From my home, on the tip of Ludlow, I can roll down the hill to places such as the PBR, Bud-guzzling Rita’s Place, or perhaps Willie’s Sports Bar, a HDTV gallery serving decent hot wings. But my true Covington haunts are further — about a mile and then some — in MainStrasse Village and the Fourth Street area. They make me feel privileged to live along the river, thanks to their beer snobbery, fatty mac ‘n’ cheese and gourmet burgers.
The Village is the Bar District of Northern Kentucky, welcoming diversity — anyone like and unlike Jazz and Folk musicians, gays and college kids (OK, frat boys) partying harder than Jersey Shore. It’s the playland of Covington’s drinking class.
As I write this, I’m sipping on an Okocim Pale Ale at the Village Pub, the microbrew mecca of the Village. This place is my default choice for several reasons, such as the fact that the pub has imports on the $2/$3 drink list and free popcorn. I don’t care about the smoke. I don’t care about Van Halen and ‘80’s Rock streaming from the speakers or the ESPN-locked TVs in the front room. I care about the beer fridges. Chilling more than 100 different brews, they’re mezmerizing, and they’re a big win on the weekends. That is, I can never find a seat, unless I feel like sitting on someone’s lap. (Secret: Singles like coming here.)
When I finish drinking at the pub, I might drop in Cock and Bull English Pub to the north, or class up the night with wine and goat-cheese pizza at Bouquet. Or drink Miller at Zazou.
Or ... I don’t know, suck down a bock and scarf a California Burger at Zola. Tough decisions.
Covington has loads of options outside the heavenly Village, though, like that Fourth Street area I mentioned earlier. If I’m not buzzing on Two Hearted Ale and baked mac ‘n’ cheese at Keystone Bar and Grill, I’m probably joining the rowdiness at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub. That’s where my friends Team Wolf tear up Trivia Wednesdays, when I drain $2 specials, and, say, a Bodington’s. Team Wolf later spills into the Down Under for ping-pong and a shot (or five) to celebrate another epic loss.
I have more faves in Covington, but I’m reaching the word count for this essay, so I leave you with fragments. Blue Bar. Madison Theater. Chez Nora. Shots on me if you know why they’re cool.
What To Do:
• Country music and mechanical bull at Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike (Wilder)
• Local and national live music at The Mad Hatter, 620 Scott St.
• Trivia on Wednesdays at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, 112 E. Fourth St.
• Local and national live music at The Madison Theatre, 730 Madison Ave.
• Live music 7 nights at week at Strasse Haus, 630 Main St.
What To Drink:
• Root Beer Floats with spirits at Keefer’s Irish Pub, 902 Madison Ave.
• The Angry Bloody Mary at Keystone Bar and Grill, 313 Greenup St.
• Margaritas and F-Bombs at Tickets Sports Café, 100 W. Sixth St.
What To Eat:
• Contemporary American Cuisine at Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, 519 Main St.
• Fine food, drinks and live Jazz at Chez Nora, 530 Main St.
• Traditional British pub fare at Cock & Bull English Pub, 601 Main St.
• Twinkling ivories, a glittery view of the skyline and upscale dining at The Waterfront, 14 Pete Rose Pier
• Burgers and pub food at Zola Pub and Grill, 626 Main St.