262 E. Sycamore St.
Columbus, OH 43206
websiteGerman Village’s best restaurants are these little corner stops built into the neighborhood itself and away from the main roads. You would never know to find the Sycamore were it not for the popularity of the place among the people in the know. Built into a thin brick building, this bar is known for its wonderful extensive cocktail menu as well as a kind of pan-global cuisine with simple dishes like burgers and wings up to scallops, seafood and other things. I love it.
First, let’s talk cocktails: the bar is best to start with them.
- Rather cavalier: Mezcal, pink grapefruit liqueur, and Ransom Dry. Like all of the cocktails, this one only needs a few ingredients to create a complex, smokey taste.
- Sixth Street Gimlet: Watershed 4-Peel Gin, lavender bitters and fresh lime. Simple and pleasurable, just like this classic recipe generally requires it.
- Love Pit: A late-fall piece and very distinct at that, with a Watershed gin and a sweet but mild mix of flavors.
- Cowboy Killer Campfire: Classy High West whiskey with Cynar, Punt E Mes with some muddled orange and bitters. The original uses the double rye whiskey, but the better version uses the smokier campfire, which has a decided Old Fashioned feel.
- Lesser of Two: Bullet Rye, orange, honey, lemon, ginger and a little moderating liqueur. The result is a soft, fruity cocktail.
- Beeholder: Johnny Walker Black and Drambuie build the basis of this masterpiece, muddled with ginger, honey syrup, lemon, and saffron bitters. How’s it taste? Like cool honey on the tongue.
- The Last Monarch: Butterfly Tea-infused Watershed Guild Gin, Chartreuse, fresh lime. A light touch on that tea.
Then there’s the food! Simplicity is the emphasis here. Some of the good things on that front:
- Scallops: Seared just wonderfully and served with some grilled carrots but with this splendid sweet sauce that complements the wonderful meat.
- Wings: Smoked and charred on the edges and served with a light, vinegar-based sauce that only accentuates the meat just a bit.
- Fries: Relatively simple with some chopped garlic and oregano, but what’s worth talking about is that wonderful chipotle crema. Addictive!
- Burger: Looks simple, but like so much in this bar, nothing is. Topped with goat cheese, bacon and actually, a balsamic reduction that pulls on the palette a bit with the goat cheese. The combo of everything hits you at once – crunchy bacon and soft cheese. Bitter vinegar and salty meat.
The bar has this cool, almost low-key vibe that makes the whole experience here very intimate. To be clear, this is a neighborhood bar, it’s not the kind of place that draws this enormous crowd on weekends the way that the downtown bars do. So, the feeling is much more close and cozy.
Prices are high-normal and the bar is overall pretty fast about the service, owing to its small size. The bartenders have always been just great, and the spot always delivers. Simplicity is king, and in a city full of bars with different gimmicks, it just feels right to have a place that delights in it. A top-notch spot overall, and a credit to the German Village to see such a quaint little bar thrive here.
- The bar is pretty close, and I would recommend this a good place for a date or a small group. Larger than four or so, I might say would be better for a reservation.
- The cocktail menu can’t be ignored, it’s by far the best thing to drink.
- When with the opportunity to come early, the happy hour from 4-6 offers just a spectacular chance to try some great foods for cheap.