Mynt Martini is one of the best discos in Cincinnati, and is located right on Fountain Plaza downtown. It's very casual as most of these places are, and after a Bengals game expect a lot of excitement. I was there during Octoberfest as well, so this place was really rocking.
The German heritage in Cincinnati is very big, and each year at the end of September Octoberfest closes the streets downtown. German food, locally crafted beers, polka music and dancing. What more does one need? When I visited, the weather was still very fair and warm at night.
Although the name may give the impression that food (particularly french fries) is the focus, Fries Cafe is actually a beer bar. In fact, I don't think they regularly serve food even.
And what a beer bar it is. Taps are usually exclusively regional microbrew specialties (i.e. - seasonal, small batch and not available in 12 oz. bottles), including Dark Horse, Bell's, Great Lakes and Founders, but can include pretty much anything good that you can get in Cincinnati (Southern Tier, Avery, 21st Amendment, etc.)
The bar itself has a very homey, neighborhood feel to it. There are small tables throughout the first floor to supplement the relatively small bar and an old wooden floor. Although it's a beer bar, there are regulars there sipping martinis and drinking Bud Light, watching whatever's on the TV and chatting with the bartender, who seems to know most of them.
There's a daily happy hour (they're open every day) from 4pm to 9pm.
We came for a beer tasting, which was mostly held upstairs (outside) and was quite an event. Lots of beer, lots of food and even some live music. If it's a nice day, this is a good event to go to as they do these regularly while it's warm.
Dress Code: Casual
Friday night at Jacob's has a wonderful atmosphere. The theme is 80's night and you will find a wonderful assortment of people who attend the evening. Northside, the neighborhood in which Jacob's is located, is slowly becoming the new alternative neighborhood of Cincinnati. The crowd of Jacob's reflects this. You will see the older punk rock crowd, Ravers, Drag queens, and lot's of laid back ordinary people who just want to drink and dance. Many people get decked out in their 80's gear for the evening. The drinks are a low price. Check it out, you'll love it.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
The best Goth/Industrial night in Cincinnati. The music, lighting, and crowd are wonderful. The ;parking is free and easy and the drinks are cheap.
Dress Code: Come as you are although most people dress in the typical Goth attire or all black.
This is a divey, hole-in-the-wall kinda joint. Real skankariffic, if you know what I mean. The upstairs area was fine (that's why I'm showing these photos); the drinks were KILLER. If you like more alcohol in your drink than filler then this is the place for you, my friend.
The downstairs looked and smelled as if it'd been flooded and barely cleaned afterwards. Why'd we come here? Ebony heard they had some male strippers there that night and since it was HER BIRTHDAY, we had go! Except that the strippers were set to begin at 11:00. Set to begin. Which didn't happen. Occasionally, one fully-clothed guy would hop up on-stage and do a half-hearted gyration. Wow. Sexy stuff. Anywho, an hour-and-half later I'm texting someone "Can you come & take me home?" ;D
OMG, I forgot to tell you about THE BATHROOM! It was one big square room, one dimly lit bulb in the corner, door stalls hanging off the hinges, couldn't secure them in any way, and there's an industrial-sized roll of toilet paper laying on its side on THE FLOOR. So imagine me using the facilities, with one foot on the door, then deftly trying to grab the toilet paper and turning the side that's BEEN TOUCHING THE FLOOR inside the wad so it doesn't touch me, while a woman outside my stall is cursing saying "I'm so damn mad, this place doesn't even have SOAP!" over and over again in a mantra (obviously hoping that this mantra will magically call some soap into this bathroom)! There wasn't even a garbage can in this place. And we're, y'know, WOMEN. We need a garbage can. You could see other people had taken their garbage and thrown it in the cupboard under the sink. Nasty.
Dress Code: Skankariffic!
Photos: October 30, 2009
Ahhhh, the Southgate House, one of my FAVORITE PLACES, is located in a cool old Victorian manse where the Tommy Gun (early machine gun) was invented.
I've seen my fave Cincy band, Fairmount Girls, play here along with my fave Columbus band, Howlin' Maggie. Always the best new bands, come here for something cool & eclectic. It was just 4 years ago that Sleater-Kinney opened up with a new upcoming relatively unknown band here (at that time), The White Stripes. Sometimes you might see one of Greg Dulli's (of Cincinnati favorite, Afghan Whigs) new bands playing here.
Even saw Sheila E's brother here about 6 years back - Alejandro Escovedo! He jumped off stage with his guitar & meandered amidst the crowd singing & playing - just amazing in concert!
They generally have live music in the bar but the best venues are down in the ballroom basement - coolest place!
Upstairs in the renovated attic space is an art gallery. I met the bassist for Howlin' Maggie and he later gave me his 1st autograph ever!
Technically not in Cincinnati but part of the "Greater Cincinnati Area" just across the river in Newport (which has fantastic views of Cincinnati across the Ohio River).
Hours: Noon - 2:30am (7 days/week)
Mr. Connolly & I showed up here 2 Saturdays ago to celebrate my upcoming b-day. We'd just had a faboo dinner at Café Istanbul & here we had a great time mulling over the artwork in the attic art gallery, checking out the locals & sipping beer & Amaretto Sours on the Victorian front porch!
Photos: September 2005
Dress Code: Black, black, black (casual or dressy - however you wish)
Having heard that one of the best folk punk bands ever (along with The Pogues) was playing at McFadden's downtown, we headed on out to see the show. As it was festival seating it was crowded but we managed to find a spot off to the side for a premier view. The place was absolutely rockin', the acoustics were great, the verve of the crowd was infectious and the concert tees were reasonable (one of my pride & joy purchases).
Gordon Gano, the lead singer, lyricist & guitarist for the band told us he felt quite at home here considering the concert was held outside behind McFadden's in Gano Alley. What a welcome!
Read recently that McFadden's has closed but that there is new ownership already who'll reopen the place under a different name. Hopefully, the tradition of bringing excellent bands to the Queen City will continue!
Photos: Summer 2005
Dress Code: Totally casual! It's a BAR!!
For salsa dancing, there's a great place downtown called The Havana Martini Club:
You can check out their calendar to see what's playing on what nights:
This is one of the few places that stays open late, 'til 1am at least (that's when they stop serving appetizers), so when I took the Megabus from Cincinnati to Chicago March 2008, this was one of my options for hanging out downtown until the bus showed up at 1:30am!
Happy hour is from 4-7pm Tues-Fri, making this one of the most popular places downtown; here's the drinks (very expensive but excellent!) menu:
I particularly enjoy the Katherine Hepburn and the Sidney Poitier martinis! They also do one called Casablanca, which is champagne, chambord (instead of creme de cassis like a Kir Royal) and garnished with raspberries! This is what Cassaundra & I drank when we popped in after seeing The Color Purple at the Aronoff.
As this sits inside Carew Tower I thought I'd also mention that the Carew Tower Mall is my 2nd-favorite mall in the city, although not quite as fun in tone as Kenwood Towne Center. This is also the tallest building in the city so if you time it right, you can take the elevator to the top for views of the city:
Here's an index of the Tower Place Mall's stores:
Carew Tower overlooks Fountain Square, the heart of downtown:
Enjoy your time in Cincinnati!
Dress Code: Dress up like you're going out on the town for dancing, 'cause you ARE! :D
Photos: April 18, 2008
Cassaundra & I saw the wondrous The Color Purple last month (April 18th, 2008), the play based off the film starring Oprah Winfrey (who also helped produce the show) and the fantabulous book by Alice Walker.
The show was absolutely amazing, especially considering that 5 of the cast members were replaced by other actors. Now if these were the replacements then I wonder of what calibre the originals were. In any case, their acting was beyond measure causing us to laugh, cry, sing, shout, wave our hands and stomp our feet!
What I thought hilarious, though, was when some of the stuffy white folk (who obviously showed up because they'd heard this was a hit show and hadn't read the book nor watched the film) GASPED when Celie revealed the father of her children was HER OWN FATHER (which if you've seen the movie or read the book you know it's actually her horrid stepfather, but nevertheless...).
Please be mindful that no photos are allowed during the play; these were taken before the show & during intermission.
Anywho, it's a fabulous show - spend your money and make the trip downtown because you'll definitely get your money's worth on this one!
Dress Code: Anything goes from people dressed to the nines to people who were casual dressy like Cassaundra & me (I wore nick black slacks, black/white spring sweater from NY & Co with baby doll heels).
Photos: April 18, 2008
This is the bar i most frequent in Cincinnati, i've become a regular:) they even have a drink called an Allyson, i know its terrible. thats when you know its getting bad:) hehe!!
This is newly owned and renovated nightclub/bar. It does cater to the "gay" community, but they call themselves a people bar, everyone is welcome and it is not meat markety. my boyfriend works there, and he does serve wonderful drinks! always cheap and strong. everynight is something different. Wed. & Sun. they have karoke, Thurs. is ladies night and my friend Dave d.j.'s. Sat. nights they usually have a drag show. oh, the best for last! Friday is 80's night, all the best post-punk and new wave, its is fabulous! oh, and they have light boxes you can dance on, always good. owners are friendly, so are the patrons. you are guaranteed a good conversation and a good time!
Dress Code: free for all!
We stopped in with the hopes of some Salsa dancing, but arrived on the wrong night.... although the outside appearance of this place is not very impressive, once you walk in you're welcome by a soothing environment of deep colors and the mild smell of cigar smoke and leather. I like it here.
Dress Code: Dress a little bit better than you usually would.
I went to Music Hall to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra last spring, featuring André Watts, world-famous pianist, assisting on the Beethoven piece (middle section). We had a fabulous view of Mr. Watts' face (sitting in the box A seat on the right side of the music hall) as he was alternately pounding out & tickling the ivories of Beethoven's fabulous music. His lips he was syncopating in time to the music, almost as if he was using it as a metronome. He was wonderfully absorbed in his music so that I called him the Thelonious Monk of classical music. Yet he was perfectly engaged with the conductor, our wonderful Paavo Järvi, the famous Estonian maestro that is making quite a name for him while eliciting comparisons of our symphony to the New York Symphony.
Paavo is amazing to watch – his hands & arms float on top of the music, responding to the "wind" of the music. Some moments, when the music is at its height, it seems that he is buffeted about like a sailboat in a Mediterranean storm but then you notice that he quickly takes command of the music – he is in control. He alternates between heavenly absorption in the music, his eyes closed, and open engagement of his symphony, his eyes darting about here and there to "speak" to this violinist or that percussionist waving his hand up or down dependent upon how loud or soft he wishes the music to be. His musicians dutifully respond and at the end of each piece he nods his assent, his face glowing with satisfaction, knowing they have played excellently while he has conducted beautifully.
Dress Code: Dress to the NINES, m'dear! Of course, black is always an excellent choice!
Paavo said that Schumann/Schubert is one of his favorite composers’ music to conduct.
Got all 3 autographs: Andre Watts, Paavo Järvi & Jonathan Holland, the composer of the new piece commemorating the National Underground Railroad museum opening.
Paavo has studied with Leonard Bernstein in Los Angeles & Paavo's father was a famous Estonian composer as well. Paavo is quite young; born in 1962, just 5 years older than me.
On stage, Paavo seems enormous, as if he is 6’ 5” but in person he is of average height. His cut of clothing is beautiful and he looks very elegant in his dark suit up on stage. No wonder he has symphony “betties”.
His pictures make him seem cocky & arrogant but in reality he is very modest and he seems very humble regarding the adoration from the audience. He received several standing ovations & came back twice before leaving altogether.
Attended opening night 9/16 & it was MAGNIFIQUE! An all-Beethoven program - Ode to Joy was never more beautiful!
PHOTOS OF LEONIDAS KAVAKOS
Would I be the Beat Chick if I didn't love Jazz??? ;D
For a true jazz experience, head over to the Blue Wisp downtown and check out one of the visiting jazz combos playing styles as varied as bebop to fusion. The place is as classic as they get complete with smoky bar, man!
Our illustrious young symphony conductor, Paavo Järvi, likes to pop in for a session when he's in town. Man cannot live by orchestral music alone!
Please check out the wonderful work of my close friend & mentor, Sandye Utley, who does the Blue Wisp's website!
Got a chance to pop back in (with my compadre, Sandye) last Friday night for my birthday after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra season opening. Met the inimitable Art Gore, a fine fab jazz drummer who's played with George Benson! Marjean, the owner, fixed me up a martini with raspberry vodka, sweet&sour mix & a splash of cranberry juice - wunderbar! Please check out the website which was conceived & is maintained by my great friend, Sandye Utley.
Dress Code: Casual but if you wear all black you'll blend in with the crowd & the ambience!
If you're hosting a party at your place, or going to someone else's house for a party, you need to come here first.
It's like a cross between a Hallmark store and a Liquor Store, with almost anything you need for 'entertainment' purposes.
They even offer cooking classes, and wine and beer tasting classes too.
They also have a huge walk-in humidor where they have hundreds of cigars.
Dress Code: No Shoes No Shirt No Service