The former owners of the Rambling House music venue and bar are looking to build an entertainment and recreation complex across South High Street from the South Drive-In.
The complex, called Rambling House South, would include a kayak and canoe launch on the 19-acre site, which overlooks a pond and the Scioto River.
“We’re super excited, it’s something my wife and I have been working on for a couple years now,” said John Lynch, who founded Rambling House in the Old North Columbus neighborhood in 2014 with his wife, Jennifer.
“We don’t think there will be much like it as far as an entertainment venue that sits on the water and allows access to 15 acres of outdoor space.”
The couple sold the Rambling House bar, at 310 E. Hudson, in 2019, but kept the Rambling House beverage company, which makes sodas, cocktails and an energy drink. Rambling House beverages, which are served in more than 20 bars and restaurants in the Columbus area, are made in a new facility on Harmon Avenue.
Rambling House South: Here’s what’s proposed for the entertainment complex
A plan submitted to the city calls for three buildings, ranging from 2,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet, that would sit far off South High Street and overlook the 3-acre pond.
Lynch said the first and smallest building would house the kayak and canoe launch livery.
“We really love the outdoors – so does everybody who works at the Rambling House,” Lynch said. “That’s what really drew us to this in the first place, the opportunity for Rambling House to be part of an entertainment venue that really stresses outdoor recreation.”
Other buildings would house a restaurant and entertainment venue and beverage production, which would include a distillery for the company’s bottled cocktails. Lynch said Rambling House Cocktails would like to expand its cocktail offerings, which now focus on a Moscow Mule.
Lynch said the couple is excited to be able to offer more entertainment options than it could in the original Rambling House space, a 1,700-square-foot building next to a residential neighborhood.
“We’re looking to do something kind of like we did in the Old North, just a little bigger,” he said. “We’ve worked with some great bands from all across the country but we were limited by the space.”
The couple is in contract to purchase the South High Street property from the City of Columbus Land Bank.
“We just love the location,” Lynch said. “I’ve been going to the drive-in movie theater since I was a kid. It was the first place my own kids ever saw a movie.”
Lynch said he hopes to break ground this summer.
The couple is asking that the property be rezoned from residential and commercial to limited manufacturing. The Columbus Development Commission is scheduled to hear that request on March 10.
In a memo, the city’s planning staff noted that it “generally supports the proposal,” while requesting more information on the project.