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By Heather Smith · September 23rd, 2008 · Cover Story

Chez Nora


the splendor of Solomon’s Temple.” So if you’re having such a good time that you’re moved to recite the Song of Solomon, this would be a good place — maybe the only place — to use a line like, “Let him/her kiss me with the kisses of his/her mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” But before you say anything, wait until you’ve had the wine. Orchids offers a selection of at least 350 varieties. They’re all really good, and depending on how the date’s going you might decide the wine is better. And a date with a love sweeter than Orchids’ No. 10 with Tanqueray, Chambord, ginger ale and a lemon twist might not exist.

The great thing about Orchids is that there are plenty of conversation pieces. For instance, the stage with the backdrop of an original art deco Rookwood Pottery fountain that climbs up to the vaulted, muraled ceiling and is crowned with a pagan goat head. Because the entire scene seems to foreshadow an Aztec sac rifice, it’s a bit anticlimactic when Orchids’ three mild-mannered Jazz musi cians take the stage.

When the conversation lags, you can regale your date with the romantic ghost story of the “Lady in Green” who’s been seen walking through the Netherland’s Hall of Mirrors.

The rumor is that her hus band was killed during the construction of the hotel in 1931, his body was never found and she still walks the place in search of him. 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100

The Cricket Bar at The Cincinnatian Hotel

To continue the theme of haunted hotels, there’s also a rumor that the Cincinnatian is haunted, so if you’re dat ing a medium you might want to avoid it. Seeing dead people can ruin an otherwise good time. For people who aren’t mediums, the Cricket is just a lovely, cozy hotel bar with authentic Jazz and people, including a sincere maître d’hôtel who will make you feel like you’re in an old Hollywood movie.

With plush blue and dusty rose couch es flanked by plants for privacy, a liquid silver fountain and subtle neon light sculptures, the Cricket is one of the most low-key cool bars for hanging out. It’s also one of the best for making out. And if someone tells you to get a room, it’s not a problem.

The Cricket has also entertained its share of celebrities — from Billy Joel to Stevie Nicks — who occasionally enter tain guests. Joel supposedly played the bar’s piano until 2 a.m. 601 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-3000

Chez Nora’s Rooftop

Open through fall, it doesn’t get much more romantic than Jazz on Chez Nora’s rooftop. Because the band is indoors, just enough filters out that you can listen and still hear each other talk. If you can deal with the occasional set of stonewashed jeans and feathered hair, light cigarette smoke and more rooftop views than then you’d find in an amateur indie flick, you’ll love this place.

Make sure you try specialty drinks like The Rooftop Ruby (grapefruit juice, vodka and peach schnapps) and Chez Nora’s Sangria; it’s fun to feed the fruit to your date. Chances are the train will pass by while you’re in the middle of scintillat ing conversation. You can even see it from the roof. It offers a good opportuni ty to conjure all the romantic quotations about trains you’ve ever read, such as the famous notation Anais Nin made in her diary in the fall of 1932: “Midnight. June. June and madness. June and I standing at the station and kissing while the train rushes by us. I am seeing her off. My arm is around her waist. She is trembling.

‘Anais, I’m happy with you.’ It is she who offers her mouth.” It might even be a good time to kiss. Or you can just sit back and drink your PBR. Whatever works for you. 530 Main St, Covington, 859-491-8027



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