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Level Dining Lounge Closes Friday, will Reopen as Monarch Cocktail Lounge

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Level Dining Lounge Closes Friday, will Reopen as Monarch Cocktail LoungePhoto by Walker Evans.
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Editor’s note: a previous version of this article referred to Monarch Cocktail Lounge as a nightclub. That has been redacted.

Now under new ownership, Level Dining Lounge will go through a name and brand change over the next month. Open in the Short North since 2009, Level will close this Friday after a farewell party, transforming into Monarch Cocktail Lounge, shedding its gay club identity, and making way for a new cocktail and dining spot in the neighborhood.

The overhaul is led by an entrepreneur out of Miami, Shawn Shahnazi. With 30 years of experience and a dozen other restaurants and venues under his name, Shahnazi enters the Columbus market to bring a new element to the city’s night life. Monarch aims to provide a “cool, trendy and intimate lounge setting” to Short North partiers.

Primarily a cocktail lounge, Monarch is imagined as a spot where young professionals can stop after work for happy hour, where sports fans can watch the games on Saturday afternoons, and where late night parties can spend the final hours of the evening.

Level currently offers a full menu of appetizers, salads, and mains, but Monarch will pare that down to just small plates. Keeping a few established Level favorites, Monarch will run on a menu of 12 to 15 “light bites.”

These changes will occur over the next month and a half. Closing this Friday, December 1, Level will then undergo an aesthetic transition, which will incorporate a new color scheme, updated light and sound equipment, and different furniture.

The projected opening date for Monarch is Wednesday, January 17. Once open, it’ll host DJs on Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and offer its menu from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Shahnazi says all types of music will be heard within Monarch’s walls, “From Marvin Gay and Elton John to Drake and Tupac.”

Once established, Shahnazi plans on adding Sunday brunch parties, which will serve food from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays will be added as well, “to cater specifically to the OSU crowd who are 21-plus but still miss their college life style a little,” he says.

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