The Blue Danube: An Eclectic Columbus Diner And Bar

The Blue Danube: An Eclectic Columbus Diner And Bar

A Columbus, Ohio landmark since 1940, The Blue Danube, or “The Dube,” as it is affectionately called, is a one-of-a-kind eatery and bar. If you love finding fun local restaurants with lots of personality, The Blue Danube doesn’t disappoint. It sits in the heart of central Columbus near Ohio State University and offers a unique but cozy atmosphere; here, fifties diner meets tavern meets modern funk. And it’s one of the few real bars in the college district that also serves real food.

Classic diner fare, with a locavore twist

Two of The Blue Danube’s salads, Greek and Garden
Source: Graysmith

The food on the menu is rather what you’d expect from a diner: a lot of delicious carbs. The Blue Danube’s food doesn’t tend to get high marks on reviews, but it is quite tasty, and satisfying, and the prices are very reasonable – it’s possible to eat an entire meal for under 10 USD!

If you’re not in the mood for diner food, the salads are absolutely fantastic. They’re large, and much higher-end than one would expect to find in a diner bar. Part of the reason for this is that The Blue Danube has a policy of buying their ingredients from local growers.

Select music from a working juke box

Juke boxes and a gumball machine stand welcoming guests near the entrance
Source: Graysmith

The juke box is a rare find in restaurants these days, but The Blue Danube keeps one operating for patrons to enjoy. If you’re looking for a place to actually have a conversation, The Dube is a great option, because the music doesn’t get too loud whether coming from the juke box or the overhead speakers.

A well-stocked bar under The Dube’s signature ceiling

The bar of The Blue Danube
Source: Graysmith

The bar lines most of the north wall of the dining room. It’s separated from the dining area by a wide stretch of walkway and a half wall, so traffic flow works well, but the open feeling of being in one space remains.

The ceiling at the Blue Danube will keep you looking up the whole time. Every tile is painted with something different. Surreal and cartoonish landscapes and portraits face every which way in a riot of colors.

A touch of charm

One row of the cut-glass table lamps
Source: Graysmith

More than twenty Tiffany-style lamp shades hang over the dining booths and tables. The result is a warm, inviting atmosphere. The gentle glow of these lamps may seem out of place in any other diner, but in this eclectic space, they are the perfect mood-setters. While the Blue Danube is not probably fancy enough for a first date, it’s ideal as a comfy hangout. The large number of booths in the dining area would also make corralling children easier.

Getting there

A view from High Street
Source: Graysmith

The Dube sits along High Street and W Blake Avenue between Old North Columbus and the University District. It’s within easy walking distance from the campus, or even from the fairgrounds and expo center, if you enjoy walking. Street parking is available throughout the surrounding neighborhoods, but read the signs; some areas are reserved for residents. On a weekend night, it’s not uncommon to have to walk a couple of blocks or so to get to your target location.

The Blue Danube is open from 11am to 12am on weekdays (but on Sunday opens at 9 to catch the breakfast traffic), and from 9am to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Although it’s a popular joint with some very loyal clientele, finding a seat is generally easy – even getting a booth!

Come grab a bite, or a drink

Once you visit The Blue Danube, you’ll understand why her local clientele are loyal regulars. There’s a unique charm here. Come see it for yourself. I highly recommend the Moscow Mule!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I love exploration. I was on my first camping trip mere weeks after my birth, and I’ve sought out new experiences ever since. I wrote my first travel narrative at twelve years old, about a family...Read more

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