Try something you’ve never heard of from a region you can’t pronounce.
At Tastings Columbus, an adventurous attitude is a must. Since it opened its door in 2017, Tastings Columbus has been the Short North’s one-of-a-kind wine bar and shop. Guests browse over 80 selections and choose the amount they’d like to drink without any uncorking fees.
And these aren’t bottles you’d find just anywhere. At Tastings, they’ve worked tirelessly to build relationships with vineyards across the world. When you’re drinking a bottle at Tastings, you can have confidence that they know the story behind almost each and every wine they serve. But to understand why all of this extra effort goes into sourcing wine, you’ll have to understand Tasting’s own story.
In between his undergraduate degree and Law School, Ross Bailey took a trip to California to visit a friend. That trip turned into a few years and Law School turned into a passion for wine. Instead of heading back to the university, Bailey teamed up with his dad and stepmother to open the first Tastings Wine Bar in Indianapolis.
For the last 9 years, this family operation has found success in sharing their passion for wine with Indianapolis. They’d always wanted to expand and would ask friends, family, and customers where they think Tastings should land next. Time after time, the Short North was recommended. Finally, Bailey heard that a retail space was going to become available. Only a day later, he was driving to Columbus.
Tastings Columbus now serves its eclectic collection of fine wine to the Short North. They showcase small vineyards that make incredible wine but may not have the capacity to provide enough quantity for major grocery stores. “I’ll hear that there are only two cases of a specific wine in the whole state. For a big grocery store, they won’t think about it, but that’s exactly was I’m looking for,” Bailey tells me.
This small business sits inside of one of the Short North’s most historic storefronts. Built in 1920, this its timeless exterior has aged just as well as the fine wine inside of it. As a recipient of Wine Spectator’s 2018 “Award of Excellence,” Tastings offers all bottles and cases for carry-out at state minimum pricing. But it’s not just wine, Tastings Columbus also offers a full food menu, beer, spirits, and cocktails with the option to rent out their beautiful space for events. Check out their website to learn more about all of their offerings.
We talked to Ross Bailey about his experience with Tastings Columbus and his time in the Short North. Here’s what he had to share!
For those who don’t know about Tastings Columbus, could you walk us through what Tastings is and what sets it apart from a normal bar?
Tastings is a family owned wine bar (and wine shop) that offers the largest by-the-glass wine list in the city. Tastings has over 80 selections of wine available by the 2 oz. taste, 4 oz. pour, or 6 oz. glass. At Tastings, we focus on showcasing wines from careful, dedicated, responsible producers that are stewards of the land. Because of this, many of the wines featured in Tastings are not available in large grocery stores or chain retailers. Some wines are even exclusive to Tastings due to small production from the wineries or relationships we have with the farmers and winemakers.
And how did Tastings end up in the Short North?
My family and I opened our first Tastings location in Indianapolis in 2009. Having family in Ohio we had always loved visiting Columbus and exploring the Short North. After many successful years operating in Indianapolis, we made the move to expand into the Short North. We felt that Tastings could really add value to the wine scene in the already amazing Short North community.
What about the Short North stands out to you?
The Short North is certainly an area in transition. We’ve experienced quite a lot of construction since we opened our doors in May of 2017, but we’re excited to see all the hard work come to fruition. We initially fell in love with the neighborhood for several reasons:
- It’s a thriving community that supports small businesses and diversity.
- It’s an area with a tremendous focus on the arts, which is important to us. We actually sell pieces from the Leanne Laine Fine Art Gallery. We love the art because it’s all wine focused. We sell it in our shop and offer free shipping and insurance to the US and Canada.
- It is a very pedestrian friendly neighborhood with great foot traffic.
- The Short North is an area with a tremendous focus on diversity in food and beverage. We try to offer one of the most diverse collections of wine that anyone can find, so we think that Tastings adds to that aspect of the neighborhood’s culture.
What does Tastings bring to the Short North? What does the Short North bring to Tastings?
Tastings offers the largest by-the-glass wine list in the Short North. Our concept is all about allowing our guests to taste and explore wines that they normally don’t see on other wine lists in the area by-the-glass. We feature wines from all over the word including many obscure, hard-to-find wine regions. The Short North really allows us to offer wines in a casual atmosphere. Fine wine should not be limited to only being served in white tablecloth establishments at really high prices. That’s why all of our wines are available for carry-out at state minimum pricing. The Short North brings a very young, diverse demographic to our concept; individuals that are appreciating wine at a much younger age and with much more focus than past generations of wine drinkers.
What advice does Tastings have for someone who’s new to wine? Where should they start?
Our advice for anyone that’s new to wine is to drink more wine—it’s that easy. Just like anything else, you can’t really know what you like (and don’t like) until you try it. Wine is so diverse and there are so many options available that there really is something for everyone. The best place to start is in a place where you’re not afraid to ask questions. The wine world is so large and confusing and often times feels stuffy.
Our aim is to make wine approachable and fun. It’s not a competition to see who knows more about wine, it’s more about exploring and sharing. We have a very knowledgeable team at Tastings and we love to share wines that we enjoy drinking and making recommendations based on what our guests like. If all else fails, try something you’ve never heard of from a region you can’t pronounce. At the very least you’ll have expanded your frame of reference past the usual suspects you see on so many wine lists.
What are the keys to buying the right bottle of wine when there are so many options out there?
My advice would be to avoid buying wine at the grocery store and find a local wine shop with reputable, honest team members that can educate you and help you make more personalized decisions. People today are paying more and more attention to where their food comes from and we firmly believe the same focus should be applied when buying wine and other beverages. Most grocery stores by nature need wine producers (or companies) that can meet the supply needs of a large number of stores either locally or on a national level. When you get to that scale, it’s really difficult for grocery stores or other chain retailers to provide wine made in a truly artisanal, careful approach from producers that are stewards of the land. There are so many great, independent wine shops in Columbus. Even if it’s not Tastings, find a shop that you trust and support them with your buying decisions.
Now, a bit about Lykens Companies…
With 20 years (and counting) of experience, we believe that Lykens Companies is just getting started on its mission to offer Columbus hundreds of premier apartments, rentals, and renovations. Each day, we are driving toward constantly expanding and improving our business and bettering Columbus, the city we love. For our renters, that means that they are connected to a proven business that is always striving to be the best. Our success isn’t an accident. We are constantly striving to improve our quality, both in the buildings that we renovate, reimagine, and rent out; moreover, we are striving to improve in the way that our business operates. For you, that means the best units and the best service in the best locations.
As we invest our time, money, and energy into the Short North, Victorian Village, Italian Village, and other parts of Columbus’s urban core, it’s nothing short of amazing to step back and see how much we’re able to impact our city, whether that looks like renovating apartments, houses, or even factories like the Wonder Bread Lofts and the forthcoming Budd Dairy project: a full scale reimagining of an old dairy factory into a Cameron Mitchell food hall and state-of-the-art coworking space.
If you’re looking to rent in Columbus, Ohio’s urban core, you’ve come to the right place. We’re confident that it doesn’t get better than us when it comes to finding the absolute best apartments and rentals in Columbus.
See every availability!
Whether you’re looking for an apartment in the Short North, a rental in Victorian Village, a studio in Italian Village, or a loft in Wonder Bread, our Available Rentals page will feature all that (and more). We’re constantly adding our newest properties and highlighting that month’s leasing specials. Bookmark it and check often! What if you took two minutes to browse it right now? And don’t forget about our awesome Instagram for updates, new leases, and beautiful photos.
Already a resident? Refer a friend!
At Lykens Companies, we offer a simple and easy referral program to our tenants (and even non-tenants). For each referral of yours who signs a lease, we’ll pay you $200! Be sure to learn everything about this awesome plan and even check out our three methodsto actually get your friends to sign a lease.