Athens bars reach customers by offering food to complement drinks

While plenty of hot spots exist on Court Street to pick up drunk food, you might not have to leave the bar to grab some grub.

Many of the bars in town offer food to complement their drinks. From classic bar food, such as pork sandwiches and fried pickles, to more unorthodox choices, such as tofu burgers, bargoers have plenty to choose from. Just make sure to arrive before the grill closes.

The varying styles of food available Uptown are also reflected in the food served at the bars, which have a wide variety of choices. Some bars, such as Lucky’s Sports Tavern and The Pub Bar, like to keep it simple — making those spots the go-to for a good hamburger, pizza or sandwich.

“We like to think of it as classic bar food,” Ryan Boyd, kitchen manager of The Pub, said. “Good, simple food is what we serve.”

The Pub serves food — including the “Pub favorite” bacon cheeseburger for $4.25 — from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Dennis Allen, the kitchen manager at Lucky’s, agreed.

“We serve good food you can get on your 30-minute lunch break and still have time to enjoy it,” he said.

Four of Lucky’s “original cheesestix” regularly cost $4.50, but order them on Fridays between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and get them for 50 cents each. Lucky’s serves food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Patrons don’t always have to go classic. Places such as Casa Nueva and Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery offer specialty foods with a local focus. Casa Nueva’s Bodega side stays open later, so you can grab your $11.50 burrito until midnight. Jackie O’s, on the other hand, only serves food until 9:30 p.m. each night but includes options such as falafels for $9 and deep fried mushrooms for $7.

Along with the traditional cheeseburger, many of the bars offer healthier alternatives, such as salads. Both Casa Nueva and Jackie O’s even offer tofu options.

Being open early and offering the extra service is a great way to build business, Allen said.

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“We can open early and build a regular crowd, which makes for an even better night,” Allen said. ”It helps us build a big base of regulars, which is how we get our business.”

Andres Olivari has been frequenting Lucky’s since the summer and goes anywhere from once to four times a week for the food.

“I love the food here,” Olivari, a 2015 alumnus, said. “And the people who work here are great.”

Keep an eye out for specials, as well. Lucky’s, for example, prices all of its subs at $4.95 on Tuesdays. The Pub offers different specials from week-to-week, such as homemade pot roast in the winter and corned beef on St. Patrick's Day.

The specialty items, Allen said, are another great way to reach the customers.

“We enjoy having our own products that one person in the kitchen is making from scratch,” Allen said.

@AustinRErickson

ae554013@ohio.edu