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Column: An Ode to Too’s

Too’s Spirits Under High has had an unknown future since it announced its eventual closure due to the 15th and High redevelopment plan. Credit: Courtesy Too’s Spirits Under High Instagram

It is the end of an era. Too’s Under High went out in a blaze of glory, opening at 5 a.m. Monday and closing its doors for the last time at 3 a.m. Tuesday. Despite its reincarnation in the form of Three’s Above High, which opened during the summer under the same ownership, it was a sorrowful moment for Ohio State students and alumni everywhere.

Too’s was a glorified cellar, a dirty, scrubby place with dim lighting that couldn’t completely mask the grime. That’s what gave it character. In the past couple of years, shiny new bars popped up on High Street in the immediate vicinity of Too’s. However, this didn’t detract from Too’s customer base. If anything, this turned Too’s into a time capsule — while everything around it was constantly changing, Too’s remained the same.

You didn’t go to Too’s because you wanted a kale açaí smoothie bowl and a cocktail shaken with activated charcoal. You went to Too’s because you wanted to douse your friends and everyone around them in tidal wave shots and listen to acoustic covers of your favorite songs from middle school. You went to celebrate birthdays and big football wins with $10 hangovers in a bottle (also known as champagne) and perhaps be lucky enough to snag a booth plastered in beer bottle labels to squish into with all of your friends.

Too’s was a cornerstone of Ohio State’s bar scene. It was a place where being 21 was just a soft suggestion instead of a hard requirement.  The magical thing about Too’s is that everyone has his or her favorite memory of being there — it was a place you could always return to because it always felt familiar and warm (both figuratively and literally warm, as lots of bodies packed into a basement created a fairly toasty atmosphere).

The opening of Three’s softens the closure of Too’s, but there are several reasons that Three’s will never provide the same experience. You can’t just manifest a dive bar at its inception. A dive bar only becomes a dive bar after decades of wear and tear, sheets of stickiness and crust, layers of graffiti and carvings, which is why we must now protect Out-R-Inn at all cost. Three’s might offer the same live music element and crudely named shot menu (my personal favorite is the screaming orgasm) but it cannot have the same underground atmosphere that made Too’s special.  

Hordes of people came to celebrate Too’s on its last day, if only for the length of one beer and a final Snapchat story. In its typical fire-hazard fashion, everyone in the bar was packed in like sardines and the line to get in stretched all the way to 15th and High. It was a melancholy feeling, to be there for the closing, but to be surrounded by Ohio State peers — people who all cared about Too’s the same amount for so many different reasons.

So, Too’s, we salute you. Thanks for sticking around until you were forced to leave, thanks for letting us come inside you one last time, and thanks for the memories. Cheers.

 

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