If you ask someone from Columbus what their favorite weekend destination is, more often than not Nashville is going to be one of them. So, Brian Swanson, the owner of Bodega, knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to open Bristol Republic, Columbus’ first Nashville-style bar.
Bristol Republic is situated in a prime location on High St. in the Short North, close to The Ohio State University (former spot of Basil Thai). The 5,000 square foot space features a stage, two bars, several large booths, tables of different sizes, a lounge area, TVs, and a dance floor. With chandeliers on the ceiling, books, and cowboy hats on the wall, you definitely don’t feel like you are in Columbus when you step inside this country chic place.
While everyone is out there going crazy over the country music performers (they really are amazing), we are over here going crazy over the classic BBQ food with a twist. The menu offers a little bit of everything from appetizers to mac & cheese, from soup to sandwiches. The dishes give you a great bang for your buck, as most of them are pretty large and easily shareable (even the sandwiches! They are huge!).
The most Instagram famous menu item is the mac & cheese topped with either pulled pork or buffalo chicken. Another unique item we are eyeing is the Brookie which is part brownie, part gooey cookie, topped with buckeye ice cream and smoked caramel. One thing to note, there are only a few vegetarian options on the menu.
Not it wouldn’t be a country bar, if we didn’t talk about the drinks! They feature eight signature cocktails, who all carry the country theme well. The most popular is Don’s Back Porch Tea, which is iced tea steeped with bourbon, honey, and lemon. What’s most impressive? All eight cocktails are under $9, now that’s a steal! Their Whiskey + Bourbon list features 90+ different types so it won’t be hard to find something you like.
It is important to note that items on the happy hour menu are a great deal (duh!) and also a decent size. Happy hour runs from 4-7pm with ½ off signature cocktails, drafts, whiskey, & bourbon single pours. $5 for any 2 BBQ samples, republic burger, and the Alabama chicken sandwich. All sides are $3. They also have Walking Taco Tuesday from 4-11pm for $3.
One thing we really love about the Columbus food community is the support they give to each other. Collaboration was a key part of Swanson’s vision, why create something completely new when there are already experts out there doing it well? The BBQ techniques and recipes are in collaboration with the local lunchtime favorite, Smoked on High. And they partnered with Watershed Distillery to create their signature Bristol Bourbon. You can also see another local favorite, North Market “Spice” in some dishes.
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Now THAT’S a burger! Have you checked out @bristolrepublic ?! Live music, bbq, and a gorgeous bourbon & whiskey bar 🥃 🎶 🍔 . #shortnorthartsdistrict #cbusfoodscene #cbuseats . . . . . . . #cbus #cbusfoodbloggers #cbuslife #cbuslifestyle #aseenincolumbus #burgerholic #burgerlife #ohiostate #eeeeeats #bloggersofinstagram #cbuseats #61fork #yelpcbus #burgersandfries #huffposttaste
Columbus residents have flocked to this new restaurant/bar and it is often standing room only, with a line out the door, packed during the live music every Thursday – Saturday night. If you would like a more laid-back vibe, they also offer smaller acts during the day on the weekends. The performers and times vary so check the schedule here before you go. Whatever time of day you decide to visit this joint, we guarantee you will enjoy it!
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Apparently I’m on a mission to try all the deviled eggs in the city 🤷♀️ Luckily for me, the version @bristolrepublic is quite tasty + each egg is topped with a BBQ burnt end from @smokedonhighbbq! If you’re a bourbon lover and haven’t visited Bristol Republic yet, you are missing out on that front too; the happy hour specials include half off single bourbon pours. This means you can sample premium @woodfordreserve, @basilhaydens, + even Blanton’s on the cheap 🥃 See my stories for the rest of the delicious dishes too!
Feature image credit: Bristol Republic Facebook page
Blog Post by:
Hannah, Columbus Date Night Guide