What I have always liked about drinking in Clifton is the lack of pomp and circumstance that goes along with it. Sure, there are spots in the neighborhood that make you feel extra old after you round the “30-years-old” mark and keep hurtling towards death. But while it can produce a certain sense of envy regarding the naivety of college student drinkers, in my opinion being around them beats the hell out of going to places with names like “Handy’s,” “Rubby’s Martini Lounge” and “Awesome Club 3000.”
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.
If you haven’t been downtown for a night out, maybe it’s long overdue. Yeah, I know you have to drive and pay to park, but suck it up and go. Parking really is pretty affordable on the weekends and the places I’m giving you are all within walking distance, so be adventurous.
Mount Adams is one of the places where the experience of drinking can change one’s life forever ... OK maybe not forever, but at least for the night. I am loyal to this hilly terrain and its magnificent view of Cincinnati for its friendly bartenders and outgoing social atmosphere.
If a book could represent an evening in Mount Lookout, it’d be a Choose Your Own Adventure book. A store, IKEA. Clothing, cargo pants. As a neighborhood, it’s so damn versatile that it’s hard to place a starting point, but let’s start with dinner. In the mood for Thai? Sushi? Gyro? Pizza? Burger? Park your car in the middle lot and turn circles with your eyes closed.
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 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.
“Why has Over-the-Rhine gone to shit as soon as I move here?” I thought to myself one weeknight not so long ago while walking up a barren Main Street looking for a place, any place, to grab a beer. “It’s not fair!” I actually stomped my foot. That was two years ago.
Like most Westsiders, I don’t venture far from home. Not for a beer anyway. I am not a sports enthusiast but often find myself sitting in friendly neighborhood bars, sipping 16-ounce draft beer specials and cheering whenever it seems necessary. I boast enough knowledge of whatever is on the TV screen to fit in and nod in agreement when discussing high school athletics.