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Why I Drink In Newport

By Casey Fallon · February 23rd, 2011 · Swizzle

I should start off by telling you that I’m writing this from a government computer instead of performing tasks I was actually hired to do. This is because the government doesn’t have the funding to remove snow and ice from a runway in order to adequately train aircrews for wartime airdrop resupply missions that save the lives of troops on the ground. Instead, that money is better utilized by a 22-year-old “emo” kid with skinny jeans to update his Facebook status while sipping Chai tea from an Internet café on the new iPad he just bought with his unemployment check. ;) LOL

That’s why those of us who fight the good fight need the occasional release, and Newport is just the place to find it. One reason is Newport’s bar density — many choices in a small amount of square mileage with little vehicular operation necessary upon arrival. There are ample food and drink options and a high-number of the ever-elusive “friendlies” with whom to banter.

So on a recent Friday night my inner circle of peeps and I donned the appropriate striped shirts, piled in the car with fresh tallboys and headed out on our 25-minute trek from the outer reaches of the northwestern suburbs to the oasis just across the river. The first establishment we found ourselves in was Bar Louie on the Levee. A charming place, it was a little slow but that didn’t stop us from downing some delicious macro-brews and some amazing soft pretzel appetizers. Our visit was short, but we deemed it an appropriate place to one day revisit, perhaps on game night to watch some Ohio professional sports team lose.

Phase II of our venerable warm up could have included any number of neighborhood staples such as Bart’s on York, Crazy Fox Saloon, a pop-in at the Southgate House or dinner at York Stree Cafe.

... But Brothers Bar & Grill was right next door, and Red Bull Vodkas sounded really good after our doughy dinners so we opted to shift gears up a bit and try to mingle with all the cute Kentucky girls. After all, ladies know that the guy who spills liquor on you while staring down your shirt is much classier than the guy who spills beer on you while staring down your shirt. We most likely would have stayed at Brothers and tried to meet some of the lovely clientele, perhaps around their quaint fire pit, but we were unexpectedly contacted by other “friendlies” that happened to be across the street. Reluctantly we left just as the witching hour approached.

Because Newport is a destination, things get a bit livelier as the clock moves closer to last call. Our nightcap involved a return to one of our favorite stops in Newport — Arnies. Now, I’ve barhopped around the world, and never has one specific establishment left me with my ears ringing for two and half days besides this place. (Well maybe that Metallica mosh pit back in ’94, but that’s another story.) I’m pretty sure they’ve set Guinness World Records for highest decibels inside a club, and I also heard a rumor astronauts aboard the International Space Station were able to hear when the DJ plays “Lil John.”

Nevertheless, this night was a definite treat as we unexpectedly ran into a group of sororities and set out to attempt to meet our future first ex-wives. Everyone had a good time and most of us didn’t even puke on our shoes.

What To Do:
River shuttle to all Reds and Bengals games at The Beer Sellar, 301 Riverboat Row
• Live comedy at Funny Bone Comedy Club, Newport on the Levee
• Dueling ivories and ghost tours at Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar, 18 E. Fifth St.
• River shuttle to all Reds games from JB Fins, 301 Riverboat Row
• Live music and DJ performances at Jefferson Hall Saloon, Newport on the Levee
• Live music Wednesdays and weekends at Mansion Hill Tavern, 502 Washington St.
• Local and national music acts at the historic Southgate House, 24 E. Third St.

What To Drink:
• Unique martinis such as the Tickled Pink at Bar Louie, Newport on the Levee
• Absinthe at Crazy Fox Saloon, 901 Washington St.

What To Eat:
• Authentic German fare at Hofbrauhaus, 200 E. Third St.
• Tavern food and coffee menu at Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill, 500 Monmouth St.
• Fine dining in a classy, retro space at York St. Cafe, 738 York St.



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