If you venture near the High Street/Crestview intersection in the charming Clintonville neighborhood, you’ll stumble upon a little, hidden gem that you may overlook if not for the bright, blue awning beckoning you inside. Old Skool, which prides itself on BBQ, burgers and beer, is the perfect stop if you and your family are in the mood for some ‘old school’ comfort food and a laid back, bar-type atmosphere.
I know what you’re thinking… bar and kid-friendly typically don’t belong in the same sentence, but we were pleasantly surprised when we visited for dinner with both kiddos – on a Friday night, nonetheless! (However, keep in mind that our Friday ‘nights’ typically start at 5 p.m. these days – and are wrapped up by 8 p.m. at the latest 😊.)
We first stopped Old Skool’s neighbor, Lineage Brewing, to enjoy their weekday happy hour specials ($1 off any of their delicious drafts, cocktails or wines) – and our original plan included ordering takeout that we could take home and enjoy afterward. We didn’t want to push it with the kids, but it was Friday night and we were determined to make ourselves feel like we still had really fun, exciting lives.
I’m not sure at what point we decided to live on the edge and try not one, but two stops with the kids, but before we knew it, we were trekking across the parking lot to Old Skool. The restaurant is located in a fairly small space but is booming with sound from happy patrons and TVs lining the walls. (This would be the perfect spot to catch an OSU game assuming you can grab a seat.) You have the option of eating at one of the multiple high top tables, or if you have kids in tow, can opt for the lower, dinner tables. They do have highchairs (win!) and a kid’s menu (double-win!).
We were immediately greeted by a (super busy) server who went above and beyond to assist us with rearranging tables to accommodate a baby and highchair. This was then followed by a visit from another server who quickly took our order (which of course, was ready to go). The service was outstanding – throughout the entire evening – and as many with small children know, this is so important (and refreshing) when you’re out and about.
My three-year-old was blown away by the fact that he could order both a corndog and mac & cheese (you can get a small bowl as a side), and my one-year-old certainly didn’t turn down her current favorite dish, grilled cheese. The kid’s menu is pretty basic, but if you have kids like mine, that’s all you really need. They have a hot dog, a cheeseburger and a mac & cheese entrée on the menu as well. All come with a side and a drink for $5.
The regular menu has an assortment of burgers, hot dogs, wings, ribs and smoked meat. We enjoyed a large Caesar salad loaded with pulled chicken (super tasty) and a Brisket Burger (single burger, sliced brisket, American onion straws and BBQ ranch on a brioche roll) made complete with a side of tater tots. The food was really good. If you’re on a diet, however, I would suggest sitting this one out. While they do offer an assortment of fresh salads, the main attraction is the meat. Check out this place when you’re hungry for some smoked, all-American, comfort food.
In addition, they have an extensive tap list which features many local favorites in addition to some wine options. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, The Lebowski (Watershed vodka, Watershed Nocino, heavy cream & a touch of crème de cocoa) caught my eye, in addition to Hurricane Pam which is Old Skool’s signature cocktail that they note is ‘beach worthy’. Pretty tempting as we brave another Ohio winter.
Tip: Check out Old Skool’s Daily Specials which includes Monday Wing Night, Throwback Thursday and a mouth-watering Weekend Brunch.