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First Look: Whistle & Keg

October 4, 2019

Article originally published in Columbus Underground 

From a sip to a full pint, it’s up to patrons to decide at the recently opened Whistle & Keg at 343 N. Front St. in the Arena District.

It’s a pour-your-own affair from 50 taps that feature wine, kombucha, cider and a bevy of craft beers. Whistle & Keg frequenters can find a lineup of primarily local beers, with brews from what co-owner Joseph Thomas calls less well-know, but well-respected breweries in the area mixed in. He says to expect a few surprises, too, as the bar will work directly with breweries, which means access to beers others might not get through their distribution channels.

Staff members will dole out the wristbands that give imbibers access to the wall of beer. A credit card and ID swipe get the process started, setting up a visitor with an open tab. They’ll scan the wrist band below a screen that has info on each beer, like where it’s from, ABV, IBUs and cost per ounce, then get to pouring. The system measures pours down to a tenth of an ounce and lets patrons know how much they’ve poured.

Instead of the open food policy featured at its Youngstown and Cleveland locations, Whistle & Keg Columbus will offer a menu of pup-style shareables, like pretzel bites, loaded nachos, buffalo chicken dip and more. There will also be a rotating menu of gourmet hot dogs to pair with the ever-changing selection of beers. Whistle & Keg’s food menu rolls out Monday, October 7, but they’ll have a gourmet hot dog cart for Friday’s CBJ home opener.

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All photos by Susan Post