Cincinnati's food and drink scene has exploded in the last couple years thanks to the revamp of the historical Over-The-Rhine neighborhood. Breweries from the 1800s have re-established themselves in the community, new breweries are getting world-wide recognition, and mixologists from the Tri-State area are publishing pre-prohibition cocktail books that have made it into the New York Times. Rediscover Cincinnati on this crawl through some of the best bars in the city.
Rhinegeist: a pint of Truth
A couple of dudes bought an old Moerlein bottling plant and began brewing some of their own beers. Inside of this converted building, Rhinegeist has set up a friendly, open atmosphere with corn hole and ping pong set up for guests. Head here and begin the crawl with one of their notoriously delicious Truth IPAs.
This Western-themed taco joint serves up craft beer, whiskey cocktails, and one heck of a margarita. If you're with a group, order a pitcher... they're that good. Hungry? They also have kick ass tacos and chips and guac. This is the perfect spot to get a little something in your stomach before you head to the next bar.
The Eagle: Bloody Mary
The Eagle is Bakersfield's sister restaurant. They've taken the old post office on Vine St. and brought a taste of the South to the Queen City. Their Bloody Marys are divine. Order one of these guys, a spicy tomato-vodka concoction with a dash of dark beer and some kale, jalapeños, and olive garnish. It goes well with the bacon app!
A Japanese gastropub located in the historical Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Kaze has Japanese and domestic beers, cocktails, and of course, sake. Wednesday is karaoke night, so if you are looking to belt some tunes after a carafe of sake, swing by in the middle of the week.
Taste of Belgium: Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
Jean-Francois Flechet started Taste of Belgium in a little shop in the Findlay Market. As the crowds became obsessed with Belgium waffles, he opened up his own spot on Vine St. Stop in here and order up a Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale and one of their famous orders of chicken and waffles.
Rhinehaus: Mexican Rhino shot
This is OTR's definitive soccer bar, oh, and the only place where you can get the Mexican Rhino shot: a tequila, lime juice and hot sauce shot. The perfect combination to amp you up before a big soccer game or re-awaken your liver after a long night out.
MOTR Pub: Hudepohl Amber ale
MOTR is the best place in the city to watch a free live show. While hanging out and listening to some jams, grab a "Hudy" Amber and rock out to the band on stage. They bring in acts from all over the country ranging between folk, rock, jazz, and everything in between.
Japps Since 1879: Dirty gin martini
Japps is notorious for their old school cocktail recipes, house made mixers, and eclectic variety of bands they have playing through out the week. Molly Wellman, the head mixologist, has made this bar swanky and a definite Cincy must see. They have weekly specials, which are always super creative, if a martini isn't so much your style.
The Lackman: Bartender's choice of beer
The Lackman is a swanky bar in the building Henry Lackman used to brew in. They have 14 beers on tap, over 30 bottled beers, and a variety of eclectic wine options. Kick back and enjoy whatever beer the bartender suggests.
Arnolds Bar & Grill: Barrel Aged Manhattan
Arnold's makes their Manhattan by mixing Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, Luzardo, and orange bitters together, and then aging them for three months in a house barrel. The end product is super smooth and delicious. Back in the day they use to make bath tub gin and the actual bath tub used for brewing remains upstairs.
Metropole is located on the bottom level of the 21C hotel downtown. The mixologists make their own bitters and shrubs in house. For those unfamiliar with the term, shrubs are an old school way to preserve fruit with vinegar. On another note, if you're around during the summer, head to the rooftop bar to enjoy a poptail, a cocktail with a popsicle stuck into it.
Chef Falk has created a small restaurant empire in the Cincinnati area. This upscale taquiera is a good spot to stop in and chow down on some pork belly and fish tacos, and grab a pitcher of Nadaritas with some friends. If you're looking to keep the buzz going, at least grab some guacamole to give you a surviving chance of not passing out early.
Moerlein Lager House: Christian Moerlein Over-The-Rhine Ale
In 1853, a Bavarian Immigrant Christian Moerlein started brewing European style beers. Moerlein's beer continuously won awards in beer competitions, but he was forced to stop brewing thanks to a little thing called Prohibition. A half a century later, in 1981, the Christian Moerlein brand was re-introduced. They were the first brewery to pass the Reinheitsgebot Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. This is a good stop to make and get a taste of old style beers from Europe and the Cincinnati area.
This was the first Hofbrauhaus to open outside of the original one in Munich, with all of their beers brewed on site. On the weekends, expect a rowdy crowd dancing along to the German folk band playing. It's a promised good time with their liters of fresh brewed German brewed ales. Try the dunkel or one of their ales.
Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar: Willett Pot Still Reserve bourbon
Molly Wellman of Japps and Neons headed across the river to open this bar focusing almost exclusively on bourbons and whiskey. Even if you are not a bourbon drinker, you can get an awesome history and flavor profile lesson on bourbons.
Wunderbar: West Sixth beer
Wunderbar is the "Cheers" of Covington. On Sundays, they have a jam session where everyone sings, plays instruments, and dances. They make the pretzels, mustards, and sausages in house, and they have bomb brussel sprouts and potato dumplings. Stumble in here and order yourself anything from West Sixth, a brewery from Lexington.