Nightlife picks: Uptown Concert Series returns, anniversary party at Mickey's Pub and more

On the nightlife scene, change is a funny thing.

To some extent, we value familiarity. We want our bartender to know our name and our "usual." We want some level of consistency when it comes to scheduling live entertainment.

We want to know what to expect from a bar's bathrooms -- even when the answer isn't pretty.

But at the same time, most partiers also value some level of surprise. A nightlife "rut" is among our worst fears. For every partier obsessed with "the usual," there's a nightlife fan set on flaunting a new getup and exploring The Next Big Thing.

Fortunately, this weekend's nightlife highlights cater to both groups. Consider these noteworthy party options.

Uptown Concert Series returns

Dust off those lawn chairs: Free Friday concerts return to downtown Columbus this week. The shows, which are held on Broadway and open to all ages, are 7-10 p.m. and continue through May 25. The musicians from Big Woody and the Splinters kick off the concert series this week.

Mickey's Pub celebrates anniversary

Speaking of nightlife traditions, Columbus hot spot Mickey's Pub celebrates its 35th anniversary this weekend. Saturday's party starts at 9 p.m. and there's no cover. Expect entertainment from Haywire and drink specials. Mickey's Pub is at 4105 Buena Vista Road.

Nightlife changes

And now, the "something new" portion of this week's column. If you want to change up your nightlife routine, try The Tavern at Main Street, now open at 6298 Veterans Parkway #7 in Columbus.

The new venue boasts food, drinks and live entertainment. Hours are 11 a.m.-midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. The hot spot is open to all ages for lunch and dinner. After 9 p.m. it's open to guests 21 and older. Call 706-315-1864.

Changes extend to the downtown Columbus club scene, too.

The first phase of remodeling at Oxygen (1040 Broadway) is complete. Among the changes: the venue brightened its color scheme, brought in a new DJ and moved the DJ booth. You can also expect some changes in the bar area. Intrigued? Check it out. The bar is open Fridays and Saturdays.

Josh Gracin coming to Bootleggers

Josh Gracin, a country singer who placed fourth on the second season of "American Idol," will perform at downtown Columbus hot spot Bootleggers April 26. Doors will open at 8 p.m. and The Chris Collins Band will open the show. Limited tickets are available.

You can buy advance tickets online here for $24.45. Bootleggers is at 1039 Broadway.