Jury Room to Reopen as Event Space
The Jury Room name is back from the dead. After being laid to rest in 2014, it was replaced by 1831 Tavern/Balls Bar, then Blind Lady Tavern, which shuttered earlier this year. Now, Megan Dempsey, co-owner of Dempsey’s Food & Spirits, has taken over and will reopen the 187-year-old space to host small and mid-sized events.
Opening by the end of next week, the new event space can accommodate up to 60 sitting guests, or up to 100 for cocktail parties. It includes the main bar area and the adjacent patio, but other rooms throughout the building will have their use as well.
A room at the back of the building may be leased out to someone looking for an office Downtown. One of the upstairs’ apartments will be rented out via Airbnb. Dempsey imagines hosting a range of small business events and family gatherings, particularly weddings. The Airbnb can sleep up to eight, which she says could accommodate a wedding party.
“Someone could have their rehearsal dinner downstairs, and the bride and groom could use the room up there as a place to get ready,” Dempsey says.
While the space would come with a catering menu, guests will be able to use any catering service for their events. Dempsey says this option offers flexibility missing from many Downtown event venues, which typically provide a list of three or four available caterers from which to choose.
Event packages range in price, depending on the day of the week and the size of the event. Guests can rent the space by the hour, with a four-hour minimum stay required.
Parking is readily available in a parking garage across from the Jury Room, which offers 900 spaces that are mostly open after 4 p.m.
The basement space won’t be of use, hopefully. Rumored to be haunted, it used to host ghost tours, and it was featured in an episode of the Travel Channel’s show, The Dead Files. Other travel sites have written about the bar as well.
Ohio Exploration writes that it was the site of an Indian burial ground, and that previous tenants have experienced paranormal activity, such as being shoved by an unseen force, stove burners turning on by themselves, and sightings of a man dressed in white.
“It’s a bunch of hooey,” Dempsey says.
Unlike the original Jury Room, this incarnation won’t be open to the public, though returning the space to a bar is a backup plan for Dempsey if the event venue doesn’t take off. The choice to keep the building’s original name was a nod to the history of Columbus. Dempsey and her husband Mark both grew up in the Columbus area, and they moved into one of the building’s apartments in February of 2016.
“We had just been living here, and I fell in love with the building,” says Megan Dempsey. “It’s just old Columbus history, and the thing in Columbus has been to tear everything down and rebuild it.”
“Our families both go way back [in Columbus],” Mark adds. “It means a lot to us to preserve it and bring it back to the Jury Room.”
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