- Associated Press - Monday, August 18, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - One of the most popular questions fielded by owner Chris Hale and his staff at My Bar 161 has nothing to do with happy-hour appetizer specials or a particular brand of beer.

More commonly, they hear: Do you have a phone charger under the bar I can use?

So, when Hale opened Hale’s Ales & Kitchen last month near Hilliard, he installed a phone-charging station on the south wall of the bar and restaurant.

The wooden console, which bears the bar’s logo, boasts chargers for various types of cellphones and tablets.

“Everybody in this day and age is looking for a charge,” Hale said. “Almost everyone who walks in here is using it and plugging in their phones for at least a little while.”

With society’s increasing desire to stay connected, more businesses, venues and events are offering opportunities for customers or visitors to power up dead or dying batteries on electronic gadgets.

At Huntington Park, baseball fans can secure their phones in a goCharge locker without missing the game.

Attendees at the recently ended Ohio State Fair could choose among four charging stations (offered by various sponsors) spread throughout the fairgrounds.

And music festivals - including central Ohio’s Rock on the Range and Tennessee’s Bonnaroo - have added charging stations to their lineups in recent years.

For those in need of a charge, the stations provide a welcome boost.

At a recent Columbus Clippers game, Bob Rutter’s iPhone 4 died before the first pitch had been thrown.

“I was in the middle of texting my wife, so it was unfortunate timing,” said the 48-year-old, who was at Huntington Park with friends.

Without the free-to-use kiosk - which sponsor Mount Carmel Health System set up last season on the outer walkway on the third-base side of the stadium - the Grandview Heights resident said he would have wasted time trying to borrow a charger from a stadium employee.

“Or I would have been out of luck,” he said, “because - guess what? - there are no pay phones here.”

Rutter put his phone in one of the nine kiosk cubbies, set a combination for the lock using the keypad and was back in his seat before the end of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Story Continues →