The Surly Girl Saloon is a uniquely fun destination in the Short North area of Columbus Ohio. The Short North is a popular stretch in between the Ohio State University campus area and the downtown Columbus area, liberally populated with art galleries, independent eateries, artisan shops, one-of-a-kind bars, and other trendy and artsy establishments. Despite being home to a plethora of distinctive businesses, when the Surly Girl Saloon hit the scene several years ago, it stood out as something new and different
Women-owned and specializing in an impressively diverse array of local and women-brewed beers, ales, and lagers, the Surly Girl Saloon is a bar, a restaurant, and an entertaining hot spot for a variety of special activities ranging from bands, comedy acts, and other performances to a weekly session of Punk Rock Aerobics. On top of such specialties, it’s just a fun-filled atmosphere in which to kick back.
Part of what makes the Surly Girl Saloon environment such a treat is its uniquely stylish flair, which is played out in the décor, the food and drink menu, and the overall hip yet laid back vibe of the establishment. The appealing décor reminds me of a cross between bordello-esque saloon, female-appointed pirate ship, and a vintage flea market with a bent towards country western kitsch. Portraits of Annie Oakley, carousel horses, red beads, and animal skulls all make an appearance in the festive interior design panorama. One especially striking design feature that greets the eyes pretty much as soon as one enters the Surly Girl Saloon is a huge, lurid, yet delightful chandelier that appears to have been crafted from a number of smaller chandelier-like components, likely lucky flea market or thrift store finds. A nice complement to such décor is a wait staff decked out in their own stylish duds rather than generic uniforms and a rocking jukebox that is likely to be playing an underplayed punk gem or other alternative fare.
The Surly Girl Saloon restaurant menu elaborates upon the sassy country western flavor by serving up sundry spicy dishes amongst the varied home style offerings. Although the menu favors fairly simple home style cooking, most dishes boast their own special flair. For example, a BLT is dressed up with avocado to become a BLT & A. Mayo is spiced with chipotle flavoring for an extra added zing that makes a delectable difference. Fritos are touted as one of the menu’s side dishes. For dessert, the menu invites you to enquire about the gourmet cupcake flavors of the day. Yum!
The Surly Girl Saloon drink menu is even better. I already mentioned the exceptional roster of women-brewed beers and although I most certainly appreciate such offerings in theory, I must admit that I am not much of a beer drinker in practice. If I’m going out on the town to imbibe a few libations, I will more often than not be in the mood for a cocktail or two. Unfortunately, mixed drinks can get pretty darn pricey-and while most bars do offer several cheaper beer options, they do not necessarily offer any reasonably priced mixed drink choices, leaving those of us who prefer liquor in the position of having to hand over something like six bucks for even a simple little vodka & cranberry juice or something similar. Thus, I am especially fond of the fact that the Surly Girl Saloon does serve up a cheap and fun liquorized libation, cleverly dubbed the Surly Temple and featuring a simple mix of red pop and vodka, a combination that amuses me in & of itself.
Of course, a variety of more sophisticated (and admittedly somewhat more pricey) mixed drinks are also on offer at the Surly Girl Saloon, most of which feature uniquely creative blends of ingredients dubbed with equally creative names. I think it would be fun for even a non-drinker to read the drink menu, even if they had no intention of partaking of an alcoholic beverage themselves. One quirkilicious mixed drink combines root beer and bourbon. Another cocktail features the very distinctive absinth, a liquor that one does not see on very many menus. Called Death in the Afternoon, that particular libation is served complete with a sugar cube prettily fizzing away on the bottom of the glass.
For more information about the Surly Girl Saloon including additional menu details and upcoming special activities, visit the establishment’s website at http://surlygirlsaloon.com/index.php