Written by: Steve Stover
Date: April 6, 2018
Rooftop bars are the hottest venue on the national restaurant scene and Columbus won’t be left behind with as many as dozen to open by summer’s end. Juniper, high atop the Smith Brother Hardware Building on North Fourth Street, is one of the first, and may boast the most spectacular views of downtown Columbus!
Our party of eight visited on a rainy Tuesday evening and despite the weather, we loved the spacious and dramatic open setting and the panoramic views. The Eric Saarinen tables and Philippe Starck “ghost chairs,” fit the ultra-modern decor.
Juniper was busy and lively, but a bit noisy. We noted the removable walls and retractable ceiling, which will be great in nice weather, as will the large outdoor patio.The bar features lots of cocktails.
Our group tasted and enjoyed the “Ashville martini,” the “Elvis,” with gin and citrus, plus the more traditional Negroni and Bombay Sapphire martini.
They offer 36 makes of gin, a liquor that derives its predominant flavor from the juniper berry.
From the modest wine list, we enjoyed the 2015 Chateau Saint Sulpice Red Bordeaux Blend ($36).
The Caribbean-influenced menu consists of two dozen small (mostly large enough to share) and large plates. We each ordered two small plates to share, and there was plenty.
Our favorite dishes included the Johnnycakes (biscuit-like quick bread) with jerk-seasoned pork butt and fresh slaw (large portion for $12); crispy pork belly with fennel and orange salad ($14); and tomato and artichoke stack ($9).
We also tried the duck breast with ginger beer glaze ($17 small plate, $30 entree); almond crusted walleye with bourbon butter pan sauce ($17/30); house pickled beet salad, with walnut crusted goat cheese ($9) and the brie plate with garnishes ($10).
The house sausage flatbread with tomato and mozzarella stack was a bargain at $10. The charcuterie board came with house made pastrami, salami, mortadella, and too-crispy lavash ($15).
The menu is still evolving. Some of the dishes were slightly undercooked (duck breast and flatbread) or overcooked (walleye), but the creative menu can easily be improved with better execution.
For dessert, we shared two very large orders of freshly fried and delicious beignets (7 per order) with a trio of sauces (chocolate, caramel and raspberry), a value at $7 per order.
Juniper’s rooftop bar and restaurant brings a big-city feel to Columbus, with a nice menu of small plates, a pleasant setting, and spectacular views, especially at sunset and into the evening. Check it out.
580 N 4th St.
Check their website or call ahead to check if they are closed for a special event.