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Surly Girl Saloon


17 Reviews
Place Score:
Surly Girl SaloonSurly Girl Saloon

Type: Bar, Eatery

1126 N High St
Columbus, Ohio, 43201-2440
United States

(614) 294-4900

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-09-2005

View: Place Ratings | Events
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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 29
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This was my very last stop on my two day bender through the downtown Columbus area. Very small bar with a pretty cool, laid back, rock n roll atmospere. Unlike the bodega, conversation would be easy here. The draft list was uninspiring but not too bad. For a bar named the Surly Girl, I didnt see one single female working here. I was hoping for maybe a Coyote Ugly type thing, but I guess we all dream. Still seemed weird that they emphasize women-brewed beer, but no women working.

My only gripe with the place was the smell. It had a sour, acrid, old-beer-and-dirty-water smell that was apparent and hard to ignore. I dont know if that speaks to the cleanliness of the place or not, but it smelled unclean (quality score is indicative of this).

My beer was only $4 which was a nice, cheap change of pace. Between here and Bodega, it would be a tough decision: Do I want beer and bloody eardrums or cheaper beer and a weird smell?

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Photo of Bogforce
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Went on a wednesday night around 9 to grab some food and couple drink with a friend..

A skinny hallway type bar, with seating on one side and bar on the other. Really cool theme of pirates and they really went all out.

The service was really good, we talked for while before ordering food and our waiter made sure to keep asking us if we were ready. And refilled our drinks quickly.

The food was really good, we both liked our meals.. A little on the pricey side for simple things for food... The beer was reasonable not cheap, but reasonable.

Overall really liked this place.. Better atmosphere than Bodega..

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.66/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

The wife and I wanted to go to Bodega but was crowded- so we walked over to Surly Girl. Our first time there.

They have a New Orleans-voodoo theme going which I don't much care for, but it is well done. Place is like a shotgun house, long and skinny (and crowded too!).

We didn't try food but, personally, I wouldn't order much from their Mexican-style menu. Not very appealing at least in print.

Service was a little slow but competent enough, they probably need more servers. Beer selection is solid but not great, and it just can't compete with Bodega down the street. Sorry.

25 taps with some hipster macros (PBR), Belgians (Piraat, Lindemann's, Brasserie des Rocs), craft majors (Brooklyn, Flying Dog) and a number of locals and regionals (from Columbus, also Ohio and Michigan).

They place an emphasis on women-brewed beers, which is whatever. Don't really care for.

Nothing truly outstanding, no rarities or high-gravity beers.

Surly is alright, but it doesn't excite me. Wouldn't really go back, unless Bodega is packed! :-)

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

We spent a good amount of time at Bodega before stopping in here at Surly Girl, my wife really dug this place. They have a gothic pirate/punk cowgirl theme going on in here. Part western saloon part pirate ship complete with chandeliers. Menu was Tex Mex inspired food wise and beer list was a quality 24 tap menu that emphasized four categories: organic/women brewed/ premium or high ABV/ and Ohio Brewed. I had the Columbus 1859 porter and the Barley's dark mild ale. My wife had the Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale. A couple of the women brewed selections were Stoudt's Gold and Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru which seems to be a staple here. For the Organic ale that had Wolaver's IPA, and the higher abv/premium ales were Lindeman's pomme and framboise along with Piraat. Ohio brewed included stuff from Columbus, Great Lakes, and Barley's. A nice mix of approachable American micros and Miller High life and PBR thrown in to round out their hipster macro selection. Overall not a bad place it just couldn't compete with Bodega on chilled out atmosphere/crazy rare selection or the fact that they had 50 taps to pick from.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This is one of the bar/restaurants that is owned by the same people who have Betty's, Tip Top and Dirty Franks. These people know their stuff.

This is a small place, like all places in Short North. Its hard to find, but they have parking off to the side which is very convenient for the area.

Rock-a-billy is the best way I can describe the decor here. There are crazy chandeliers, cattle skulls, and scorpion print wallpapers. Its mostly black and red throughout.

The taps are right at the end of the bar. Obviously they rotate but I have seen selections from Barleys, CBC, Great Lakes and some of the other usual Ohio beers, some Founder's, Bell's and some interesting Belgians you dont seen too often like Piraat. This place has a focus on female and organically brewed beers as well as Ohio brewed selections.

The menu, like most of the other sister bars, features vegetarian and vegan options. The food menu isnt expansive (mostly wraps) but it is still all very good.

This place has a lot of that edgy Short North charm to it. I enjoy visiting here and seeing what beers have rotated into their taps.

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Photo of Fezfreak
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

With one of the best beer selections and possibly the best atmosphere in Columbus, I would normally give this a better score, but I've grown tired of the pervasive "High Street Attitude" in the Capitol City. My trip to Surly Girl three weeks ago was the last for me for a very long time I'm afraid. I don't want to be an ass and say "forever"...not yet at least!

We were in there about an hour before their big rush of the evening, so business was moderately steady with more than enough waitstaff to handle it. Workers behind the bar were busy walking back and forth to engage in a conversation going on at the end of the bar by the food window. Each one cast a disdainful glance our way until finally, one of them reluctantly waited on us. The look on her face told us it was a painful event for her. She was never very friendly with me in the past, so I wasn't expecting much anyway. We got our menus and a pint each of delicious Hop Rod Rye (Bear Republic) and the bartender proceeded to rejoin the food window chit-chat. We finished our beers before she bothered to come back to take our food order, an old trick employed to coerce another beverage purchase along with the presumed food order. But it was not to be. We paid for the beers and left. Disgusted.

It is not sour grapes. My opinion developed over a three year period as a loyal, well-tipping customer; and during the last several months, I witnessed first-hand, the frightening spectacle of service going into the toilet. When that happens you feel a sense of betrayal because you have built up a trust with these people. Seems like an awful lot of bartenders and waitstaff working in restaurants along this street are way too cool for their jobs, particularly in the Short North. If you don't look a certain way or act a certain way, you are liable to experience a wait staff who will do nothing beyond what is necessary, usually at a pace that is slower than molasses in January. My message to all wait staff and bartenders is the same one you'd tell a stripper or a hooker: "You do not have to like the customers. Just ACT as if you like them."

But don't listen to me, because chances are, you'll visit Surly Girl and you'll be pleased. Many of you have already been there and were pleased like I once was, no doubt. As previously mentioned, the beer selection is outstanding for the Capitol City. And even though some of the staff have the personality of a twig, they are quite knowledgeable about it. A handy Beer Menu with minute details and explanations of each brew is also provided.

OVERALL: Well worth a cautiously-optimistic visit. Go for the beer, the atmosphere and the food.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.7/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Being a new C-bus resident, I'd heard about this place as a local gem, famous for its good food, 'tude, and ambiance, but I didn't recognize it as having a good beer selection until my wife dragged me into the place before the Doo-Dah parade in Columbus.

For those familiar with Milwaukee, this place reminded me a lot of the Comet Cafe there. Sort of a hipster-crowd and a genre-bending atmosphere...sort of kitsch and saloon-y. The tap selection was good - maybe 15-20 beers on draft, with a pretty good representation of what's available locally. I had a Columbus Brewing Co 90 Schilling, which tasted fresh and good.

The food was pretty good too; I'd seem to remember when I first heard about the place it was in reference to burgers (which they didn't have) and cup-cakes (which my wife informed me were disappointing), but the menu is varied and eclectic. I just wanted a snack, and the Frito Pie fit the bill for me. The meat chili was just OK, but it was really the novelty of making that dish in a restaurant which won me over.

Service was prompt and friendly (especially toward my toddler son, which I wouldn't have expected from the look of the place), but we didn't have a big conversation about beer. The beer menu was out of date (no longer matching what they had on draft) which is a personal pet-peeve of mine.

Still, the experience was decent, and I'd go back when we're in the Short North, although more likely I will make a case to hit Bodega.

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Photo of citrusjim
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Was in OH on business so I decided to check out Sury Girl. The place is in the funky area of town on a main road. Walking in, there are bar tables in front and a bar on the left. I think there are more tables in back. The music was great - not too loud but well chosen. I was promply served by some nice bar staff. There are 25 or so taps featuring some nice choices. Some local (Columbus Porter). I had a couple of Bell's Two Hearted which were great. I love to see Bell's when I travel. They had a Bell's seasonal (Winter Wheat) too. I also had a New Holland "The Poet" Oatmeal Stout. It was nice too. The food was great. I had tomato soup and a turkey sandwich. The menu had some good selctions inculuding pizza. All in all, a great place. If I lived in Columbus, I would be here all the time.

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Photo of olacub
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Had time to kill in Cowtown before The Who concert Monday night, and this was our first stop. My friends and I had lunch here around 2:30, so the place was pretty dead. Semi-corporate forced "saloon" look, but still pretty cool nonetheless. Service was great. The other guys had sandwiches - all simple, but well made, and my New Mexico stew was tasty (although it should've been a little spicier). Also, the hummus was delicious.

Beer selection was surprisingly good, with about 12-15 craft beer taps. My Edmund Fitz was fresh, and I also enjoyed some Lagunitas Pils and Rogue Chocolate Stout before heading out. Overall, a pretty cool place, and definitely a stop I'd make if in Columbus again.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

The Surly Girl Saloon is located on High Street in the Short North neighborhood of Columbus.

Atmosphere: when we first walked there was music blasting by the front door, however, the further back you go in the bar, the softer it becomes; a good sized crowd here; it seems like a place a lot of people from the neighborhood go to
Quality: fresh beer was a plus
Service: impressive; despite a good sized crowd, i never waited long at the bar for a drink
Selection: one of the best in the city; on-tap selections from Rogue, Harpoon, Great Lakes, and the list goes on; about 20 taps total
Value: $4 or $5 for a draft of good stuff; seemed reasonable for this part of town

I was impressed with Surly's and I will come here again.

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Photo of Osiris9588
4.18/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

The western/goth atmosphere is amazing in this Short North spot. The quality is solid--the food being good (check out the "Sausage Party" if you're a carnivore, if not, plenty of vegitarian options grace the menu) and the draft selection being excellent. Right now you can find Piraat Ale, Brasserie du Rocs, Tupper Hop Pocket, and many other craft beers on draft.

The bartenders pour everything into a proper glass. If you're strapped for cash, you can order a Miller High Life or Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft (or in a 22oz can), but no Bud, Bud Light, or Miller Lite.

The juke box rocks and you never have to drink a bad beer.

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Photo of trep
3.7/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Visited this place on my birthday beer run to Columbus on June 26th, 2006.

Super easy to find as it's located right on High Street.

Dark red lighting and alot of cowboy/girl stuff adorns the walls and shelves. A cozy little hangout.

They had I would like to say roughly 20 drafts from all over the world. Brasserie De Rocs, Stoudt's IIPA, to name names. Bottle selection was slim, but the choices on draft were solid.

Didn't have any food but the beer was reasonable. 5 Bucks for a snifter of the Stoudt's IIPA is fine by me.

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Photo of Wildman
4.22/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Surly Girl is a new place in the Short North opened by the same owner of the great spot, Betty's. Elizabeth Lessner opened with Carmen Owens and Marcy Mays (of the local band, Scrawl). It shoots for a red district old style saloon and has alot of skulls around the bar. The bar is long and has a huge tap selection, which is to be expected from this owner. The food is different from Betty's, aiming more for a "like mom used to make" style and does a very good job of it. The back area is control by Marcy Mays and features DJs and small acts to go check out while you are having a great beer. Word of caution, on the weekends, getting a seat/table in here in the evenings can be hard and be prepared for a wait. The ambiance and the crowd that hangs out there is great and accounts for the popularity.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Surly Girl is a nice new addition to the range of bars and restaurants along High Street, in the Short North, Columbus' arts district. They're an off-shoot of the popular Betty's just down the street - just as good quality and service, but with a little more seating. The decor is all about cowgirls, and that theme extends into their food and beer selection. For dinner I had the "BLT & A," a bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado sandwich.

Service was great - nice and fast. Food was excellent. Tasted nice and fresh, great portions. Good value for the money.

Good selection of beers, too. In keeping with the theme of the restaurant, they highlight a number of microbrews specifically made by female brewers, such as Stoudt's. A lot of recognizable names like Bell's, Arcadia, and New Holland, too.

It's nice that they're open until 2 a.m. daily - one of the few places around with good food that stays open that late.

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Photo of nitemarebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Surly girl is a small place in the short north district. It's got great decor with a pseudo semi-pirate motif. A large hallway shape, small but large enough to comfortably seat bar patrons and diners. All sorts of rustic stuff lining the wall, signs, mirrors, etc. Definitely not a conservative place, stylistically, or or by patron. The people in there are mixed, from 20 to 40 yrs old, not the typical college crowd.
The beer selection on tap is amazing. The Piraat Belgian Tripel IPA being a favorite of mine. The food is very good, and service is good too. A good place, conversations are easy to get into there--with the bar staff or others. It is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for -- a great drinking/dining experience.

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Photo of andyo
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I'm glad Dogbrick already reviewed this place. I kept wondering for months why someone hadn't until now!

This place is great. I've been quite a few times, and each time have sen new and interesting beers on tap. As said, Bells, Avery, Arcadia are well represented, and will no doubt see Founders here I'm sure as was the case at Betty's down the road. Also, my first visit they had a few Belgians on tap as well (not sure if they still do).

Service is great. Samples are readily given by the bartender, for a nominal fee. I asked for a sample of the Piraat and got close to 6 oz. for fifty cents. Not bad, right? Everyone of the staff we interacted with were really friendly and looked like they were having fun.

The decor is great. Bordello meets frontier meets pirate ship. Really something to behold.

The food was so-so the only time I visited, but I only got the hummus plate. Perhaps the other items are much better.

I find that this place is best to visit early to mid afternoon where it is moderately empty. Look out though, as it gets jam packed in the evenings!

My favorite place for good beer at this moment.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Surly Girl, which is an offshoot of the excellent Betty's, is situated near the corner of High and 5th Street on the northern fringe of the Short North. Street parking is available in all directions.

The atmosphere is really good, it employs a cowgirl kitsch. Deep maroon tones with candlelight, cowgirl art and a big chandelier make for a really cozy and eye-pleasing visit. The building is pretty narrow, with the bar along the left side and high tables in the front and right. There is also a stage area in the back where local bands regularly play.

The beer selection is really good. They have around 25 taps, with a great variety. Brewers such as Bell's, Rogue, New Holland and Avery are represented. They usually have one or two "big" beers like Southern Tier Jav-ah or Stoudt's Double IPA on draught too. They only carry a couple bottled beers, and next to no imports though.

Service here is friendly and efficient, and my visit was on a Monday night.

Surly Girl has a pretty good array of foods from appetizers to entrees. The Chips & Queso and Surly Girl Salad were both very tasty. I will definitely try more of their grub when I visit again.

All in all this place is fun with a great beer list, good food and live music. It is hard to find much wrong with an establishment like this.

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Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus, OH
90 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.