West End Ciderhouse
234 W Washington St.
Athens, OH 45701
websiteWhat used to be more of a quiet events venue on the western edge of Athens has been transformed into a public gathering space for the first time in years. And it’s about time; Athens’ west end doesn’t have a lot of restaurants or hang out places if you live there — as I did for two years — and there wasn’t a lot to draw people around campus and to the east this far away. Now that’s changed. This spot isn’t just a bar, but also kind of a hang-out space, a little more low-key than what you will find uptown on Court Street. That’s a nice thing, especially during the day, and especially when you need somewhere to relax a little bit.
The menu focuses mostly on ciders and meads — specializing it further from the standard kind of craft beer bar. That’s OK too, because the clientele isn’t just poor college kids, but a brace of locals who want something distinctly quality in what they drink. Much of that menu is not endemic to this cider house, but there are some great in-house things to try:
- Zingiber: Technically considered a Ginger Beer, this cider is delightfully airy, with the ginger very slight in flavor — not too much to take away from that nice citrus, cider feel, in spite of dealing with a pungent ingredient.
- Pawpaw Cider: A fruitier flavor, to be sure, but the Pawpaw Cider is good for its kind of brighter, more floral feel. Unlocking that great pawpaw flavor without too unpleasant an aftertaste. It’s a nice trick.
The bar has a very low key feel, especially during the day. This makes it something of a unique hang-out in Athens, where you have a smattering of high-key college bars, local watering holes, and club-like establishments. This is the one that people like to go to during the day to hang out and do homework, or have a low key conversation with a friend. It’s altogether a spot that would give you a truly unique impression of this mountain town — low-key but full of a lot of pride in its roots. It’s a credit to the town to see such a place draw such a wide crowd.
Perhaps most of the new places that have sprung up in Athens in recent years, this one brings something new and exciting to town. It’s absolutely worth a visit.
- Try the house ciders — of course there are a lot of great out of town flavors to try but the local stuff is just as good.
- This is a great day spot to study, talk, anything low-key.
- There are a lot of board games here too, which oddly is appealing by itself.