Upper Arlington News

Pointe Tavern on Riverside returns to local ownership

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Nicole Jones manages The Pointe Tavern for Upper Arlington resident Mike Albanese, who bought the Riverside Drive establishment in October.

Before settling down and starting a family, Upper Arlington resident Mike Albanese and his friends spent a fair amount of recreation time at The Pointe Tavern, contemplating the time-tested dream shared by many a bachelor: Wouldn't it be great to own your favorite bar?

Over time, The Pointe became near and dear to Albanese's heart, not only because it was his old neighborhood hangout but because it changed his life.

"Believe it or not, that's where I met my wife, and she doesn't even drink," said Albanese, a 1993 Upper Arlington High School graduate.

Fast forward roughly 10 years, and Albanese had become a husband, a father, an Upper Arlington homeowner and a medical sales recruiter.

He hadn't been to The Pointe for three or four years, but heard its owners no longer were UA-based and his former haunt "just wasn't getting the TLC it needed."

Those factors rekindled the possibilities behind the old dream, and last October, Albanese took ownership of the tavern at 1991 Riverside Drive.

"I just saw a lot of profitability," Albanese said. "It needed a lot of work, which we're slowly chipping away at.

"It's kind of a landmark staple that's been there forever. Since I bought it, we've completely turned it around."

Virtually always viewed as a neighborhood bar, which saw its share of patrons passing through the northwest side of the Columbus area, Albanese said The Pointe still caters to a collection of regular customers and has maintained its popular steel-tip darts and $1 billiards offerings.

In the meantime, he's spruced up the interior and installed 10 high-definition televisions, including a 72-inch set he said is perfect for watching Ohio State football games and other sporting events.

Possibly the biggest change, Albanese said, is that The Pointe now offers food via its on-site kitchen.

The kitchen, open at 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. Saturdays, is run a by cook from Grandad's Pizza, a well-known Grandview Heights eatery. Patrons at The Pointe now can select from Grandad's myriad pizza options, as well as 15 submarine sandwich varieties and chicken wings.

"In the 15 years The Pointe has been here, it's never had food," Albanese said. "Grandad's is a Grandview institution and everyone loves their pizza."

Along with food, Albanese has bolstered The Pointe's beer stock.

Prior to taking ownership, he said the tavern offered few specialty beers and only Budweiser products on draft. Now, he said, there are about 20 different craft beers available by bottle and patrons can choose from a rotation of six specialty beers on tap.

Further, The Pointe now has a Sunday liquor license for the first time.

"We're completely revamped," Albanese said. "We're also extremely inexpensive. We're $2 for beer during happy hour."

Renovations are planned for the tavern's patio, including the installation of an outdoor TV, and Albanese said he's considering adding a Wednesday night "Trivia Night."

Further plans are in the works for a grand reopening in May to formally unveil The Pointe's kitchen and other upgrades. The event is expected to feature food and drink specials, as well as pool and dart tournaments.

"We're trying to maintain the local, neighborhood tavern we've always been but add some important improvements," Albanese said.

The Pointe Tavern operates from 3 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

It opens at 1 p.m. most Saturdays, unless there is a noon Ohio State football game. In that case, the tavern opens at 11:30 a.m.

On Sundays, the tavern operates from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

Additional information about the tavern is available on Facebook.