If you like fun, then Downtown Cincinnati is the place to be. It caters to every type of bar enthusiast looking to let loose on the town. Whether you’re P&G rich or CityBeat poor, Downtown is the place for all. Follow this guide for a great “Sincinnati” night.
Catch a bus to Government Square and take a quick stroll through Fountain Square on your way to Orchids at Palm Court in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza (35 W. Fifth St.). This art deco establishment will make you feel like Donald Draper minus the cool suit and good looks. But just because you don’t have good taste in clothing doesn’t mean you can’t drink fancy drinks. Enjoy the Perfect Pear cocktail and munch on some hummus as the live band slow jazzes you into the arms of some cougars. Pay your tab, tip your hat and stroll out the revolving door.
You just dropped some cash being fancy, so jump across the street to Palomino (505 Vine St.) on Fountain Square. This restaurant/bar has recession-inspired happy hour all day, OMFG! They serve up Sausage and Roasted Mushroom pizzas for $5 and Cranberry Mojitos for $4, NFW! Bring your friends and gaze through the giant window that overlooks the square and laugh at the cute teenage couples on the ice skating rink, MTFO!
Cross the square and push your way into Rock Bottom (10 Fountain Square Plaza). Yeah, it’s a chain, but a real-life brew master freshly brews the beer inside! Start off with the beer sampler ($6.50) of six different types of brew. If you go there during happy hour from 3-6 p.m. you’ll have started this guide kind of early but also be knocked down by the low prices.
You might even hear a dude say, “What? My check is only $8? But I’m wasted!” Pay your tab, exit Rock Bottom and walk through the random hallway to your left.
Head east and go around the corner to Nada (600 Walnut St.). This is a cool hip place where cool hip people hang out and talk about current events or working at P&G. Order a pitcher of the Passion Fruit Margarita ($40 but serves five to six drunks) and a side of chips and salsa ($2; bottomless). Now drink up your margarita. Drink it up! Head north on Walnut.
Look for a weird purple and yellow building called Bootsy’s (631 Walnut St.). Part Miami Beach, part urban loft, part Bootsy Collins’ wardrobe, this place’s bright decor and many mirrors make you feel like you’re in the eye of a hurricane of funk (get it?). Look for pop stars like Justin Jeffre and Brandon Hamilton in the corner at the VIP lounge.
Turn left out of Bootsy’s and cartwheel about three times. Woops, you crashed your drunken ass into the doorman at the Righteous Room (641 Walnut St.). Listen to the sweet beats of DJ Matt Joy and enjoy an array of fancy beverages on the enclosed back patio that has heat lamps for the winter. Admire the artwork on the walls by local artist Paul Coors and New Yorker David Ellis. Chat with the hot babes or well-groomed dudes. If you’ve had enough to drink they might say something funny.
Chug that Miller Light and take a hard left out of the Righteous Room and another left onto Seventh Street. Oh no, your fatty friend wants a slice of pizza — good thing you’re next to Lucy Blue Pizza (35 E. Seventh St.). For about $2.50 you can get a hot and ready slice to satisfy your mouth. Gobble it down, wipe that cheese off your face and take another left out the door.
Continue until you reach Madonna’s (11 E. Seventh St.), where you’ll find a motley crew of local characters. They serve a good meal here, so why wouldn’t everyone come on by? Have a whiskey and coke for $3.50, say goodbye to your new friends, flag a cab outside and head toward Vine Street and the Gateway Quarter, a.k.a. OTR.
Stop at Lavomatic Cafe (1211 Vine St.) for an upscale kind of vibe that’s new and hip. A wide selection of wines, cocktails and amazing food has really hit the head on the hammer appealing to young local professionals and un-professionals. Sing a song with the random dude who wandered in and bought a $5 girly drink, but don’t give him a ride even though he says he’ll sit in the trunk. Gulp down the wine and start the long, architecturally inspiring walk to Liberty Street.
Your final stop is Grammer’s (1440 Walnut St.), one of the oldest bars in town. It’s like you’re walking into grandpa’s den, with giant German pints lining the walls, a popcorn machine, a piano and old timey pictures of Cincinnati. Grab a mixed drink — it might look small, but it’ll knock your socks off. If you enjoy beer, get something unique from the tap or crack open a Hudy Delight for $1.