An array of vintage punch bowls above the bar at Short North newcomer the Pearl isn't there simply to complement the restaurant's antique-chic interior. They're part of a cocktail menu inspired by classics, including hefty portions of punches served with ice, sliced fruit, a ladle and mismatched mugs for kitschy communal consumption.
An array of vintage punch bowls above the bar at Short North newcomer the Pearl isn’t there simply to complement the restaurant’s antique-chic interior.
They’re part of a cocktail menu inspired by classics, including hefty portions of punches served with ice, sliced fruit, a ladle and mismatched mugs for kitschy communal consumption.
Made from ingredients such as Bulleit bourbon, absinthe and spiced homemade syrup, these aren’t low-rent college concoctions. The $38-a-bowl splurges can serve four or more guests.
“You’re interacting; it’s fun,” said Ryan Valentine, beverage director for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, whose stable includes the Pearl at 641 N. High St. “When one punch bowl goes out, you’l l see orders for more.”
The novelty of shared drinks can enliven shared company.
A recent addition of throwback, volcano-inspired vessels is touted on “Tiki Tuesdays” at the Grass Skirt — although the tropical Downtown hot spot, 105 N. Grant Ave., will prepare them anytime.
Embellished with a flaming shot of sugar and Bacardi 151 rum placed in the center (for effect, not consumption), the $25 offerings play up the venue’s distinctive decor that features free faux-flower leis and a surf-rock soundtrack.
One bowl blends red Tahitian Treat soda pop, coconut rum and “a little of this and that,” said Carmen Owens, the restaurant’s managing partner. Another contains dark rum, coconut liquor and lime juice.
“You’re doing something different, having a tropical vacation,” Owens said. “It heightens that weird factor.”
The concept isn’t limited to sweet spirits.
At the R Bar, ginormous translucent “beer tubes” — 100-ounce vertical tubes — are a hot seller on Columbus Blue Jackets game nights. Supplied by a distributor, the towers can be filled with only Molson or Miller Light.
“Everyone wants to get it in a tube,” said co-owner Natalie Darr, co-owner of the Arena District hockey hangout at 413 N. Front St. “Everyone’s always asking if they can buy them.”
Her answer: no.
The plastic dispersing containers aren’t ideal for keeping suds cold, but, at $23 apiece, they’r e a relative bargain (an R Bar pint of Molson retails for $4.50).
Getting one, though, could require a wait: On a busy night, all 15 tubes are frequently in use, Darr said.
A spring-break-worthy spread of super-sized options is available at Adobe Gila’s at Easton Town Center and sister outlet Ugly Tuna Saloona, 1546 N. High St.
Both venues offer 64-ounce “mug-o-ritas” ($17); jumbo “cerveza-ritas” garnished with two bottles of Corona ($20); and, most visual, 84-ounce “fishbowls” — which, at $18, brim with a potent swamp of soda, juice, liquor and a plastic shark.
Such liquid excess reflects the audacious beverages common in Florida, where the Adobe Gila’s chain originated, said Columbus manager Liam VanVorhis.
“It’s all about the presentation,” he said. “We’re introducing some of that beach flair.”
On a recent Saturday, friends Jessica Rappold and Joy Yocum visited Adobe Gila’s in pursuit of the big drinks. As part of a birthday-party bunch, the women sipped a fishbowl full of a drink through neon straws, chuckling at the sight.
“This lasts for a while,” said Rappold, 31, of Reynoldsburg, who jokingly added: “We’re trying to make as many trips to the bathroom as possible.”
Enjoy responsibly, everyone.