Places We Love: The Draft Room

The Draft Room

I know this is a strange way to open up a post on a dad blog, but a few of my buddies have been preaching about a new bar in Westerville called The Draft Room. Hang with me here.

On Sunday, they hosted their second Family Funday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. I was sold after reading the description: Free crafts for kids of all ages from Arts in Uptown and beer specials for the “growns”. Oh, and this time there’s delicious brunch for all from Broke Johnny Food Truck…MMM. Beer, waffles and crafts. Whoa, what a Sunday.”

That hits about eight cords for me.

I had a chance to chat with the owners, a couple about my age with a toddler. They opened The Draft Room in September, because they wanted to open a bar that was welcoming to all beer enthusiasts.

Even more endearing, they wanted to open the kind of bar they’d like to hang out in. One they can come to with their entire family.

Mission accomplished.

The beer selection is incredible, and I certainly made a point to indulge in some delicious waffles, covered in syrup and strawberries, topped off with a chicken finger.

But the highlight for me, was the activities for the kids. What we anticipated would be a 45 minute pop in, ended up being 2+ hours.

Several tables were set up with a variety of quality crafts that my daughter was completely consumed with.

My son – still a little young for painting and paper mache – was able to stretch his legs and walk about the space. And the owners said they designed the interior so that it’s acceptable for such activity. When so many restaurants make it embarrassing or disruptive to walk around, this place actually embraces the busy body baby.

The two televisions above the bar showed Trolls and Moana, keeping both kids motionless for a short period of time.

What still seems like a hidden gem, the Family Funday was steady with families rolling in. After talking to the owners, this will be a monthly occurrence. As much as I want everyone to know about it, I hope it stays accessible, because this was an incredible event that my entire family enjoyed.

A quick scan of their events calendar will show tap takeovers and brewery release parties. But I’ve never seen a watering hole with programming that spans canvas painting and yoga too.

While The Draft Room doesn’t have a kitchen, they are partners with the other restaurants nearby. Patrons can order food from the neighbors, and they’ll deliver as customers sit and enjoy a frothy beverage and a board game.

The Draft Room embraces everything it means to be a community spot. They support the arts and local brewers. They aren’t pretentious or take themselves too seriously. And most importantly, everyone is welcome – including young families.

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor

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A Father’s Guide to the Columbus Arts Festival

I grew up at the Columbus Arts Festival. It has always been just one weekend of the year, but it stands out to me like any holiday or annual tradition. My father is an exceptionally talented artist. His art took him around the world, introduced him to celebrities, kept food on our table, and provided my siblings and me with braces.

However, I never saw much of that work. What I did see, (from the back of his art booth) was him being a rockstar once a year. Fellow artists, collectors from across the country and friends from long ago would stop by the booth to see what he created in the 52 weeks since they saw him last. They would tell old stories, crack new jokes, trade art, and make a lot of money (a concept that was very foreign to me at that time).

I, unfortunately, did not inherit his visual art skills the way my siblings did, but I did develop a lifelong affinity for the community, diverse passions showcased and the event as a whole. Now that I am a father, it brings me great joy to share this experience with my son from the other side of the booth. Here are a few of my tips to getting the most out of the experience for both you and your family.

Use alternative transportation. This will not be an easy option for all, but even if you are coming from outside the loop, consider parking a little ways out and grabbing a pedicab, car2go or Hopper Cart for a grand entrance to the festivities. For those of us who live closer, you can bike (Pelotonia has a bike corral this year) or take the COTA. My son loves buses. He loves to see them, he loves to sing about them, he loves to tell me how fast they are going, but mostly he just wants to ride the BUS!!

Bring friends and family. The best way to experience this festival is with children. It is a good way to strengthen relationship skills between children and their community by introducing them to people they are comfortable with in different environments. We take his Aunt Lindsay (LaLa) each year and give them a little alone time to pick out a piece of local art for his room.

Get your kid a drink. Preferably in a fancy cup, a coconut or something. It is amazing how children can associate mixed senses with memories at events like this. My personal suggestion is to get a big lemon shake-up and just request that they use A LOT less sugar.

Order off the kids menu. This festival has done a great job over the last few years in bringing in some great local food options. I am a fan of the food trucks but I am biased. If the lines are not long ask for a kids menu, they will not have one, but they will have fun making up options for you. If you go to Tortilla, order the “CBUS Dads Special.”

Dance! They have a special stage for it, but most importantly just dance!

Befriend a local artist. This is one of my favorite parts, I like eccentric, interesting people and this festival is full of them. My personal artist of the year is Andrew Lundberg in the Big Local Art Tent. If Franklinton is our renaissance district, he is our Michelangelo, partly because he can build/paint anything beautifully, and partly because he is a party dude (Cowabunga!)

Enjoy the activity village. You and your kin can screenprint shirts, beta-test video games, learn musical instruments, design an art tote, design jewelry, build a sandcastle, and so much more! (I’m especially excited to check out the catapult painting with Grayson this year!)

Listen to the music of the people in the city. GCAC is one of the greatest supporters of art anywhere. If you like the music at Independents’ Day and that we pay our artists, you have GCAC to thank. Thus, it is no surprise that they have not held back building this year’s lineup. Grayson will be on my shoulders with his bright blue headphones on a lot this weekend.

Breath and enjoy the experience. Just load up a bag with a clean outfit, a few toys, lots of water, tasty snacks, and let the festival be your guide.

This (as well as all of my blogs) has been edited by the lovely Miss Ashley Baker for co-parent consent, grammar, and to make sure my dad jokes are only kinda dumb.

-By Wolf Starr, Regular Contributor