An underground magnet for the U.S.’s creative class, Dublin, Ohio is located in the middle of the Buckeye State, and a 20-minute drive from the state capital, Columbus – or Cbus to the locals. Named after Ireland’s capital, the city naturally embraces an Irish attitude to the extreme that it hosts the largest three-day Irish Festival in the world. We do love traveling to any place that enjoys celebrating, so we headed to Dublin’s new entertainment hub, Bridge Park District.
The Bridge Park District has turned the sleepy suburb into a pedestrian and bike-friendly urban oasis, where both locals and visitors can sleep, play and work. The Scioto River flows through Dublin, with the charming and quaint historic town on the west side, and the new and green-designed Bridge Park District on the east side.
Ongoing development is restoring the greenway around the river as well as building a 760-foot Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge connecting the new Riverside Crossing Park with the future West Bridge Park District. The contemporary S-shaped pedestrian bridge will also serve as an iconic landmark for the City of Dublin.
AC Hotel Columbus Dublin
Across from the Scioto River and on the picturesque Riverside Drive that leads to Columbus, the newly built, sleek and spacious AC Hotel Columbus Dublin is ideally positioned in Bridge Park. The contemporary hotel’s attentiveness to elegant calm and tranquility is experienced as soon as you enter the expansive lobby. From secluded niches created in its public areas to the nightly cart delivering lavender sachets to place under your pillow, the chill vibe holds up.
All 150 rooms in the smoke-free hotel feature comfy beds, with deluxe bedding and plenty of plush pillows, facing a large, wall-mounted flat-screen LED TV, -from which you can access your private Netflix account. Even more important, rooms also have free Wi-Fi, bedside UBS outlets, accessible electrical outlets throughout, and a room safe as well as the conveniences of a mini-fridge and coffee maker.
Tip: Do request one of the many rooms with beautiful, floor-to-ceiling views of the Scioto River.
Other amenities for travelers include a buffet breakfast at the AC Kitchen, a fitness center, lobby pantry, AC Lounge, and an attentive and professional staff. The pièce de résistance, for both AC Dublin guests and locals, is the magnificent indoor/outdoor VASO rooftop bar. As soon as the doors open, this Spanish tapas-serving hotspot starts pumping with energy. Thanks to its world-class mixologist and amazing chef, every bar stool, hi-top, and dining table is filled until the bar and kitchen close at midnight.
6540 Riverside Drive. Dublin, OH, marriott.com/cmhac, @achotelscolumbusdublin
VASO Rooftop Bar
Overlooking the Scioto River and historic Dublin, VASO is one of the most beautiful, and definitely the largest rooftop bar I have visited to date. On the eighth floor of the AC Hotel Dublin, VASO also has a separate street entrance to arrive directly by elevator. Inside the casually elegant rooftop bar, you’ll find pieces of vintage Spanish furniture mixed with its thoughtful modern design. While outside, you can relax at the outdoor bar, sit around a stone bowl-shaped fire pit, or in curtained cabanas, complete with sofas and large screened TV’s.
The massive serpentine bar at VASO is helmed by Engin Yildiz, Turkey’s 2016 World Class Competition Winner.
This easy-to-drink and luscious wine cocktail mixes Tempranillo (Full-bodied Spanish Red Wine), House-Made Cola Syrup, and Carbonation.
The rooftop bar also offers shareable menu of tapas, and, underneath the bar, USB outlets and purse hooks.
Tip: Hangout on Friday night when DJ Dayna spins.
4515 Banker Drive, (also accessible from inside the AC Hotel Dublin), Dublin, OH, vasodublin.com. @vasodublin
Harvest Pizzeria Dublin
More like a bistro than a pizzeria, Harvest has a tasteful, yet informal, interior filled with local art pieces, plus, a patio space. Known for their creating locally-sourced and ingredient-driven pizzas, Harvest also has an outstanding craft cocktail program.
A tasty balance of tart and spicy, this cocktail is mixed with Sauza Hornitos, Cointreau, and House Hibiscus – Habanero Sour, with a Salted Rim.
45 N. High Street, (Historic District), Dublin, OH, harvestpizzeria.com, @harvestdublin
The Guild House – Short North Arts District
Repurposed wood, local art and contemporary accents give The Guild House its classy-cool effect. Head to Columbus’ Short North to find this rustic-modern bar and dining room for eclectic food and drink made with locally grown ingredients, whenever possible. Try their current, seasonal Signature Porthole Cocktail for Two:
Cinnamon Rum Punch
This signature Porthole Cocktail for Two is made by infusing cocktail ingredients in in glass porthole vessel, and, is served tableside. For this seasonal drink, the infusion contains Bacardi 8-Year-Old Rum, fresh squeezed Orange Juice, fresh squeezed Grapefruit Juice, Cinnamon Simple Syrup, and Orgeat Mixer
624 North High Street (Short North Arts District), Columbus, OH, theguildhousecolumbus.com, @CMRColumbus
Pin’s Mechanical Co.
In the Bridge Park District, and just a short walk from the AC Dublin, this ‘Old School’ game entertainment bar features duckpin bowling, pinball and Jenga. Designed as a social destination, Pin’s is a hip alternative to pubs.
Enjoy a fun night of friendly competition, fueled by an extensive list of draft beers –from 3 Floyds Robert The Bruce Scots Ale to Yellow Springs Captain Stardust Saison, and even a few craft cocktails, too. Open to all ages until 8pm, when it’s over 21, only.
6558 Riverside Drive, Dublin, OH, pinsbar.com, @pinsmechco
Located along North High Street, in the Historic Dublin District, Brazenhead Dublin is modeled after its 800-year-old namesake in Dublin, Ireland. At this quirky Irish-themed haunt, enjoy a live band with your favorite Irish import out on the enclosed patio, or a craft brewski at the bar with an order of fish ‘n’ chips.
56 N High St, (Historic Dublin District) Dublin, OH, hdrestaurants.com/brazenhead/dublin, @BrazenheadDublinOH
Short North Pint House
A hip beer-garden patio, with a retractable roof, serving American pub grub, a large selection of brews, and boozy push-ups.
780 N High Street (Short North Arts District), Columbus, OH, shortnorthpinthouse.com, @pinthouse614
Watershed Gin Distillery
Inside the vast warehouse space, mostly stacked floor to nearly ceiling with aging barrels, Watershed Gin Distillery produces small batches of artisan-quality spirits. Specifically, it makes vodka, gin, bourbon barrel gin, bourbon and apple brandy as well as a delish Italian walnut liqueur called Nocine.
Tours are available to walk-through of the distillation process from grain to bottle as well as some tastings. At the end of the tour, you can purchase your favorite bottle(s).
1145 Chesapeake Avenue, Ste D, Columbus, Ohio, watersheddistillery.com, @watersheddistillery
Watershed Gin Kitchen & Bar
Housed together with the distillery is the Watershed Gin Kitchen & Bar. Cozy up to the bar to try their small-batch spirits in a cocktail.
C for Carrot
Watershed Four Peel Gin, Spiced Carrot Cordial, Lime, Lingonberry, Egg White and Celery Tincture.
Watershed Four Peel Gin, Lemon, Raspberry, Dry Vermouth and Aquafaba.
As bar bites, try the Pickadillies –made with dill pickle, cream cheese and country ham, or a big plate of light and airy pork rinds with yummy hot sauce. Better yet, stay for dinner to truly appreciated Chef Jack Moore’s cuisine. A must is the Hay Smoked Baby Racks, or, if you dare, Bacon Steak.
VASO Rooftop Bar
There is no better place to rendezbooze on Sunday Funday than VASO, especially if you’re already staying at the AC Hotel Dublin.
Kick off your brunch with a Mimosa, made with Cava (Spanish sparkling white wine) and fresh Orange Juice, and poured from a porron. The porron, a Spanish glass vessel, is used to pour the cocktail directly into your mouth, – or glass, if you’re not down for that.
Or, take advantage of the Bloody Mary cart stocked with fresh ingredients to make VASO’s Spanish take on the classic.
VASO Red Snapper
Watershed VASO Custom Gin, Tomato Juice, Spanish Hot Peppers, Ginger and Lime.
Pair this with the scrumptious Chorizo Vino Tinto Hash – Fried eggs over spicy pork sausage, cooked in red wine, and combined with Yukon potatoes and caramelized onions.
If you’re looking for a Hair of the Dog type cocktail, go for VASO’s Spanish version of an Old Fashioned.
Madrid Old Fashioned
Oloroso Sherry, Simple Syrup, and Lemon Bitters topped with Dark Rum.
Pair this with the rich and delish Benedicto Del Sur – Lechon Asado (Cuban-style grilled pork), braised green, and poached eggs over English muffins, and topped with a spicy and creamy Pimenton Hollandaise sauce.
Save some room for dessert of Churros Con Chocolate with a cup of Illy coffee.
Short North Arts District
The Short North Arts District is an art-led, revitalized urban community in the City of Columbus. The neighborhood is centered on the main strip of High Street, north of downtown, and extends to the southern end of the Ohio State University campus area. Short North known for its eclectic variety of art, dining, and nightlife as well as a great shopping destination.
Speaking of shopping, do visit the North Market located in Downtown Columbus, and within walking distance of the Short North Arts District. At this public market, you’ll find fishmongers, greengrocers, restaurateurs, butchers, bakers and candy makers, -just to name a few of Cbus’ talented vendors.
Here are some local favorites to visit:
North Market Spices, Ltd.
Here you’ll find convenient smell jars are on the shelves next to their hand-packaged spice. The owner, Ben Walters, enjoys consulting with restaurant chefs to home cooks on how to best execute their recipe with the perfect spices. He specializes in a large selection of cinnamons, from sweeter Indonesian to spicier Vietnamese, meat and poultry rubs. His infused sea salts are perfect for cocktail rims, such as Smoky Maple, which is an excellent salt rim for Bloody Mary’s, – maple sugar mixed with applewood smoked sea salt and black pepper.
Hot Chicken Takeover
This Southern/Soul chicken joint serves juicy, perfectly fried chicken, that’s rubbed with a secret cayenne-infused paste, with heat levels that range from Cold to Holy, and plently of Ma’s sweet tea and house ranch to cool you down.
Siblings and co-owners, Spencer Budros and Anne Fletcher bring their love of classic French baking to their mouth-watering, hand-crafted pastries, macarons, and desserts.
Jeni’s Ice Cream
Opt for boozy flavors like Middle West Whiskey & Pecans or Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet. Or, go with favorites, like Brambleberry Crisp -oven-toasted oat streusel and a sweet-tart “brambleberry” jam of blackberries and blackcurrants layered throughout vanilla ice cream.
If you don’t make it to North Market, you can find Jeni’s in Historic Dubln, or, in the lobby pantry shop inside AC Dublin.
59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH, northmarket.com, @NorthMarket, @JenisIceCreams, @jenisnorthmarket, @jenisdublin
Along with art galleries, the streets in the Short North Arts District are also filled with unexpected works of public art.
Mona Lisa Mural
Painted by Brian Clemons, the public mural is the only one in the District not visible from High Street, but is an important symbol of the neighborhood. The famous muse’s enigmatic smile is as the original, but in signature Short North Arts District style, she was painted sideways on her ear, rather than upright.
98 Bollinger Place, Columbus, OH
Short North Gothic Mural
A twist on Grant Wood’s iconic classic, Short North Gothic is on the outer wall of another famous Short North Arts District spot – Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The original piece depicts a farmer and his daughter, while the District’s skillful reproduction by Steve Galgas and Mike Altman has flipped the daughter on her head and switched the subjects’ positions.
8 E. Lincoln Street, Columbus, OH
“As We Are” Installation
Inside the new north atrium of Greater Columbus Convention Center, is the city’s newest public art piece, a 3D multimedia sculpture. The 14-foot interactive sculpture shaped in the form of a human head that projects visitors’ faces onto its form using 850,000 individual LED lights. It was conceived by Columbus artist and Columbus College of Art & Design Professor Matthew Mohr, who wanted it to fit with Columbus’ theme as a “smart and open” city. “The idea is to present Columbus as a welcoming, diverse culture,” Mohr said.
The $1.54 million sculpture is the centerpiece of the convention center’s new art collection, which is emphasizing Columbus artists with nearly 200 pieces displayed throughout the facility.
400 N High Street, Columbus, OH
Wander on your own to find hidden public art treasures, or check out ArtPaths, an art walkway program that features 23 unique artworks created by Columbus College of Art & Design students on over 400 construction barricades that line streets throughout the Short North Arts District.