There’s two things we like here in Cincinnati: good food and good drinks. And there’s a lot of options for both of those things around the city. So how do you decide where to hang out when you’re looking for great food and a cool environment? We’ve picked out some of our favorite places to eat and drink around the city that not only make our taste buds happy, but keep us coming back for more.
Gourmet tacos have made their way into the limelight, and we’re not complaining. This taco joint is as badass as Jamie Foxx when he went by the same name in Django Unchained. The tacos are incredible, and Django Western Taco has delicious mixed drinks. You definitely need to try the Strawberry Basil Margarita. Plus, they have an awesome patio for warm summer nights.
If you roll with a big crew, sometimes it can feel like you’re taking over when you show up to a bar. But at Rhinegeist, there’s plenty of room for you and all your friends to hang out, drink beer, and play some ping pong, foosball or corn hole. No one here’s going to give you dirty looks for bringing a big group of people. The best part is that Rhinegeist brews their own beer in house, so you can keep the craft beer pouring all night long. If you want something easy to drink, go with Cougar, but if you’re into IPA’s, we recommend Truth.
Serving kung-food, and playing kung-fu movies. AmerAsia may be small, but don’t let that keep you away. Their food is great, and they’ve got one of the biggest selections of bottled beer in the Cincinnati area. You can tell just walking into this place that these people like to have a good time. If you don’t know where to start on the giant menu, the servers are always willing to answer questions, but you definitely need to start with Dragon’s Breath Wontons.
Partying hard is great, but sometimes you need a place to just chill out and relax, and The Blind Lemon is the perfect place for that. There’s a great outdoor patio, and the inside is cozy enough for colder nights. So when you’re ready to wind down your night partying with all the college kids in Mt. Adams, or if you’re just looking for somewhere to have a conversation, this is the perfect place to hang out. Make sure you try the Blind Baileys.
Do you like meatballs? Trick question: everyone likes meatballs. Even though it’s located in Newport, it won’t be long before this place becomes a Cincinnati favorite. You can choose your meat, your sauce, and how you want your meatballs served. The beer menu is always changing, so you’ll never get tired with the same selections. Bonus: they pay their servers enough that you don’t have to tip, so no math is involved when you get your bill. You should definitely try the Spicy Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Cream.
Let’s face it – pubs are great, but you can only order wings or fish and chips so many times before your stomach starts to protest. That’s why you need to check out BrewRiver GastroPub. It feels like eating at a local pub, but the food has been taken to the next level. They use local ingredients, including local beer, in their food, so the menu is constantly changing. We highly recommend trying the Shrimp Po’Boy.
Dating back to 1848, Arnold’s is one of the oldest bars in Cincinnati, and it’s had plenty of time to build up its awesome reputation. During the prohibition, they shifted from bar to cafe, and have served great drinks and delicious food ever since then. Their patio kicks ass, and you’ll definitely feel at home the moment you walk in. Grab a beer, and order the Cincinnati Dancing Pig.
There’s just something about Terry’s Turf Club that makes you want to stay forever. It could be all the neon lights and vintage posters. Or maybe it’s the peanut shells all over the floor. Or it could be the fact that you might meet someone new sitting with you at your table. Whatever it is, Terry’s is definitely a fun restaurant to visit. Of course, you need to get a burger while you’re there, and if you’re feeling fancy you can always try the Filet Mingon burger.
9. Sky Galley
Sky Galley definitely has that old school diner feel, which is great when you’re looking for a good place to chill out and eat. But the best part is watching planes land and take off at Lunken Airport. You’ll definitely see private jets and small airplanes flying in and out of the airpot, but you’ll see historical and vintage ones as well. Order a Mountain of Nachos, sit back, and enjoy the view.
10. Pirates Cove
Looking for a tropical get away in Cincinnati? Pirates Cove is the best place to get that beachy feeling in the tristate area. It’s right on the water, so when you’re sitting on the patio and sipping a Piña Colada you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to paradise. Live music and events almost every night of the week definitely help make you feel like you’re on vacation too. You should start out with their Grouper Fingers.
11. Zip’s Cafe
This little restaurant can be a great place to go for a quiet date, or to grab a drink with your friends. The dim lighting and curtained booths can keep your dining experience private, or the big tables in the middle of the room can get you mingling with other folks. Not to mention, there’s an awesome electric model train that runs around the entire dining room. For the full Zip’s experience, order the Train Wreck Burger, which is topped with ham and grilled Mettwurst.
12. Bella Luna
One of the best options for Italian fare in the Cincinnati area. Bella Luna is family owned and operated, and you’ll feel like a member of the family as soon as you walk in the door. Don’t be surprised if one of the owners, Harry or Gay, stop at your table to ask about your meal. The large portions means you can definitely steal some bites from the people you’re with. Start out with the Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. For a city that’s generally thought of as a German town, Bella Luna nails the Italian feeling.
13. The Comet
The Comet is another diner that has a vintage feeling, with black and white tiled floors, and old school juke box, and a nice deck out back. But what really makes The Comet an awesome place to hang out is how they run their restaurant. They have live music playing some nights and weekends, but during the day they turn down the music so you can actually have a conversation while you’re eating. The Comet cares about being a meeting place for the Northside community, and welcomes long stays. You’ll definitely want to hang around once you taste their quesadillas.
Photo Credit: Michael LaCalameto
Maybe it’s narcissistic, but we like looking at our city, especially from Celestial in Mt. Adams. It’s one of the classiest restaurants in the city, and if you’re hungry, you can order one of their amazing steaks. This place is also known for their great wine menu, so order some bottles and act like the classy Cincinnatian that you are. Plus, you can dance to live bands in the Incline Lounge on Friday and Saturday nights.
15. Hang Over Easy
After a weekend of drinking and eating like a king, (or a queen, since we are in the Queen City,) you’re going to need some recovery time, and everyone likes brunch. So next time you’re nursing a gnarly hangover, try Hang Over Easy in Corryville. The diner is relaxed enough for the mornings, but upbeat enough that you won’t fall back asleep after you eat. The Gotta Goetta Omelet and beer will help you start to feel better. Not to mention, $4 Mimosas and $3 Bloody Mary’s. We won’t judge how many your order.