"You can come, but you should know this place isn't like anywhere else."
Even though my first invitation to SoHo Bar & Grill was unconventional, I accepted the challenge. That was about six years ago. I hadn't even fully unpacked to begin my life in Columbus.
But I was ready for a night out, and this was my first visit to a bar beyond Broadway.
Between the eclectic wall decorations, conversations with strangers and lack of cover songs, I knew I'd entered new nightlife territory.
Never miss a local story.
I also knew I'd be back.
Tonight, SoHo celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a party that will include music by Stereomonster as well as giveaways and drink specials.
"Ten years is a long time in any small business," said David Carson, owner of the Milgen Road venue.
What's made SoHo successful?
"We've been really consistent," he said. Part of that consistency comes with the bar's staff members, some of whom have worked at SoHo for seven, eight or nine years, according to Carson.
There's also consistency among the clientele. "We're such a neighborhood bar," Carson said.
Make that a neighborhood bar that manages to attract state, national and even international talent. It's a result of hard work from Carson's wife, Vickie, talent buyer for SoHo.
The bar hosts everything from heavy metal to bluegrass to multiple varieties of rock.
"I love and appreciate the fact that we have a clientele who is open to original music in many genres and that they support the artists by buying merch, buying them shots and many times offering them a floor to sleep on, a shower and breakfast," Vickie Carson said.
It's not the only thing she loves about SoHo.
She added, "I love living near Fort Benning and I love when bands acknowledge and honor our military heroes. I also love the opportunity that living here provides bands to get their music heard and spread by military and hearing a soldier tell a band how important their music was to them during a deployment."
Expect more of the same from SoHo in the future -- with one addition.
"We're going to bring back food," David Carson said.
That makes the bar's next 10 years even more appetizing.