Big Room Bar (Facebook / T: @bigroombar / IG: @bigroombar)
1036 S. Front St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43206
Open Mon-Sat, 11a-1a; Sun, 11a-4p (brunch served Sat & Sun, 11a-4p)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Last month I got to review the Big Room Bar’s brunch for the Dispatch. I usually get some say in what places I get to review, and after several recommendations from trusted friends, the bar was at the top of my list to visit next. You can read the review here.
Since we’ve visited, when people have asked, “What’s a new discovery you’ve made?” my answer is the Big Room Bar. As you can tell from the Dispatch write-up, we were fans.
First things first: what is the Big Room Bar? It was created recently out of the Big Room, the small live music venue on the top floor of CD102.5’s building (the radio facilities are on the lower floor). They’ve been broadcasting regular concerts live from the Big Room for years, and they decided to update the space to include a full bar and restaurant.
Most of the seating is simple tables and chairs, but there are plenty of spots at the bar, and a couple booths along the wall. The Big Room stage is still there, and you’ll find live music most nights, and at Sunday brunch.
The brunch menu – only served on weekends – is ten items plus a load of a la carte items. Note that many of the items are easily adaptable to vegetarian tastes, and creatively so, not just in a “we’ll remove the meat” way.
You’ll see their branding of “a bar with a radio problem” everywhere, down to the shaker pint glasses. It’s a great catch-phrase.
Beer-wise, I was very pleased. A small-but-mighty beer selection, including lots of Columbus and Ohio brews. Pictured above is my Great Lakes’ Lake Erie Monster imperial IPA.
If beer isn’t your thing, there’s a full cocktail list, including your requisite Bloody Mary’s.
I think the best way to to understand/appreciate Big Room Bar’s brunch is to know that some of the kitchen crew from Betty’s and Surly Girl made their way over. Both institutions were known for creative comfort foods, and in my mind Big Room Bar picks up where they left off. Case in point: the Tegan and Sara (yes, everything is named after bands or songs). Two fried eggs, little Swiss potato pancakes called rosti, strips of bacon from Falter’s just down the road, and a winning smoked gouda sauce. (They’ve got some seriously good sauces and dips here.)
Another big savory winner (and probably my personal favorite of the meal): the Hash Pipe. It’s like a big scramble with caramelized onions, potatoes, and pot roast, topped with eggs and toast. Like everything else, it’s served in filling portions, and the tender pot roast plays nicely with the soft potatoes and sweet onions.
The Stranger in the Alps omelet does the same with sweet and savory: it’s those same onions and potatoes, joined this time by Swiss cheese, bacon, and a caramely-sweet bourbon apple compote. It comes with a side of toast and more of that rosti, and it’s a real winner of an omelet.
Those are just three of the ten brunch items, but combining those with the beer, the cocktails, the location, and the live music, this spot should top your list of brunches to try very, very soon.
This meal was covered by the Dispatch as part of a review. Photos and opinions here are my own.