Rambling House Soda is a spot for homemade sodas and guitar strumming.
Wednesday through Sunday, the bar hosts a variety of Americana and folk musical acts.
When Rambling House first opened two years ago, it was only open on weekends and focused mainly on its soda business. Soda production had taken off, so it leased another space to make the soda in. The bar, located at 310 E. Hudson St., is now focused on music, along with serving the sodas.
Owner John Lynch said he focuses on the acoustic acts because that is his personal favorite type of music.
“Acoustic guitar and fiddle, I could listen to that all day long,” Lynch said. “It’s really great music to come to a bar and have playing. Most of the time it’s pretty happy, it’s up-tempo.”
Lynch said he strives to make performing at Rambling House a positive experience for musicians, and the bar offers perks that others do not. Any money made from cover charges goes straight to the musicians. In addition, the bar creates and sells buttons with musicians’ logos, with proceeds going to the performers. Musicians are permitted to collect tips from the crowd as well.
“It’s things like that that help us with booking because word gets around to musicians that we treat musicians right and that it’s a nice environment and they want to play here,” Lynch said.
Those benefits do not go unnoticed for local musician and Ohio State student Libby Brigner, who has played at Rambling House multiple times.
“I think musicians really like to play there,” said Brigner, a fourth-year in forestry, fisheries and wildlife. “People who come in and out are always really respectful. Everyone there is so nice, it’s just a really great place to be.”
Besides being an environment that musicians like to perform in, Rambling House strives to create an environment set apart from the typical campus bar scene.
The nightly music can serve as a background to conversations and even schoolwork.
“We try to always have it at a level where you can have a good conversation at a table and not have to scream,” Lynch said.
Brigner said Rambling House is a nice change of pace for students.
“You can kinda just go hang out,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about drinking or socializing too much. Sometimes I just go in and do homework and listen to the music.”
Brigner, who plays in an old-time band, said she especially enjoys the “old-time jams” on Sundays, describing the experience as “very inclusive and community-based.”
In keeping with the music and community focus, Rambling House also puts on Vinyl Nights. Patrons are encouraged to bring in their favorite record and share a song or a whole side. Lynch hopes to encourage discussion between patrons about their favorite music with this event.
Lynch said that the goal isn’t necessarily to compete with other bars, but to be in a league of their own.
“We’re not trying to be the best bar in Columbus at everything, we’re just trying to be a good bar that’s well-rounded,” Lynch said.
Rambling House Soda is open 6 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Sunday, and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.