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The Ultimate Guide to Nightlife in Columbus’s Short North

The Short North Has Everything You Need - Great Food, Drinks, Music, Art, and More

By

Elizabeth Crawford

on

Dec 23, 2019

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Main photo courtesy of citypulsecolumbus.com.

The Short North Arts District is a culture-rich neighborhood centered on N. High Street in Columbus. It is known as the “Art and Soul of Columbus”. Because of its wide variety of amazing art, dining, nightlife, fashion, home décor, and unique gifts. The activities available are endless. The short north is filled with art galleries, local boutiques and hip restaurants and bars.

Check out this list full of all the best places to spend your nights in the Short North. The area’s nightlife has tons of unique things that will make for an amazing night out. Go dancing with your friends, get a drink a niche bar, view contemporary art at a warehouse, or choose something else to do in this great neighborhood!

Gallery Hop

Experience Short North's Arts District

A mural inspired by the famous American Gothic painting
Photo: Civic Arts Project Art: Mike Altman & Steve Galgas "American Gothic"

Where: All over the famous Short North Arts District Art Trail. Download the map here.

When: It takes place on the first Saturday of every month.

The monthly Gallery Hop is a must for art lovers of any kind. In 2019 they celebrated their 35-year anniversary making it a Columbus tradition. It is an evening full of new gallery exhibitions, street performers, special events, food, and drinks throughout the District. Visitors celebrate art by viewing dozens of galleries and non-traditional exhibit spaces. The night puts a  spotlight on the best of established and emerging Ohio-based artists. This event is one-of-a-kind.

“The Best Arts Event in the State” – Ohio Magazine
Gallery Hop is a legendary Columbus tradition. Photo courtesy of experiencecolumbus.com.

Skully’s Music Diner

DJs, Dancing, and Diner Food

This famous high street diner started out as a bar and grill on Ohio State’s campus. Photo courtesy of shortnorth.org.

Where: 1151 N. High St Columbus, OH 43201

When:

Mon-Fri, 11am - 2:30am

Sat, 12pm - 2:30am

Sun, 1pm - 2:30am

Skully’s Music-Diner has been a fixture in Columbus nightlife for over twenty-five years. This diner features live music, theme nights, DJs, and dancing all with the best American eats. They have a dish for everyone, whether it’s the famous Skully Burger, healthy salads, or all-day breakfast menu. They take pride in creating a unique dining, dancing, and concert experience for customers. Skully’s is the winner of numerous awards including Best DJ Night for signature event “Ladies 80s,” Best Mid-Sized Venue, Best Place to Rock and Roll, and Best Place for Hip Hop.

“The Best Diner in America.” - International Travel Blog Travelog.us

Kingmaker’s Boardgame Parlor

Beer, Light Bites, and Boardgames for Everyone

This venue screams one-of-a-kind! Photo courtesy of columbusunderground.com.

Where: 17 Buttles Ave Columbus, OH 43215

When:

Tues-Thurs, 5pm - 11pm

Fri, 5pm-1am

Sat, 1pm - 1am

Sun, 1pm - 8pm

Closed Monday

This is one of the most unique venues on the list. You can’t find a place like this in many other places. Kingmakers is a board game parlor featuring over 500 titles for play in their Board Game Library with trained Board Game Sommeliers to guide you through the game. They are self-described as “a social experience designed to introduce that world to people who may not yet know it exists, and keep fueling the interest of those who are familiar with the thrill of board games.” And of course, they have a menu of fine beers, wines, sodas, and snacks.

“The staff was so incredibly welcoming and helpful.” - Chan’nel H.

The Breezeway Summer Music Series at The Table

Toe-Tapping Seasonal Music Series in Short North

Sit on the beautiful breezeway with your friends, sip on a drink, and enjoy the tunes. Photo courtesy of columbusunderground.com.

Where: 21  E Fifth Ave  Columbus, Oh 43201

When: Friday nights in summer, 6pm - 9pm

This seasonal event takes place at the Table, a farm to table restaurant inspired by world flavors. The restaurant offers fresh, vibrant food for brunch, lunch & dinner with crafted in-house charcuterie & baked goods.  This amazing night of music features a weekly rotation of Parker Louis, Dj George Brazil, and Dj Trueskills playing R&B, funk, soul, and jazz.

Pedal Wagon

Tour Short North + Maybe Even Make Some New Friends

Experience the ever-popular Short North District and its best-kept-secrets along the way. Photo courtesy of pedalwagon.com.

Where: 17 6th Ave Columbus, Ohio 43201

When: Wagons can be taken out as early as 10:30 am and as late as 10pm March to mid-November.

Pedal Wagon’s pedal-powered bike bar is a one-of-a-kind experience! The cruise starts and ends in the Short North District — you can pedal through High St., Summit St, and 4th St., making stops at 2-3 Short North staples. You’ll need at least eight passengers for this tour. You can either let the Captain guide the tour or let them know which places you’d like to see. This is a super fun way to see all your favorite short north destinations in one two-hour ride.

“Our whole wagon became friends by the end of the night and we jammed out to our song requests!” - Josee J., Yelp

Axis Nightclub

Dance the Night Away in Short North

Dance the night away at this 18 and over club. Photo courtesy of columbusnavigator.com.

Where: 775 N. High St Columbus, OH 43215

When:

Fri-Sun, 10pm - 2:30am

Closed Mon-Thurs

This fun nightclub is a large GLBT dance club with a modern patio, cabaret featuring all-male revues, the best in drag entertainment, and two levels of viewing space over a modern dance floor. Axis features resident DJs and internationally known entertainment, including DJ Rob Engel and amazing entertainers such as former Entertainer of the Year Nina West and Virginia West.

“I love me some drag queens & this is THE place to get my fix, both on a local (love me some Nina West!) & international level.” - Jennifer S. , Yelp

Short North Stage

Old Theater Favorites, Progressive Plays, and Everything in Between

This three-venue stage has a show for everyone. Photo courtesy of experiencecolumbus.com.

Where: 1187 N. High St Columbus, OH 43201

When:

Mon-Fri, 11am - 4pm

Sat & Sun 11am - 8pm, during shows

​Short North Stage is a professional theater company dedicated to bringing first-class live performance to the area. The theatre hosts and produces performances weekly, ranging from Broadway classics and edgy off-Broadway musicals to progressive one-act plays, cabarets, dance, and everything in between. The stage features three different venues including the historic Garden Theater, the intimate Green Room, and Ethel’s Bar.

Soul at the Joseph

Serving Coffee by Day and Cocktails by Night

Soul at The Joseph is an urbane, curated café bar and lounge experience positioned in the heart of the Short North Arts District. Photo courtesy of marriott.com.

Where: 620 N. High St Columbus, OH 43215

When: Sun-Sat, 6am - 11pm

Soul at The Joseph is a vibrant coffee bar by morning and a creative craft cocktail and wine bar by night. Located in the District boutique hotel, you can have a meal at the 12-seat bar or at one of the communal tables. Enjoy your food and drink while taking a look at one of the top 200 art collections in the world.

Lincoln Social Rooftop

See the Columbus Skline while Sipping Mixologist-Approved Cocktails

Surround yourself with stunning views of the city nine stories up in this hip rooftop bar. Photo of columbusunderground.com.

Where: 711 N. High St, Ste 907 Columbus, OH 43215

When:

Tues-Thur, 4pm - 12am

Fri, 4pm - 1am

Sat, 1pm - 1am

Sun, 1pm - 10pm

Closed Mondays

Lincoln Social is an urban rooftop lounge located atop the Lincoln building which makes it the perfect spot to see the beautiful Columbus skyline. This rooftop oasis is the ideal spot for guests to sip, savor, and surround themselves within the cityscape. Take in all of the stellar sights with a cocktail in hand, crafted by an expert mixologist and enjoy a fabulous bite to eat from their award-winning culinary team.

Two Truths

Live Music and Late Night Bites

You are sure to love this bar with an interesting historical twist. Photo courtesy of shortnorth.com.

Where: 1205 N. High St Columbus, OH 43201

When:

Tues-Weds, 6pm - 12am

Thurs, 6pm - 1am

Fri & Sat, 5pm - 2am

Closed Sun & Mon

This isn’t your average bar by any means. You can drop in on a Thursday for live jazz, a Saturday night for an all-vinyl retro hip hop night, or a Tuesday for Burlesque. The name is inspired by ancient eqyption mythology where the masses of wealth accrued in the material world were buried with you…instead of trying to spend everything before you died, you brought it along. If your heart was heavy with sin, you were denied access to the afterlife. You were passed on to a beast with the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion, and the backside of a hippopotamus…the three biggest man-eaters the Egyptians knew. This took place in the Hall of Double Ma’at, or Hall of Two Truths. The var prides themselves on being “classy yet unpretentious”. Enjoy a late-night menu of shareables and chef inspired pairings at this venue.

Midnight Hookah Lounge

THE Hookah Spot for Short North's Night Owls

Interior of the Hookah spot is lit dark with a black light and an exposed brick wall in the back
Image courtesy of The Hookah Spot.

Where: 1167 Mt. Pleasant Ave Columbus, OH 43201

When:

Sun-Weds, 4pm - 3am

Thurs, 4pm - 4am

Fri - Sat, 4pm - 5am

This venue is pretty simple to describe. It is a casual neighborhood hookah lounge where you can relax with a group of friends. You can also enjoy a large range of Mediterranean cuisine and tons of authentic hookah flavors. It has been named Columbus’s best after-party spot due to its super late weekend hours.

Spent your late nights getting some Mediterranean eats. Photo courtesy of idine.com.


The Short North is full of these one-of-a-kind venues for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Where's your favorite place to pass an evening in this exciting Columbus neighborhood? We'd love to hear more about your favorite local venues in the comments!

Tagged:
Columbus
Short North
December 16, 2019
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