Downtown Columbus, early Spring. 161 North High Street.
The Elevator Brewing Company and Draught Haus, which makes its home in the historic Columbia building, built in 1897 by the Bott family to house the Bott Brother’s Billiards and a Gentleman’s Saloon. The hand-carved Phillipine Mahogany bar (which won the Blue Ribbon for craftsmanship at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago) is absolutely stunning - in the early days of the club, it served whisky that was distilled on the second floor. The stained glass windows, and original mosaic tile floor are in pristine shape. Down by the brass rail on the floor, there is the old-school ‘trough’ by your feet, so that you could spit (or whatever, should you not want to lose your seat!) There was a bordello on the second floor, and between the first and second floor sits a ‘managers table’, or an open area that looks down on the floor below. This structure is the original ‘birdcage’, where the girls would hang out to advertise to the gentlemen below. Ah, the good ole days. Kidding.
As with most places like this, they did a brisk business until Prohibition in 1920. Post Prohibition, for years it was known as the Clock Bar, complete with a murder and a haunting.
The building is now on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and has been restored to its original glory. Elevator, an innovative local brewer, took control of the space 7 years ago, and is brewing both in the space itself and in warehouse space across the street. The brews are solid and original, including a mocha plum stout that made us wish we could stay longer.
The fact that such a gem popped up in downtown Columbus only continues to prove to us that there are amazing bars, spaces and stories EVERYWHERE. Cheers!