Newport is an ideal spot to cut loose and enjoy the finest fruits of life: Irish whiskey, pints of German bock and plenty of other folks who are down to achieve “hog wild” status. In one night here you can dance on tables, throw elbows in a mosh pit, chain smoke indoors and cool down after all the madness by taking a walk alongside the river (optional).
Follow this guide properly, and you’re bound to have some stories to tell afterwards. You’ll probably also meet some new drinking buddies along the way.
Park at the east end of Fifth Street near Washington Avenue; it’s free and close to Mansion Hill Tavern (502 Washington Ave.), the first watering hole of the evening. Politely greet the wooden Indian statue as you walk through the door and make your way to the bar. Look around as you wait for your $2.50 PBR. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a patron smoking a pipe while casually strumming some blues chords on a guitar, which sets an appropriate tone for your night ahead. Finish your beer quickly and head for the next bar before your base buzz wears off.
Hofbrauhaus (200 E. Third St.) is two blocks away toward the river. You moved too slowly and need another drink, so head for the less-populated biergarten (lines are shorter and you’ll be drinking sooner). Order a pint of Bergbock, a hoppy seasonal brew with a touch of sweetness, and make your rounds. Enjoy the freedom of dancing on long wooden tables with dozens of other drunk people, and don’t feel bad if you spill some beer on them — the back of your shirt already has a few beer stains.
Look both ways before crossing Third Street and make your way to Jefferson Hall in the Levee. Walk through the door and, whoa, another freakin’ Indian statue to greet! Order a drink at the Star Trek-esque bar and enjoy feeling sophisticated as you lounge on a leather sofa with your $2 domestic. Then get some fresh air on the patio and contemplate the essence of civilization while gazing across the river at Downtown Cincinnati. If your train of thought leads you to a dark place, it’s time to sober up a bit. Soak up some alcohol with a bison burger and fries, tip your server and bid the Indian chief a farewell on your way out.
Upon exiting Jefferson Hall, take 10 steps straight ahead and you’ll be inside Claddagh Irish Pub. Pass through a few stone archways to the bar, which is stocked to the brim with Irish whiskey. You know what this means: Jameson time! For those who don’t typically drink whiskey, chase it with pineapple juice and the burn magically vanishes. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong ordering Guinness from a bartender whose shirt reads “Work is the curse of the drinking class.” Well put, lad.
Stumble out of the pub and forget that traffic exists as you race back across Third Street to the Southgate House (24 E. Third St.). As you wander through the red-carpeted halls of the Victorian mansion, you feel like you’ve somehow gotten so drunk you’re in the cartoon realm of Scooby Doo and should be solving a mystery. The mystery is why the hell you don’t have a drink in your hand. Head down to the ballroom, order a shot and enjoy a whole lineup of bands on a full-sized stage. You’ll see everything from Rock to Acoustic here, and when the Punk group starts its first song put your drink down and give that guy next to you a shove. Incite a full-blown mosh pit and unleash that whiskey rush you’ve worked up. Offer to buy a drink for the guy you accidentally elbowed in the neck and move on to the next bar.
Be careful not to fall down the long flight of stairs on your way to the sidewalk, then stumble around the corner to Bart’s Pub and Patio (323 York St.). Like Mansion Hill Tavern, the place is a local hangout and you’re bound to hear at least one Journey song on the jukebox. If you aren’t spinning around on the whiskey carousel yet, order one more shot for the night and get fresh air on the massive patio out back. Strike up conversation here. This is your last (good) opportunity to get some phone numbers, so carpe diem.
Your bed seems so far away and you’re wondering whether you’ll make it there without barfing in the cab, so it’s time to soak up some of that expensive alcohol with a few cheap sliders at the White Castle (1 W. Fifth St.) situated one block to your left as you leave the pub. Don’t worry: You won’t feel guilty about eating them until the next morning. Just make sure not to promiscuously invite anybody in line back to your place or the guilt might last a lifetime.