The Blue Danube (or The 'Dube as it's more commonly known) is a wonderful eatery and bar that has been a fixture north of the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio since 1940.

It's a dive bar in the best sense of the word. It's dark and smoky. The excellent jukebox blasts tunes ranging from Johnny Cash to Tom Waits to Massive Attack to ABBA to Bjork to AC/DC. The single pinball machine by the front door is garish. The water- and smoke-stained ceiling tiles are decorated with amateur paintings that are by turns juvenile, funny, and disturbing. The tattooed waiters and waitresses are surly and efficient. The clientelle ranges from young, snotty punks and goths to starving college kids to aging professors and townies.

Everybody in town goes here because the drink selections are good and are served up strong, whether your drug of choice is caffeine or alcohol; people keep coming back because the eats are cheap and range in quality from decent to damn good.

If it's beer you seek, it's beer you shall find. Give their draft Newcastle a try.

And if it's great greasy plates of savory bar fare your heart desires, you will not be disappointed. Carnivores will be well-pleased by their burger and sandwich selections (be sure to try the Dube Melt, their gyro, or their Reuben). Vegetarians will probably be even more pleased, because the menu has an unusually large variety of meat-free dishes. Try their lentil soup or their hummus platter. If you're short on cash and unconcerned with cholesterol, they also make a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

One of the main attractions of The 'Dube is the fact that it avidly caters to us night owls. Columbus has a sad lack of late-night dining options; it seems as if the entire downtown rolls up its sidewalks after sundown. But The 'Dube keeps the block rocking and the grills smoking past 2 a.m.

If it's conversation you seek, be aware that they crank up the music pretty loud for the dinner and late-night crowd, so don't sit by the back wall where the speakers are. If you do and you try to talk, you'll be hoarse by the time you leave the restaurant. Better to drink your beer and stuff your face and groove in your own private Idaho and save conversation for the ride home.

 

The 'Dube is located 2439 N. High Street. To reach it, head up or down I-71 and take the Hudson Street exit west (you'll be turning right onto Hudson if you're heading from the north). Go down Hudson until it intersects with High Street, then hang a right on High. You'll soon see The 'Dube on your left; it's right beside Campus Video.

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