The No. 1 reason I drink in Northside is simple: I live there. Northside is a great place to live — one of the few neighborhoods in town with a thriving collection of different humans. Homeowners and renters, black people and white people, old and young, families who’ve been there for decades and cute young couples with their first little baby. Northsiders are nearly as likely to be gay as straight and to have a cat or a dog. The businesses are mostly locally owned and operated. Life is really nice in Northside.
And that’s basically what the Northside bar scene is like — independent, diverse, entertaining and welcoming. The district is anchored by and pretty much defined by the Big 3: Northside Tavern, The Comet and Mayday. Each of these locales does everything a bar should do, and they do them all well. Whether it’s happy hour snacking, evening socializing or late-night partying, you will not be disappointed starting at, stopping by or closing down any of these bars.
Northside Tavern’s back room concert space has pretty much given the bar “epic” status. Nationally touring bands on top of a cool interior space, great outdoor patio and food available from nearby Melt and Northslice pizza? Yes please! The Comet’s food offerings, hundreds of bottled beers, cool jukebox and neighborhood vibe make it super welcoming, whether there’s a specific reason for drinking or not. And Mayday’s gourmet hot dogs, outdoor patio and numerous fun weekly and monthly events — Drunk Bastard Bingo and Slurring Bee, for instance — keep things interesting during the few nights a week it isn’t offering live music.
Other local bars are sprinkled in among Northside’s coolness, and should you choose to venture inside Junker’s, the C&D Cafe or Club Bronze you’ll likely find yourself in a type of place you’ve never been before but for some reason feel really comfortable.
In addition, the Northside restaurant scene is pretty great, with places like Honey, Melt, Take the Cake and Ko-Sho Japanese Restaurant offering creatively inspired menus and good service.
You can basically do whatever you want in Northside no matter who you are or what you’re like (as long as you’re not a dick). There are even some dicks in Northside but once you get to know them they’re not so bad. If you frequent the Northside bars enough, you’ll know who they are, too, and probably just shake your head and then sit on the stool next to them and enjoy your drink. Most people aren’t so bad once you get to know them. And that’s pretty much what drinking in Northside is like — being around many different people and enjoying it a lot.
What To Do:
• Drag shows on Sundays at Club Bronz, 4029 Hamilton Ave.
• Karaoke on Saturday nights at C&D Cafe, 1714 Hanfield St.
• Drunk Bastard Bingo on Wednesdays and Slurring Bee every third Thursday at Mayday, 227 Spring Grove Ave.
• Live band karaoke Tuesdays and DANCE_MF the first Saturday of the month at Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave.
What To Drink:
• Lou’s Bloody Mary with spicy green beans at C&D Cafe, 1714 Hanfield St.
• Several retro refrigerators full of bottled beers plus seasonal draughts at The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave.
• Extensive sake selection at Ko-Sho Japanese Restaurant, 4172 Hamilton Ave.
• Irish Coffee and the Sacred Cow Martini at Sidewinder Coffee, 4181 Hamilton Ave.
What To Eat:
• Burritos, chips and Sunday Brunch at the The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave.
• Gourmet hot dogs at Mayday, 227 Spring Grove Ave.
• Vegan-friendly sandwiches delivered next door to Northside Tavern by Melt Eclectic Deli, 4165 Hamilton Ave.
• Late-night pizza window or delivery inside Northside Tavern by Northslice Pizzeria, 1609 Chase Ave.