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Blind Lady Tavern Replaces 1831 Tavern in Former Jury Room Space

Rebecca Wagner Rebecca Wagner Blind Lady Tavern Replaces 1831 Tavern in Former Jury Room Space
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The historic Jury Room tavern space has finally found a successor. Blind Lady Tavern, a pre-prohibition-style bar, has moved in to 22 E. Mound Street.

The 184-year old Jury Room first opened in 1831, and was the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Columbus. The space was sold last fall, and operated briefly as 1831 Tavern (formerly Balls), a meatball restaurant. Athens native Seth Laufman acquired the space in July, and reopened in August. Laufman, who spent the last decade in San Francisco, had been keeping his eye on available Columbus spaces for a while. A long-time bartender, he’d worked in San Francisco’s oldest bar, Comstock Saloon, for the past few years. When the previous owners gave him a historical rundown of the Jury Room, he was sold.

“It’s pretty incredible how similar it is to Comstock, which was in operation since 1907.” said Laufman. “Old time saloon-y, same feel. It’s interesting how this happened – we’re keeping that same style, same frame of mind.”

Construction was relatively light: the floor was refinished, and a few fresh coats of paint were added to the walls. One wall has a large chalk portrait of Lady Justice, blindfolded and holding a scale – a nod to the restaurant’s name.

Blind Lady will begin serving food in mid-October. The menu will be Southern comfort, country cuisine with a New Orleans flair. A few of the menu highlights include shrimp ‘n’ grits, hush puppies, and a ‘faux-boy’ based on a traditional New Orleans po’boys. Initially, dinner will be the only meal served, with lunch and brunch coming later in the year. For now, the bar serves a short list of snacks – meat and cheese plates, and house marinated pickles.

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The drink menu is approachable and fun, with a blend of craft and classic cocktails. Jury Room and 1831, the top two drinks, pay homage to the previous establishments. The other drinks are appropriately legal-themed, with creations like the Hostile Witness, Objection!, Judge and Jury, and Hang Man gracing the menu.

Beers will rotate seasonally, with five Ohio and five California brews on tap at all times. Laufman currently has a keg of Fat Head Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale waiting to be tapped, just in time for Halloween.

The Blind Lady Tavern seats 50, including a few tables of patio space. Hours are Monday though Saturday, 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.

For more information, visit www.blindladytavern.com.

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