in any town or city; Ohio State is no different.

To me, atmosphere is of uttermost importance. I typically don’t like the ultra-quiet, laid back bars, but I also don’t like the crazy, techno-crazed scene you find at most dance clubs. I prefer my bar atmosphere to be in middle. Location is a close second for me. Like many places, High Street has less-traveled stretches that are not my cup of tea, if you will. I enjoy the more populated locations that you’ll find in the South Campus Gateway area of High Street. To each his (or her) own, I guess. That’s what makes lists like this so fun. Certainly there are more than five bars that deserve mention, but here are a few of my favorites.

5. UGLY TUNA SALOONA Located in the South Campus Gateway area of High Street, Ugly Tuna has become somewhat of an Ohio State University staple. The bar commonly referred to as just “Tuna” is a popular destination for many students as they venture out into the Columbus night. It’s a casual bar that plays today’s hits and has great drink specials daily. Ugly Tuna is the perfect mix between club and bar. There’s some dancing, but there is also ample room to sit and talk with the people you came. Unlike most campus bars, Tuna is usually filled with an older crowd. When it is warm here in the capital city, the second-level patio at Tuna is always a solid choice. It sits right on High Street and overlooks South Campus Gateway. It’s certainly a unique view.

4. EDDIE GEORGE’S GRILLE 27 EDD-IE! EDD-IE! EDD-IE! This restaurant/bar would make our list solely because of who owns this restaurant, but, Eddie George’s Grille 27 is cranking out some killer food and the atmosphere is unmatchable when it comes to hanging out near Ohio State. This is an Ohio State sports fan dream bar with OSU memorabilia covering the walls, flat screen TVs wherever you look, and directly across High St from The Ohio State University. It doesn’t get much better than this, Buckeye Nation. Eddie’s is a relaxing place to be after a long day. It’s relatively quiet, and easy to hear the people talking around you. Also, they have a great beer selection. This is certainly a must-try.

3. THE LITTLE BAR Just north of Lane Avenue on High Street, The Little Bar is just that: little. The atmosphere here is what makes this one of the best bars at Ohio State. Even if you’ve never been here, it has the feeling of a bar you regularly visit. It has that MacLaren’s-esque home feel to it (for those of you who watch How I Met Your Mother). The Little Bar has awesome daily specials, an extensive beer selection, and clever shot creations. When looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of campus life, The Little Bar is the perfect place to unwind.

2. FOURTH STREET BAR AND GRILL As the suggests, this bar is located on Fourth Street and 16th, just east of Ohio State and High Street. This is the definition of a college bar. Fourth Street is in the heart of the area made up almost entirely of off-campus student housing. This is one of the newest editions to OSU nightlife and has already made quite the splash. On Tuesday nights, Fourth Street Bar and Grill has half off all of their drinks, but Wednesdays, however, may be the best night here; that’s when karaoke happens. I’ve been several times for this and believe me, it gets more enjoyable each return trip. Along with great theme nights, Fourth Street has a good menu and a wonderful craft beer selection. They also sell beer by the 6-pack in the front. Fourth Street could have easily been number one on this list, but the location isn’t as desirable as Kildare’s.

1. KILDARE’S IRISH PUB Like Ugly Tuna, Kildare’s is located in South Campus Gateway. In fact, they are facing each other in the Gateway corridor/walkway. Kildare’s is Ohio State’s newest bar. Kildare’s was formerly McFadden’s, another Irish-themed restaurant. This two-story bar has phenomenal wings (all-you-can-eat on Sundays), reasonably priced drinks, great atmosphere, and the location is unbeatable. Also, it has a small dance floor, plus plenty of room to sit. Which, in my opinion, is a perfect combination. Kildare’s also features two patios, one upstairs and one downstairs. If you haven’t been here yet, what are you waiting for?

If you think we made a mistake or we left one of your favorites off, let us know in the comments below!