Gay Scene in Columbus, OH

  • ajw18

    Posts: 141

    Apr 06, 2010 3:35 AM GMT
    Hi All--

    So I may have to move to Columbus, OH for a job opportunity and I was hoping some natives might be able to give me a low down on the gay scene there. I am kind of worried about adjusting after being used to a pretty lively gay scene in NYC.

    Any insights?

    --AJ
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 06, 2010 3:39 AM GMT
    Gurl, don't do it.
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    Apr 06, 2010 3:58 AM GMT
    Originally from the LA area, but in Columbus at OSU.

    Since you're coming from New York, it'll be an adjustment. Columbus isn't exactly small, compared to LA or NYC it definitely is, but its going through growth spurts at the time.

    Wish I could say more about the gay scene, but I recently just began exploring it myself, and it cannot hold a candle to what NYC has to offer.

    Hope other members can provide some valuable insight.
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    Apr 06, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    As far as I know, HotToddy is the only gay in the village of Columbus.
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    Apr 06, 2010 4:27 AM GMT
    Hey AJ, I lived in Columbus For 1 year from August 2008 to july 2009. I was still fighting my gay desires So i did not participate In the gay community But i can give you some basics. Columbus has 1 of the larger gay communities in the area. Short North is the name of the neighborhood around north high street. I took a walk down the street a couple times; bars, clubs, restaurants, museums, shops, etc. This is 1 of the more expensive areas in columbus but coming from new york you won't even notice. The weather is much milder than in new york you will probably like it there. Feel free to ask any specific questions.

    This post was composed with droid voice recognition and minor editing.
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:46 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidAs far as I know, HotToddy is the only gay in the village of Columbus.

    Yup. I'm the only one. All alone. The gay bar is my living room.

    Honestly, the gay scene isn't really my thing, but I do know about it. First off, definitely a move from NYC to Columbus is a bit strange. My roommate did the same thing, and he has said it was an adjustment but that he enjoys Columbus a lot. But anywho, onto the "scene."

    The main part of gay C-bus is the Short North, an area just north of Downtown. Short North adjacent is the Arena District (a "straight" area.... but home to the baseball and hockey venues, so still a pretty jumping nightlife), a pretty "trendy" area of town that's got good nightlife, but is still at least gay friendly. Victorian Village and Italian Village are nestled up right to both the Arena District and the Short North, and are very popular residential areas for the gays. German Village is on the south side of Downtown; it has some gay bars and a really nice residential area, also has a nice spot to live, lots of power gays live around here. Clintonville is hipster central... the Williamsburg of Columbus if you will. It's just north of Campus (The University District), and is a couple of miles away from downtown, but is also a nice and affordable area to live, and is lesbian central. I, in case you were wondering, do live in Clintonville, and really enjoy it (not just for lesbians and hipsters!). If you're looking to buy a house, Clintonville has a lot of older but nice affordable houses. Old Town East is the kinda seedy "next best thing". It's starting to undergo some remodeling and gentrification on some of the amazing historic houses that are there, but can be a little rough in some spots. Some pioneering gays have begun that project.

    So that's where most of the gays live. Sure, there are a plethora of other places to live in Columbus, but by and large if you're looking to live in the city, those are probably the best spots for hip, urban, gay friendly life. Now, most of the bar scene revolves around the Short North. All of the places there are very liberal, and it's not uncommon to see gay people holding hands, kissing, etc. on the streets and in the restaurants (even the straight ones). It is home to some of the great restaurants in Columbus (I won't say best because I have my own picks for that), so it's also very mixed at times, but a very inclusive, open atmosphere almost anywhere you'd go. The main bars/clubs in the Short North are Union, a gay restaurant/bar, Havana, a martini/video bar, and Axis, the dance club. These are all owned by the same people. There's also Level, a restaurant/bar similar to Union. This is where the young crowd goes (for the most part). Friday nights are the same dance of Level, Union, then Axis. (This is my personal opinion: They are fun on occasion, but tend to be cliquey and full of the same people every weekend). Lots of drag at these places (which is to say good drag... Nina West and Alexis Stevens are pretty awesome). Other venues in the area would be Exile (a leather/bear joint), Tradewinds (a mixed/youngish crowd), Q Bar (a bar/nightclub... honestly... never been busy when I was there at "busy" times), Score/Slammers, a gay sports bar/lesbian bar attached to each other, and Wall Street, a lesbian nightclub with gay night on Weds. Those are all in Short North/Downtown.

    In Clintonville, there's Club 20, a local hole in the wall, and I think another one I'm missing. In German Village there's Tremont, another neighborhood hole in the wall type joint, Club Diversity, a very mixed bag, which is a converted house into a bar, so a really nice patio/backyard area, and Cavan, a new gay Irish Pub. There are a couple of others, AWOL (military theme), in Old Town East and a couple others whose names I'm forgetting scattered throughout the city. But that's the run down of pertinent neighborhoods and bars.

    Now that I've been extremely long winded, does that answer your question? I have plenty more answers if you've got questions.
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:53 PM GMT
    Run! Run as far as you can, and don't look back!
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    Apr 06, 2010 1:02 PM GMT
    I use to live in Columbus before I moved to the Berkshires 10 years ago. Loved it alot. Plenty of gay friendly places to go, they also has gay volleyball, softball, and a few other sports. (Like I said, its been a while)

    The club action was ok, the the feeling of comfort I found most important. Like HotToddy said, seeing gay couples holding hands and kissing i normal in many parts of Columbus.

    And if your into college hotties PLEASE be very very careful of whiplash while driving through OSU campus. I use to live down the street from a frathouse volleyball courticon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 06, 2010 1:15 PM GMT
    I grew up in Columbus, and have been through all of the scenes. Short North, ClitVille, Vicky Village and Gerbil Village are the only gay-friendly areas in all of Columbus. I wouldn't be holding my partner's hand in any other area outside of these - especially around campus and in the downtown area in the eve - and that, my friend, you can take to the bank.

    Other than that, Columbus isn't all that bad, but it's not a "going out" type of city for gay clubsters. You'll need to build a strong network of friends. Luckily, networking isn't terribly difficult to do in Central Ohio.
  • ajw18

    Posts: 141

    Apr 06, 2010 4:13 PM GMT
    Thanks guys! That is all very helpful.
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    Apr 06, 2010 4:23 PM GMT
    I live in Cincinnati and go to Columbus for nightlife more often than I venture out in Cincinnati. It's not that Cincinnati is that bad...but the places in Columbus - such as Level and Union - tend to be nicer and actually have people. Columbus actually has a nice liberal core about it, an art scene (friend of mine is a photographer just getting into it!) and nice livable neighborhoods.
  • greenlantern1

    Posts: 131

    Apr 06, 2010 4:41 PM GMT
    Well, since Columbus actually has a "Gay Street" you would think there is some kind of gay night life...I was up there a few years ago for a few months but I never got a chance to check it out too much... -Joey
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 06, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    RunintheCity saidI live in Cincinnati and go to Columbus for nightlife more often than I venture out in Cincinnati. It's not that Cincinnati is that bad...but the places in Columbus - such as Level and Union - tend to be nicer and actually have people. Columbus actually has a nice liberal core about it, an art scene (friend of mine is a photographer just getting into it!) and nice livable neighborhoods.


    Maybe us boys in ohio should organize get together in columbus since it is central in location to the rest of the state.
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:12 PM GMT
    reppaT saidI grew up in Columbus, and have been through all of the scenes. Short North, ClitVille, Vicky Village and Gerbil Village are the only gay-friendly areas in all of Columbus. I wouldn't be holding my partner's hand in any other area outside of these - especially around campus and in the downtown area in the eve - and that, my friend, you can take to the bank.

    I'm not sure when you were last here or how much time you've spent here since you grew up, but I have seen gay couples out throughout the city. I've seen gay couples holding hands at Easton, at Jeni's in Dublin, and downtown. I don't know if it's as normal as Gaymedes seems to indicate, but I think in most of the city it's at least tolerated and accepted.

    And yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:30 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said
    RunintheCity saidI live in Cincinnati and...[]


    Maybe us boys in ohio should organize get together in columbus since it is central in location to the rest of the state.


    HotToddy said
    And yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.



    See, I've heard that y'all are having RJ meet ups in Columbus...but I never seem to catch the threads. I would totally drive up to join the fun.
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:30 PM GMT
    HotToddy saidAnd yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.


    Cleveland is infinitely better though. Just sayin'
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:32 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    HotToddy saidAnd yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.


    Cleveland is infinitely better though. Just sayin'


    You know, I like Cleveland enough between May and October. But I've never gone out other than to a couple of bars/clubs in downtown. I went to some bar in the Clifton neighborhood once...that was scary.
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:33 PM GMT
    It's not as normal as Gaymedes indicates, and, yes, it has improved over the past decade, but it still has a long way to go. I don't know about Easton (isn't that a large shopping center?), but if it's what I think it is, it goes without saying that you can feel comfortable walking around a highly populated area without fear of being bashed.

    Walking around downtown Columbus after hours hand in hand with your boyfriend is not recommended. I had two friends on two separate occasions get the shit kicked out of them for simply looking gay. I doubt Columbus has changed that much.

    This happens in LA and NYC, too, so I'm not picking on Columbus. What I'm saying is that it's a little ridiculous to declare that you can frolic around Columbus with your boyfriend in tow without any fear of gay bashing.

    I forgot about Dublin. I love(d) the Dublin area.
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:40 PM GMT
    I think if you're in the Short North at the proper time of day, you'd be safe holding hands. Years ago I was on a date and we walked High St holding hands...(this was early 2003)...but I wouldn't do it south of the 670 overpass unless you were in German Village, also at the "right time of day."

    Columbus is open-minded enough...but it's still Ohio. Columbus is also a mecca for country folk escaping the poverty of southern and eastern Ohio. (I actually moved to Cincinnati in some part because so many people I grew up with in the southern tip of the state were moving to Columbus.) Those people bring with them their..."old fashioned" ideas.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 06, 2010 11:49 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    HotToddy saidAnd yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.


    Cleveland is infinitely better though. Just sayin'


    Well I do feel more comfortable in the gay hoods in Cleveland than the little villages in Columbus, but that might be because I'm just used to Cleveland.

    I can say that I find Cleveland more culturally inclined than Columbus. Also, I'm a vegetarian and I do have a heck of a time finding some place to eat in Columbus, even in Short North. Haiku and Happy Greek was about the only places I could find something vegetarian after walking up and down the blocks on my visits. I have no idea what this says about Columbus, but it is confusing. In Cleveland 9 out of 10 restaurants have at least a few vegetarian dishes on their menu.
  • ohioguy12

    Posts: 2024

    Apr 06, 2010 11:53 PM GMT
    I'm in Cincinnati, but go to columbus often, it's not that great but I hear Level and Union are your best bets...
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    Apr 06, 2010 11:54 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said

    I can say that I find Cleveland more culturally inclined than Columbus. Also, I'm a vegetarian and I do have a heck of a time finding some place to eat in Columbus, even in Short North. Haiku and Happy Greek was about the only places I could find something vegetarian after walking up and down the blocks on my visits. I have no idea what this says about Columbus, but it is confusing.


    My good pals that live in Columbus are vegans.
    We eat at Whole World on High St in Clintonville all the time. And then for dessert we go to pattycake, the vegetarian bakery. Lord have mercy their stuff is delicious.
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    Apr 07, 2010 5:57 AM GMT
    Celticmusl said
    TigerTim said
    HotToddy saidAnd yes, all the boys in Ohio should come to Columbus. There have been more than a few RJ meet-ups here. People have come from as far as Toronto or Connecticut.


    Cleveland is infinitely better though. Just sayin'


    Well I do feel more comfortable in the gay hoods in Cleveland than the little villages in Columbus, but that might be because I'm just used to Cleveland.

    I can say that I find Cleveland more culturally inclined than Columbus. Also, I'm a vegetarian and I do have a heck of a time finding some place to eat in Columbus, even in Short North. Haiku and Happy Greek was about the only places I could find something vegetarian after walking up and down the blocks on my visits. I have no idea what this says about Columbus, but it is confusing. In Cleveland 9 out of 10 restaurants have at least a few vegetarian dishes on their menu.

    Haiku & Happy Greek sure, but there's Northstar, organic with plenty of vegan/vegetarian items, Dragonfly, an entire vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Betty's, Surly Girl, Bodega, Tip Top, Old Mohawk, Raisin Rack, Whole Foods, Whole World, and Corner Stone.... those places all just off the top of my head are some vegetarian favorites. I know there are lots of veggie/vegan eats around here, because there's a huge veggie/vegan population. Hipsters gotta eat too you know.
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    Apr 07, 2010 8:26 PM GMT
    I am originally from the Detroit area and have lived in East Lansing, Chicago, Ann Arbor and now Columbus. I am a midwestern boy to my core. Of all these places I will say that Columbus has the best of both worlds, it feels like a small college town but has the amenities of a larger city. The gay population is pretty substantial and varied in Columbus so you can find your "crowd" pretty easily. I'm more likely to be in the gay areas of Columbus, but I always feel comfortable being out and about with my partner and friends.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14380

    Apr 07, 2010 8:50 PM GMT
    I have been told on numerous occasions that Columbus is a very gay friendly city that offers a lot to see and do. I always wanted to visit Columbus especially during its gay pride week. I have heard that Columbus gay pride is one of the nation's best pride events. I have been to both Dayton and Cincinnati and both those two cities impressed me as not only old and rundown but also very conservative and homophobic. So Columbus has to be "the place" to be if you are progressive minded and well educated and gay. I am well aware that Columbus is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and is by far Ohio's largest city both in area and population. Hell if I had my way, I would move to Columbus from Buffalo and get away from the State of New York and its high taxes and government dysfunction.