The Hill is alive, and you probably can’t afford the rent. Well, maybe, but the paradox is that if you pay your rent you’re probably not going to be able to drink like we’re recommending below — and then the whole avoiding-the-DUI-by-walking-from-your-home-to-the-bar-and-back-again-thing is kind of moot. So our advice is to drink, wander and be happy with your status as a resident tourist. And be happy you don’t have to drive these hills when it’s icy.
On general principles you’re going to want to park on the street, but please use the St. Gregory Community Garage (St. Gregory and Monastery streets.). It’s free Sunday through Thursday after 5 p.m., and on weekends it’s half a sawbuck. The garage means you don’t have to go on some late night junkie scavenger hunt to find your car, you won’t have to parallel park on a hill and you never have to fix the parking brake. After you quit whining about paying to park, head across the street to the UDF and nab a couple books of matches. Now you’re ready to light up a cigarette for that looker hanging outside of Mt. Adams Bar & Grill, which brings you to…
Mt. Adams Bar & Grill (938 Hatch St.) is due north. The deep-wood-grain/hunting lodge aesthetic carries throughout and makes you feel affluent even if you’re not. Food prices are reasonable and the burgers legendary, so it’s a good idea to steel your stomach against the coming onslaught with something meaty, beaty, big and bouncy — the Broadcaster, a hunk of beef with swiss between two slices of Rye fits the bill. It’s best washed down with a thick Warsteiner. Pose for some candids next to the picture of Reagan and the rifles that line the wall near the bar and channel the manly spirit of the GOP.
Head to The Blind Lemon (938 Hatch St.), which is just next door but worlds away in terms of atmosphere.
Cavey, cozy and quaint, the Lemon is home to folk singers and dreamers and is an underground delight. If the fire isn’t burning, ask them to light it, or if the weather’s warmer head out to the patio. Down a Hot Cider Rum or another one of the pub’s signature hot toddies and check out the historic autograph and toy collections. Bonus points for playing Dungeons & Dragons and getting other folks in on the game.
Move on to Longworth’s (1108 St. Gregory St.), which is back in the direction of your car, but the night’s still young, so that’s OK. Now that you’re warm and hazy but not quite snookered, you’ll easily slip into one of the Hill’s top party spots. Head to the patio to gawk at passersby and enjoy the fresh air. Down one of the establishment’s delightful cocktail blends (super-strong!) and try your hand at billiards.
Teak Thai (1049-51 St. Gregory St.) is the place to line that stomach again. You’re workin’ it, not workin’, but you still need fuel, and something light helps keep you going. Eel and Octopus Sushi are just what the doctor ordered — slick and flavorful but not too heavy. Your willingness to down such exotic fare will surely impress potential paramours. Wash it down with a shot of Saki.
Head on over to Mt. Adams Pavilion (949 Pavilion St.), your swank and sexy destination for the night. This is the place to see and be seen and shake your stuff on the dance floor. Buckets of imported beer are inexpensive social lubricants for you and your new friends. The stunning view of the city lights is one of Cincinnati’s best, so check it out with someone special. When you’re thoroughly sweaty and exhausted, it’s time to make your way to a more calm locale.
Crowley’s Irish Pub (958 Pavilion St.) is greener than a leprechaun and casual and relaxed like a home away from home. The conversation is some of the smartest you’ll find in a pub — it’s the unofficial office of one of the city’s favorite politicians, David Crowley, and is owned by the Crowley family. Plant yourself at one of the wooden tables and nab a pint of Guinness, the only way to fly. Bonus points for getting a roundabout of “Danny Boy” going among the patrons.
On to The Rookwood (1077 Celestial St.), the final spot on your tour of Mount Adams and well worth the wait. But don’t walk there from Crowley’s, and certainly don’t drive (can you even see the road at this point?). This is a great time to practice some barside hitchhiking with the best-looking sober person you can find. It’s not an imposition — and it’s not far — just tell your new friend about the uber-cool kilns that you can actually sit in or the gorgeous second-floor view (the whole place looks kind of like a brick beehive) and you’ll hook ’em. And they just drove you here, so why not buy them a drink? How about a Les Fleurs du Mal? It’s gin, an absinthe-soaked sugar cube, lemon, prosecco and candied rose petals. What a knockout. A delightful, classy end to the evening.