Rambling House: A Refuge for Bluegrass & Blues
Let’s not label Rambling House as a bar. Yes, of course a variety of whiskeys and bourbons sit upon the bar shelves, all while pale ales and Belgium wheats patiently await their drunken fate in their kegs. But that’s not what Rambling House is here for. Let’s label the venue situated on the corner of East Hudson and Indianola Avenue, as a soda brewery/communal refuge for blues and bluegrass artists and lovers lost in a world dominated by bubbly top 40 hits and twerk anthems. This is a space for those who love music, for those who admire the depth of talent it takes to play an instrument, and those who appreciate organic music played straight from the heart.
Rambling House hosts live music events every Thursday through Sunday at a cover charge of five dollars (exempt on Sundays).
John Lynch and Aubrey Fuller, brothers and owners of the Rambling House have managed to grasp a community that most music oriented bars in Columbus are unable to attract; from a ten year old female fiddler to an 80 year old guitar player. The venue’s most popular event, the Old Time Jam is hosted every Sunday and first Wednesday of the month.
A “rambling house” — an Irish descriptor representing the duos heritage — was a place where the community would gather to enjoy each another’s company.
“There something really cool to me about Irish music heritage,” said Lynch. “It has an old pub and home feel where a bunch of people gather to play music, tell stories, eat and drink. So we tried to create a place where the music is good, but it’s also like a hangout spot.”
“We don’t want to be just a bar, and we’re definitely not a sports bar, although we do have a tv,” added Fuller. “We’ve created a place where we have some shows with 80 guests, but they’re all dead silent, paying attention to the band. On the other hand, our Sunday Jams are also fun because they feel more like a coffee house, where people are on their laptops and playing cards.”
The brothers have been producing homemade sodas at a small scale since June of 2013.
“Our first event was Comfest and that was a mess!” exclaimed Lynch.
“It was awesome,” chimed Fuller.
“There are no books on how to mass-produce soda, but there are books on how to produce little bits of soda for your house,” said Lynch. “That first weekend we went through thirty five kegs. It was a nonstop mess of driving kegs back and forth, making kegs at two in the morning, driving here and there, plus ice was hard to get.”
“We had gotten recipes done at a really small scale and we spent months doing that to find out what we like to drink, but the actual physical filling-up of kegs I didn’t do far enough in advance,” explained Fuller.
Around that same time, the brothers had an opportunity to sell their sodas at the Pearl Market, a prospect that gave the two the much needed feedback on their new small business.
“It was really neat to get opinions from a lot of different people about our flavors,” said Lynch. “We received the most opinions about the ginger beer — whether it’s not spicy enough, or too spicy. We tried to find a happy medium because we definitely want to be different.”
Rambling House isn’t a mecca for those looking for a library’s worth of liquor, but the bar does offer a fair share of reasonably priced liquors and cocktails. The “Relentless Mule” is Rambling’s take on the popular Moscow Mule, which is named after a local bluegrass band. The cocktail is fizzling with Rambling House’s ginger beer, bourbon, fresh honey and lemon at a low price tag of four dollars. Or, if sobriety is your thing, you can order any soda by itself for $2.50. If you’re visiting Rambling House on a Sunday for the Old Time Jam, keep in mind that only beer and soda are served.
Rambling House soda is refreshing and light. It lacks the dictatorial corn syrup that most sodas contain, all while emphasizing each natural ingredient’s flavor. While kola nut is still used (mainly for caffeinating) the Rambling House Cola, one can’t help to notice the keys of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus playing in the lightly colored carbonated water. The Sarsaparilla is a creamy soda that refreshes the tongue with notes of bubblegum. Each week Rambling House features a special flavor that is usually limited to one appearance. Past flavors have ranged from salted caramel to chocolate covered strawberry.
In the future, John and Aubrey are looking forward to teaming up with Zach James of Paddy Wagon food truck to bring a condensed bar-friendly menu to the music venue.
Be sure to check out Rambling House’s website for more information on live music and events.
To read more about the business expansion plans at Rambling House, CLICK HERE to visit TheMetroprneuer.com.
All photos by Jenna Taylor.