Short North’s Barrel to Become Fours on High
You’ve seen Too’s, you’ve seen Thr3es. Now get ready for Fours as owner Scott Ellsworth prepares for a rebrand of his only off-campus bar, Barrel on High. The bar-restaurant will close temporarily on June 15 for renovations, reopening in late July as Fours on High.
Ellsworth first took over Barrel in 2015, when it was Barrel 44. It was then that Chef Chris East, who’s been with the space at 1120 N. High St. since the opening of Barrel 44, says it went from being restaurant-forward to putting the bar first, specializing in whiskeys and bourbons. East says that will likely remain the case with Fours, which will offer a limited dinner menu and an expanded late night menu focused on finger foods.
The restaurant’s burgers and appetizers will remain with some minor tweaks. After dinner, when the clientele changes, expect more food you can eat while holding a beer. East mentioned hand-dipped corndogs as well as sandwiches using breads from around the world, like arepa and paratha.
“Something you can share, but you also don’t have to put your drink down to eat it,” says East. “Something to not necessarily get you full, but keep you drinking a little bit more, and then you eat a little bit more. Next thing you know you’ve closed the bar down.”
Fours will mix up things behind the bar as well. Though they’ll still offer a wide variety of whiskeys and bourbons, East says they’re working on some new cocktails and shots, including a “Mexican Sundown,” a play on a Tequila Sunrise that uses a desert pear to get a purple, sunset look.
As far as renovations, Ellsworth said they’ll be knocking some walls down, adding a bar, and adding elements that feel like the Too’s and Thr3es branding. As more bars have opened nearby, the area has drawn a younger crowd for off-campus bar-hopping. Ellsworth is relying on the recognition of his other two successful bars to draw that crowd into a spot they may not have tried when it was branded as Barrel.
While the growth at the north end of the Short North has been rapid, Ellsworth said it’s getting the right places, all started by local entrepreneurs — not national chains — that make the neighborhood stand out.
“If you look at our part of the Short North, Paulie Gee’s, Oddfellows, Bodega, Two Truths, Standard, Bristol, Goody Boy, The Table and I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but they’re all different and cool spots that make our area unique,” says Ellsworth. “No cookie cutter bullshit, and we’re seeing one another in each others business, which I appreciate the most.”
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