Larry’s Bar, Open Since Before Prohibition, Closes in Columbus, OH
This is such a blow to me, as I spent a good portion of my grad school career hanging out at Larry’s, sitting in a booth and talking with friends. From 1997 – 2000, I attended the MFA program at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, for a degree in creative writing/poetry.
Arguably, I learned as much in my classes as I did from talking with my colleagues, and I have incredibly fond memories of Larry’s. I easily count Larry’s as another classroom, and I’m being entirely serious when I say this.
After poetry readings, or after our actual classes (both the ones we attended and the ones we taught ourselves), many of us would gather at Larry’s en masse. Sometimes, I’d settle into the tall, wooden booths to have an intimate conversation with a small group; othertimes, a bunch of us would gather the long tables together and create a huge, Viking-Hall-esque table and close the place out.
Sure, we were drinking. But we also had many long (and serious) discussions about poetry, about fiction, and about writing. We were all graduate students who were incredibly poor, and incredibly passionate about our chosen profession. In terms of Larry’s, there could have been no better backdrop.
There were dogs roaming around the bar at any given time. And there were great selections on the jukebox (one of the few places I’ve seen that had Coltrane next to AC/DC).
I didn’t really photograph much before moving to Chicago, but I do have a set of photos from an evening when I revisited Columbus. I attended a reading by my friends Juliet and Matt in 2005, and a bunch of us went out to Larry’s afterwards. I’m REALLY glad I took some pictures then, as that’s all I’ve got to remember the place.
RIP Larry’s. There was no better bar in Columbus.