The 6 Things To Do at the New Junto Hotel

August 10, 2023

Disclaimer: our stays were hosted by The Junto. Photos and opinions are our own.

The Junto opened at the beginning of June 2023, offering Columbus’ first “independent lifestyle” hotel. It’s a centerpiece of the Scioto Peninsula development next to COSI in Franklinton, and features a mix of dining experiences that are open to both guests and the public.

The Junto (pronounced JUNE-tow) takes its name from a club formed by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s, meant to bring together people from different backgrounds to share intellectual ideas.

Here are six things to do at the new Junto hotel!

1. Enjoy the comfort of your room

The rooms at The Junto feature modern touches while remaining comfortable. One of our favorite features was the cushioned seat by the window – a lovely spot for reading a book.

Every room features water, snacks, and a few DripKits, which are packets with little cardboard filters and pre-ground coffee that let you essentially make a small pour over right in your room. Brilliant!

2. Grab coffee and breakfast from Maudine’s

Located off the lobby, the bovine-themed Maudine’s coffee shop gets its name from the Holstein cow who was voted Ohio State’s homecoming queen in 1926.

The shop offers a full coffee bar, pastries, and light breakfast.

You’ll also catch a selection of teas, a breakfast sandwich, and breakfast tacos.

Plus a grab-and-go shelf with sandwiches, snacks, salads, and drinks.

The Trade Room and Maudine’s overlap if you sit out in the lobby. There you’ll find the same coffee, tacos, sandwich, and pastries, with added entrees.

Maudine’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn more about Maudine’s:

3. Enjoy cocktails, snacks, and games in the lobby bar, The Trade Room

One of our favorite aspects of The Junto is the lobby. It’s designed so when you walk in, instead of being greeted by the front desk, you see a bar, cozy seating, tables, a big fireplace, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

You feel more like you’re in a library than a hotel lobby, and it’s open for you as guests to hang out and relax.

You’ll find books and board games. During one of our stays, the boys spent a hour or so playing chess.

The lobby is essentially The Trade Room bar, which intersects with The Junto’s other restaurants like Maudine’s and Little West Tavern. Every morning from 7-11 a.m. they offer coffee and light breakfasts from Maudine’s, and from 2 p.m. to about 10 or 11 p.m. (depending on the day) they offer drinks plus a selection from Little West.

All this means that you can relax in the lobby with a cocktail, a meat and cheese tray, or other light bites.

They also offer a smashburger which is pretty terrific.

The Trade Room opens onto a small, brick patio with fireplace and more seating.

It was the perfect place to wind down the day, especially when the fireplace is going…

…and with a plate or two of dessert.

Learn more about The Trade Room:

4. Grab dinner and drinks with eighth-floor views at Brass Eye

The Brass Eye is The Junto’s eighth-story restaurant and bar. It features patios that wrap around three parts of the building, offering you views of downtown, the Scioto Peninsula, and Franklinton.

The Brass Eye and its menu are inspired by a 1737 publication by Benjamin Franklin called the Drinker’s Dictionary. The menu sections (as well as the restaurant name) come from different terms for drunkenness in Franklin’s tome.

They smartly designed the bar to have two sides, so you can sit both inside and out.

Brass Eye is primarily a bar, although they do offer a focused menu.

The east-facing view is one of the best in the city, looking out over COSI, the riverfront, and downtown.

The eclectic menu covers dishes like tuna tartare…

…to seared scallops…

…to short rib over mashed potatoes. All very well executed.

There are even a few desserts, like these creative “choux”-ters with choux pastry and pipettes of liquor.

The west-facing portion of the patio is especially nice as the sun goes down. There are a pair of fireplaces and lights strung about.

Learn more about the Brass Eye:

5. Enjoy hearty grub at Little West Tavern

Little West Tavern is The Junto’s ground-floor restaurant. It’s accessible right off the lobby and like the other eateries is open to the public. Located at the corner of the building, it features a wrap-around patio, plus a three-sided bar that opens to the street.

The restaurant is built around an open-hearth kitchen, so you have a good view of the culinary team at the grill. There’s even a row of seats facing the kitchen; they’ll probably be popular spots once the weather turns chilly.

The menu includes a curated wine list, small collection of beers, and fun cocktails like the smoked Fancy Old Fashioned.

They also feature a collection of unique tavern dishes, like the queso fundido with mushroom chorizo.

Or bone marrow and toast.

For main meals, you’ll find cedar plank salmon with trout roe and a lovely caper dill sauce.

There are sides of garlic loaded fries with house chili crisp.

Features like a side of elote and the Denver Diane with Ohio waygu.

And the ember-roasted prawns.

Little West Tavern is also introducing a walk-up window serving late-night poutine!

Learn more about Little West Tavern:

6. Rent kayaks, bikes, and other equipment from the Gear Garage

As an “independent lifestyle” hotel, The Junto encourages you to get out and explore the surrounding area. To that end, they feature the Gear Garage!

The Gear Garage includes free, rentable equipment available to guests, and includes everything from bikes and scooters, to balls and frisbees, to kayaks and skateboards, to VR headsets and GoPros.

You can request reservations of items before your stay, which is recommended for experiences like kayaking through Windrose Outdoor.

We spent an hour one morning kayaking on the Scioto River. They have the equipment set up, including life vests, so you get to just show up and enjoy a quiet paddle up and down the river, with the city skyline and bridges surrounding you!

Learn more about the Gear Garage:

The Junto
77 Belle St.
Columbus, OH 43215

FB: Junto Hotel
IG: @thejuntohotel

Disclaimer: our stays were hosted by The Junto. Photos and opinions are our own.

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I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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