Winking Lizard Tavern - Bethel Rd

Winking Lizard Tavern - Bethel RdWinking Lizard Tavern - Bethel Rd
Winking Lizard Tavern - Bethel RdWinking Lizard Tavern - Bethel Rd
Bar, Eatery

1380 Bethel Rd
Columbus, Ohio, 43220-2685
United States

(614) 451-2647 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 19 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of InebriatedJoker
InebriatedJoker from Ohio

4/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Me and my wife stopped in for lunch

It was a very clean and sports orientated place - TV screens were visible no matter where you sat - They had a great bottle beer list for on sight consumption and take home option - The food was great and delivered quickly and with a smile - the service was great and informative as to beer selection and availability .

Not a bad place to stop and watch a football game and enjoy some great beers at reasonable prices and the food specials are an added bonus as well.

Nov 23, 2011
Photo of ne0m00re
ne0m00re from Ohio

3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

The Winking Lizard Tavern is actually a state-wide chain. They are a sports bar and wings joint that happens to serve good beer. As someone mentioned in another review, this place is huge. Too huge. It's exactly what you'd imagine if you thought of a chain sports bar. Weird lizard decorations and signs make it look like a zoo and bar rolled in one. They serve free help-yourself popcorn. They have a "world beer tour" that is mostly mundane bottles. It's a step above a "bro bar" and I'm happy to come here with friends who are into that kind of big-bar sports and clubbing scene. The glass special is a nice touch.
The service is what you'd expect from a big bar. Some people are extremely knowledgeable and ask me what I thought of the beer I ordered and are easy to talk to about it. Some don't even know what beer I ordered.
The selection is good. There are usually around one hundred bottles, and more often than not a couple of those draw my attention. The taps can be hit-and-miss--and half of them are macros--but most often I wouldn't mind drinking any of the seasonal handles. Sometimes they have extremely rare selections (Bambic, Black Biscuit, etc.) that last only a short while.
As far as the food goes: the wings are good. Everything else is kind of cheap and salty.
The prices are a little on the high side, but still competitive.
Overall, if you're trying to placate some friends, go here. Otherwise, there are better options out there.

May 13, 2011
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BareRepublic from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A decent place to go with your BMC friends so that everyone is happy. Good bottle selection and usually something on one of the many taps that you will enjoy. Usually has a good crowd including the guy at the end of the bar reading a book in the loud bar whenever I go there. Lots of television sets with sports on and a large iguana in a cage just outside the rest room. Food is decent with a wide selection and prices aren't too steep. Worth a stop if you're in the area, but sometimes even as large as it is it can get crowded.

May 12, 2011
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redsox3g2 from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Came to town for a wedding last month, and came here 3 times over the weekend (Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday later night). The beer selection is great, with a good mix of local beers I had never tried as well as many of the more popular micros. The bottle list also looked fantastic, but I stuck to some of the local drafts. This was a great place to watch sports, as they had the MLB Extra Innings package and TVs everywhere you looked. The service was the only area where this place was lacking, but even so it wasn't too bad. The bar is really strangely laid out, but has an outdoor patio as well as plenty of space inside, and was very nice.

Sep 29, 2010
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

2.35/5  rDev -36.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5

A coworker told my wife about the Winking Lizard and we went out to try it. Huge place in a nondescript road north of Downtown Columbus, OSU area.

Funky bar, twisting around like a snake. PACKED. I mean, I've been to many beer bars in Greater Columbus and have never seen a more crowded joint. We were immediately offered a table outside in the patio. Checked the beer menus.... not impressed. Sure, their bottle selection is great, but who cares? I can buy those at the supermarket for half the price!

I'm here for the draft beer... and that ain't so great. Mostly macros, with two or three good micro offerings (North Coast Pranqster, Southern Tier IPA, Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus). Still, nothing to get too excited about, particularly for a self-proclaimed beer bar with a "Beer Tour" and blah-blah. Pricey drafts too.

Service was non-existent. Imagine a huge bar completely filled up and only one or two servers to cover it all. That's how it was. We waited for a while... another while... tried to move inside from the patio... no tables... no service...

We left and went to Barley's Smokehouse, where you can always find a table, have your beers right away and choose from a much better selection. Forget the Lizard!

(I will give the other Columbus location a try, though)

Aug 04, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye from Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I have been to this location a few times before but its been a while so we stopped in for lunch today.

The place is large, but seems like the space is not used effectively. There doesnt seem to be a lot of seating, but Ive never had a problem getting a table or anything.

When you sit down the beer list is already at your table, printed on the place mat. This is a feature I really like. They list lots of good information about the beer. Name and brewery, style, ABV, size of the bottle and price. Sometimes the styles might not be right on what they should be but they are pretty close anyhow.

They have 100 or so bottles so it always takes me a long time to figure out what I want. The thing is I have never been shocked by anything listed. It all seems to be stuff that is not even remotely difficult to find in the area.

They have a "Glass of the Month" which is a different beer on tap every month, when you order that beer you get the particular glassware to take home. This month's was a Klosch from Germany, the glass was a nice labeled, stange.

The taps are decent but have room for improvement. Here is where you will find more interesting stuff. It appears that they bring in beers that are only on tap and others that are not commonly seen on tap. Brooklyn Blast, Thirsty Dog Whippet Wheat and a few others. The reason I say there is room for improvement is because I see a few too many handles taken up by macro stuff. Signs that say "Labatt Blue's #1 Ohio account" say it all...

The food is good but I havent yet had anything to write home about. Its basically greasy pub grub.

They do hold good events that have very interesting beers, brewers and people coming in. These are what you should keep an eye out for.

Jun 11, 2010
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23 from Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Like a lot of guys said its a pretty much a sports bar. Tvs are every where here.

The wife and I hit this place up probably once a month. They have a "beer of the month" which comes on tap and in a specical glass that fits the style that you get to take home with you. They also added about 10 more taps and have rotated handles of Great Lakes, Goose Island, Bells, Dogfish Head, and Sierra Nevada. They also have a rotating Belgian and Ipa handle too. Draft selections are usually always pretty good with new stuff in all the time.

Food is not bad. Typical bar food for the most part. I think their pizzas are pretty solid.

Staff most are super friendly and do actually know something about the beer they have.

Not baddest bar I've ever been to, but is pretty cool and will come back again.

Mar 04, 2010
Photo of Fezfreak
Fezfreak from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

I used to frequent The Winking Lizard, but my visit two months ago turned me into a non-regular for good, if I bother to go back at all. My biggest gripe is with their bartenders. While they are friendly enough, certain ones seem to be constantly pre-occupied with something else, always disappearing for no apparent reason for long periods of time.

This is not the beer mecca it pretends to be. The selection is deceiving. While they do manage to mix in a handful of odd micro handles which are rotated every month - thankfully, these are needles in a haystack of the proverbial mainstays that you see everywhere, Guinness, Stella, Blue Moon, Bass, etc. etc. blah blah blah.

In other words, quite a bit of "crap on tap."

The bottle selection is where the bulk of their good beers are. But beware, some of the less popular beers (the ones I drink) are more likely to sit around and develop skunky-taste and floating chunks.

In spite of this, Winking Lizard (any location) is worth the trip because you just never know what they might have on those rotating taps. Plus, you can get some handsome glassware when you order their featured selection.

The grub at Winking Lizard, as it is with virtually every other chain restaurant in America, is a study of our current industrialized food system. It not only looks industrial, it tastes like it. The Lizard's burgers are made with heavily processed meat (probably lizard) and formed into tough hockey pucks in a factory somewhere. The chili tastes like what it is, canned expletive (or was it 'boil-in--bag' expletive?) I've consumed their pizza the most and it tastes fair, but is more akin to cardboard with chemical-tomato sauce and cheese(?) on it. And before you go there to eat this wonderful stuff - read on....

The smell in the Men's bathroom routinely reeks of urine. HELPFUL HINT: Bathrooms are easy to clean. Kitchens are not. If they aren't taking time to clean the bathrooms, imagine what lurks in the kitchen!

They have enough televisions to make any sports-nerd forget about the stinky bathroom. It seems like overkill sometimes when all you want is a simple beer.

The Winking Lizard is one of those places that does not live up to its potential. It seems to cater to pot-bellied guys in ball caps and ugly shorts with black socks and sandals whose wives cut off their hair after they had the kids; and the guys are only allowed out of the house for a few hours one day a week to play golf or Heaven forbid - watch a ballgame - while they cram their maws full of mediocre, industrialized food and suck down enormous glasses of BudMillerCoors.

Seek out if curious.

Recommended for three kinds of beer geeks:

* Those who will drink anything for whatever reason, including beers with floating-chunks.

* Those who have enough extra time to simply stop by and see what's on the rotating taps. This is definitely worth the trip, no matter how much time you have.

" Those who live close-by.

Sep 09, 2009
Photo of Yetiman420
Yetiman420 from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped in on a beer store tour of Columbus. It was right by Benny road market and couldn't pass up a quick pit stop for a pint.

Atmosphere is a ton of TV's with sports and loud heavy metal rock. Pretty crowded on a Sunday evening. Large bar dominates the main floor. Bonus atmosphere points for two skeeball courts and a live lizard under a heat lamp behind glass.

Lots of good beers available on tap and in the bottle. Nothing exceptional (see my review of Barley's Smokehouse).

I had to order three beers before I got to one they had (working): Thirsty Dog Twisted Kilt, Great Lakes Conway, and finally got a 10 oz draft of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for $4.

DFH Red and White was coming in 5 days so it seems like a step up from a normal offering.

This would be a good place to take a large group who was interested in a variety of offerings.

Mar 02, 2009
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Flyer from Wisconsin

3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was dragged here by some co-workers (and I say "dragged" because my co-workers have no taste in beer). The joke was on them. The Winking Lizard is a Buffalo Wild Wings wannabe in all ways but one -- the beer list is very good. Yes, they seem to specialize in multiple intensities of chicken wings. My steak wrap was fairly average. But the place has Two Hearted and Maredsous on tap, and had a more than respectable bottle list with a few dozen entires. It's no competition for Bodega, but if you have to find a place to keep your mainstream-clinging friends happy, this is a no-brainer.

Feb 14, 2009
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TurdFurgison from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is maybe the 4th or 5th Winking Lizard I've been to, and the most recently opened in the area. It was pretty packed on a Friday night, so I guess they're doing well.

The beer selection here was just as good (maybe exactly the same) as its brethren. Probably >20 drafts, and ~80-100 bottle to choose from. I chose Golden Monkey on-tap (large chalice at $4 seems good), followed by an Allagash Grand Cru poured from a bottle ($3.50).

All-in-all, this is a solid Winking Lizard, and you're always safe choosing this place to drink a few. There's bound to be at least 30 beers on the menu which appeal to you.

Oct 22, 2005
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Dogbrick from Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is the 2nd Columbus location and if the crowd on a Thursday evening was any indication they will be just as successful as the first. This Lizard is located on the corner of Bethel and Godown (heh) and is conveniently close to Kenny Road Market.

As with other locations, the inside is open with a mix of family restaurant and sports bar atmosphere. Lots of breweriana is interspersed with sports banners, tons of TVs, video games and pool tables. There is a nice patio at this location too.

The beer selection ath Winking Lizard beats just about anybody in the Columbus area. There are well over 100 beers available in bottles, and around 16 on draught. The bottles beers run the gamut from Stone, North Coast, GLBC, Ayinger, Victory, Bell's etc. What's more, they have a monthly featured beer that comes with a glass ($1 additional, it's not really free). The draught selection is pretty weak but there are a few goodies like Arrogant Bastard or Hoster's Gold Top that show up. There is always a "big" beer available on draught too, such as GLBC Blackout Stout.

The Winking Lizard chain also has a wonderful beer club. If you try either 50 or 100 (depending on what time of year you start up) beers in their beer tour, you get a nice jacket for your effort. It costs $10 to sign up. The best part of this club is you don't get sacked with a bunch of crappy macros you have to try along the way. Pretty much everything on the list is quality stuff.

The service here is pretty good and like the other location they never seem to be understaffed.

The food here is above average pub fare. The menu is surprisingly extensive. The pizza is great and the sandwiches are decent.

This chain has it's detractors because of the loud and sterile aspect but any beer lover would be missing out not checking this place out.

Sep 09, 2005
Winking Lizard Tavern - Bethel Rd in Columbus, OH
Place rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 19 ratings