Drinking in Columbus is not always cheap. Luckily, some of the best spots in the city offer generous weekday specials, making it easy to economize just by planning your evenings out to coincide with the following bars' Happy Hours.
Short North hipster haunt, Bodega has a Happy Hour special -- half price drafts -- that may not sound incredibly exciting, until you realize that Bodega's menu has three full pages of draft beers -- that's around 50 different beers on draft (and more than 100 in bottles).
Bodega's Happy Hour runs from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. from Mondays through Fridays. If you visit on a Monday evening, you will find the added bonus of $1 grilled cheese all night.
El Camino Inn
El Camino Inn, in downtown Columbus, has only been open for a few months but has already earned much respect for the quality of its hand-crafted margaritas, made with agave nectar not the mass-produced pre-mix utilized by the majority of other bars, and its cute retro-styled decor and commitment to playing vinyl records.
The short food menu is bargain-priced all day every day -- $3 for a gordita; $2 tacos and $5 dollar burritos. Happy Hour runs Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and offers $2 Mexican and Texan beers (Corona, Tecate, Modelo and Lone Star), as well as $4 palomas (a Mexican cocktail made with tequila, grapefruit juice and soda) and $2 el toro shots (kahlua and tequila).
Ace of Cups
Situated near North Campus, Ace of Cups features live bands most evenings, karaoke nights and ping-pong. Happy Hour at Ace of Cups runs Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and offers $3 draft beers. The best night to visit, however, is Fridays when, during Happy Hour, you can get half-price barbecue sandwiches from the Ray Ray's Hog Pit truck parked out back.
Double Happiness, the cozy Brewery District saloon, has a Happy Hour that runs from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The long list of specials on offer include $1 shots of sake, $2 sake bombs, $3 well drinks and $2 off all of their signature soju (a Korean liquor) cocktails. As popular as the drinks at Double Happiness is the menu of Japanese street snacks supplied by FreshStreet Yakitori.
As the holiday season starts to gear up once again, you may be reluctantly making more visits to the mall. If you find yourself at Easton near the International Airport, you might be relieved to find out about Bar Louie's generous Happy Hour specials, which include $4 glasses of wine, $3 drafts and half-off small plates of bar food. You will find the best deal, however, in their $5 signature martinis -- my favorite is the "Abbey," made with Hendricks Gin and grapefruit juice.