Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.
Greg Lehman found inspiration to start a distillery in an unlikely place—a volleyball court in Switzerland. While playing there professionally, Greg was struck by the commonness of locally distilled spirits. It resonated with his upbringing in Ohio, where distilleries once thrived before Prohibition made malt liquor America's classiest drink. Upon returning home, Greg and business partner Dave Rigo founded Watershed Distillery, joining the state's heritage of microdistilleries.
Today, the pair mans a 66-gallon and a 250-gallon custom-made copper still to craft the signature Four Peel Gin, infused with eight botanicals, as well as a vodka that's quadruple-distilled from Midwest-grown corn and a bourbon aged in American oak barrels. Greg and Dave also open their distillery for tours, taking guests through the facility and letting them watch everything from mashing to barreling, depending on the stage of the current batch. A tasting room enables patrons to sample spirits.
Barrio Tapas Lounge's executive chef sweeps from Spain to South America by preparing a rotating menu populated by Spanish fusion tapas. The restaurant’s gustatory gurus plumb the depths of the ocean to plate mahi-mahi and shrimp, and landlocked dishes lavish chili and butter-sage sauces on meat ranging from chicken to veal. A spread of cheese and charcuterie treats the senses to goat's- and sheep's-milk cheeses alongside paprika- and garlic-cured meats. The lengthy list of Argentinean and Chilean wines doubles as 2018's list of must-have baby names.
The dining space mirrors Barrio's artful approach to tapas, its leather couches and cow-spotted cushions set beneath high, wooden ceilings. During the restaurant's opening buzz, a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch highlighted the interior’s “industrial fixtures and natural surfaces designed by George Acock,” including “a sweeping bar that features tables made of thick slabs cut from trees in North Carolina.”
Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.