Saturday, May 30, 2009

North End missing links and newcomers/SR 161

Commercial strips like State Route 161 (called E. Dublin-Granville Road in the northland area of Columbus) is like most retail oriented areas, prone to constant retail change via closures, takeovers, openings, and anything else that is part of the normal business cycle in the retail industry. This road is lined with the sorts of businesses liable to quick openings, even quicker disappearances, and property owner/tenant turnover. Restaurants, small ethnic shops and markets, used car lots, etc. So I am always on the lookout for new neon, changed neon, as well as sadly, newly dark neon. Here are a few examples of some neon that has changed, added, or been relit, or otherwise missed during previous tours of the area. I work in this area so I am able to get to the area fairly regularly. All pics taken the night of Fri. 5/29.

Johnny Oak's BBQ, now Shrimp Shack and Pizza, next to Lane Carryout, between Maple Canyon and Beechcroft Roads. This sort of inexpensive faux southern food has become quite popular around Columbus. Gotta try it sometime. This is probably one of the newer more interesting signs in this area, only having appeared in the last month or so. Gotta love a business who still believes in investing in neon!!!!

Accent neon adorning the corners of the Sharon Woods Center, a small strip center that dates probably to sometime in the 1970s.

Interesting that this place has electricity flowing through it. This nightclub, site of the former seafood Shells restaurant, has not been open for years, and was dark for a LONG time. Shells closed in early 2001 I believe and a nightclub went in not long after, but it was not open long and it's long been closed. Maybe new owners have taken over and have plans??

This medical office, which appears to specialize in hair restoration, seems be run out of an actual residence, in this small house tucked behind some trees off a service road at 161 and Ponderosa, near Northland Plaza. Trust me..I may need to pay them a visit soon!!!

Whiskey Dick's bar, on an outparcel of Columbus Square at 161 and Forrest Hills Blvd, across from Northland Plaza. Awesome super atomic hot wings here. So hot, you need to sign a waiver upon ordering them. I've had them..delish!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Lisska is an old bar and grill on E. 5th Avenue at the corner of Cassady Avenue in an area called "the East Gateway". Not far from Bexley and not far from the airport, the area has seen worse and better days. Definitely working and lower middle class, but not the hardest of hard core ghetto. Very little neon graces the area despite many older buildings and businesses. Other than some very run of the mill stuff on some of the convenience stores and a few ghost pieces, there is practically nothing of neon interest here. With one very big exception, and that exception is Lisska. I happened to take this pic despite the fact it was late morning because a. it was lit. And b. I am rarely in this area late at night. I will make it a point to capture the sign at night if I can, but that may be hard since I have rarely seen it lit very late and some of the characters hanging around the area make taking pictures of a neon sign a bit tricky. The neon needs some work and retubing, but the sign really isn't in bad shape, despite it being there probably close to 60 years. According to property records, the Lisska family has owned the property since 1944 and the building itself was built in 1950. I have never been in the place. The pic was taken the late morning of Mon. 5/18.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More from the south side

The south side of Columbus, I have discovered, is for some reason a tough place to shoot neon. Either I have bizarre hours or the businesses on this side of town do. Or they only feel like having their neon signs lit when the mood strikes them. I can never just seem to do one good photo tour of the area. When one sign I want to capture is there seemingly waiting for my camera's lens to grab it, another one is out cold. And then when that sign finally is on, I discover another hidden gem that is lights out. Anyway, I felt like getting a pretty good tour in of the area of S. High street below German Village. Yeah, I already do have some from this area in previous posts. But I never fully committed to the area as of yet. Lots of ghost neon in this area, which I did cover, but was ghost specific. All the pics were taken the evening of Tue. 5/12 except for the daytime pic of the "rainbow" which I took just this morning.

This business is rather unique. If you ever need to wash your 93 Camaro and your pit bull at the same time, while grabbing that 6 pack of Busch, this is the place! Gotta love the south side!

This is actually inside the DOTS store at Great Southern shopping center, on the back wall. I think every old strip mall, regardless of how well or poor business is, has a DOTS. Kinda like the GNC or Radio Shack for women's clothing.

One side of this tire place is pretty much the or more letters out. This is a "Fires One". But lo and behold, the other side of the building features a 100% functioning Firestone sign!

Mexican Restaurant on the outlot of Southland Mall. Nice "abierto" sign, even if it is for decoration over function. Very few multilingual neon signs are to be found in Columbus, even with the large increase in the Spanish speaking population. Even establishments that are run and patronized by speakers of languages other than English, most of the neon is English.

Bob Evans Restaurants corporate headquarters are located on a small campus in this area of S. High. I am not the hugest fan of neon covered by other signage (where the neon basically is shadowed by a metallic overlay), but it does look nice and does count as neon.

Buy here/pay here used car lot on Parsons Avenue near Frebis Ave.

Is a lit up Bluegrass Music sign in my future?? A sign I want to capture but eludes me is next door to this Victorian house turned into psychic parlor.

The Rice Bowl sign lit up before it goes to bed. I covered this sign last fall, but it wasn't quite as dark.

Wow! The Chatterbox is NOT dead! I covered this sign a few months back and had it as a dead sign. It is dying and on life support it seems. I wish they would fix it's a wicked cool sign!

Crater's Restaurant on S. High and Morrill Avenue. A comfort food kinda place. I would think that Miller Lite sign means it is gay or gay friendly. I know of a few cool rainbows in the short north area that when I finally cover will be a part of this diverse blog. I am straight but not narrow, by the way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

RIP Wonder Bakery Columbus 1916-2009

The Wonder Bread bakery on N. 4th St. near E. 1st Avenue in Italian Village closed after decades of wonderful smells and a wicked cool neon sign. It was announced back in March that it would close later in the spring and indeed, the bakery's last day of operations was this past Saturday. The sign seems to have went dark prior to the closing of the bakery though, as I have not seen it lit up in weeks. I snapped this picture in the early evening while the building was still open and was not turned on. This picture, which looks as sad and dark as the now former employee's moods might be, was taken the early evening of Sun. 5/3. A link to the story of the bakery closing can be found here

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Establishment specific: Afterhours Sports Bar

Afterhours is a small bar on the north end of Columbus, in a strip center at SR 161 and Karl Road. It's simple and not snobby and that is what I enjoy about the place. Dollar domestic drafts every day is also a good thing, including one of my favs, PBR. Several TVs, not huge but good enough for the bar, a couple pooltables and dart boards, Golden Tee, a pretty cool bowling game, pinball, and the usual jukebox. The staff is great and meaghan just might be the most beautiful bartender in the city. She is awesome. The neon is pretty run of the mill, typical beer and alcohol stuff, but it is a umm, that makes sense. All pics were taken the evening of Monday, 5/4. Was pretty busy for a Monday night.

One of my favs..This was my grandmother's beer when I was a kid, now here I am drinking it! Over the last 5 years or so this has become cool and hip and 20somethings fell in love with it, after having a grandparenty image for decades. While still cheap, it's only a matter of time before they raise the price when a beer has been "cool" long enough. A 6 pack is typically $4.99 for six PINT (16 oz) cans or bottles and here at Afterhours it is $1.00 for a tall glass.

Another one of my favs, though I don't always need the girly orange slice. Not on the dollar domestic draft list at Afterhours though.