If you're looking for your own 15 minutes of fame but find your skill sets are generally limited to things that are superfluous — or, in this case, possibly self-destructive — your best bet might be to take up one of these local eating challenges (these are the ones we know of — we bet there's a lot more of 'em) so you can achieve glory, superstar status and indigestion — right after you unbuckle your pants.
Everybody knows Cincinnati is obsessed with food, probably because there's a lot of it around here. Good food, that is. Whether you want to show off, naturally induce hibernation, experience a lifetime's worth of a particular dish in one sitting or just want a good story to tell, there are plenty of opportunities to make it happen with eating challenges around the city.
Four Entertainment Group (4EG) is the driving force behind nine of the most popular bars and restaurants in the area. While it would be difficult to drink at each location in one night (and possibly damaging to the liver), 4EG is bringing all of their venues to Fountain Square tonight. Try specialty cocktails, beers, wine and signature dishes from aliveOne, Keystone Hyde Park, Keystone Covington, The Lackman, The Stand, Mount Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, The Sandbar and Tap & Go as you get down to music from DJ Matt Joy and Bad Veins. Head down to the square from 5-10 p.m. and if you're on Foursquare, be sure to check in — the mayor of these venues will receive a prize.
On second Saturdays, Northside is the place to be. Celebrate the eclectic neighborhood and support local businesses by visiting some of the dozens of participating galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Visitors will enjoy extended hours, drink and food specials, sales and unique promotions at places like Nvision, Mayday, Take the Cake, C&D, Tantrum, Skincraft and many more. Find a full list of participating businesses here.
In addition to Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day, the next couple days bring a ton of events and activities. Saddle up, grab some tequila and get out there this weekend!
Essex Studios blossom this weekend for the galleries’ spring Art Walk, BLOOM. The space has been transformed with a thousand origami flowers, yarn gardens by the Cincinnati BombShells and color-coded pathways. As always, more than 100 artists’ work will be on view as guests eat and drink their way through the studios. The art walk runs 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Saturday is Clay Alliance’s annual pottery fair at DeSales Corner. Peruse decorative and functional pottery pieces, meet local artists and get supplies to work with clay on your self. Hourly raffles and live music round out the day. The 12th annual fair takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m., rain or shine.
The first Saturday of May happens to be Cinco De Mayo this year, but it’s also Free Comic Book Day: once a year, comic/specialty book shops across North America offer free publications to all guests. Find a nearby participating store here. Many store offer additional in-store events and promotions; Up Up & Away in Cheviot welcomes The Walking Dead co-creator and original artist Tony Moore.
Crafty Supermarket is back! Making its home at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the spring show brings more than 50 indie, subversive crafters from across the city and country to sell their funky, functional handmade goods. Just in time for Mother’s Day, shoppers will find unique apparel and accessories, home goods, artwork and more goodies. Fuel your shopping with delicious food and coffee from local vendors while a PROJECTMILL DJ keeps you groovin’. Show up early to nab a coveted swag bag — every year, shoppers line up around the corner of Clifton Avenue in hopes of being one of the first 100 who get a bag. The market is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and admission is free.
Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the U.S. than Mexico, but since when do we let historical inaccuracies stand in the way of a good drinking holiday? Nearly every bar and restaurant participates in some capacity, but we’ve selected a few to host our annual Cantina Crawl. Here’s our schedule:
p.m. El Coyote
p.m. Pirates Cove
p.m. Tostado’s Grill
p.m. Cactus Pear (Clifton)
Join our roving squad of senoritas and “Seen on the Scene” photographers as they travel from place to place with more prizes than you can throw a maraca at.
Prom is a rite of passage many, but often LGBTQ kids don’t feel comfortable at school dances because of bullies and expectations about dress and dates. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati provides a welcoming environment for these individuals at their annual GLSEN Prom Saturday. Come to the Freedom Center for two events in one: those under 21 are invited to "dress as you want, bring who you want, and love as you want.” In a separate area of the center the over 21 crowd, who maybe didn’t get to experience a prom of their own, can enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing for $65. Those wanting to attend post-dinner can come after 9 p.m. for a discounted price. As always, kids are welcome free of charge with early registration. All proceeds support the local GLSEN chapter.
And don’t forget to check out the "supermoon" Saturday — the biggest full moon of the year will peak around 11:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Happy Bockfest! The annual event, which turns 21 this year, celebrates Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s brewing history and the coming of Spring. And goats. But mostly, beer! Bockfest weekend kicks off Friday with the parade, stepping off at 6 p.m. at Cincinnati’s oldest bar, Arnold’s, and continuing north on Main Street to Bockfest Hall (1619 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine) for a ceremonial beer blessing.
Bockfest Hall will fill with beer, food and live music all weekend long, offering brewery tours, the Sausage Queen finals and traditional German performances throughout the fest. Find a full event lineup here. As usual, several bars around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine also participate in the festivities with plenty of local Bock beer.
The Carnegie’s annual showcase of edible artwork opens Friday. The Art of Food brings chefs and artists together for the seventh year to prove you can wear your cake and eat it, too — that’s the saying, right? Tonight’s opening features around 30 artists, more than 20 chefs and a “Let Them Eat Cake (on the Cakewalk)” fashion show of beautiful and tasty ensembles. Online tickets have sold out, but those in attendance are really in for a treat (lots and lots of treats, actually). Read our cover story for a look into the making of The Art of Food.
Last year brought us Night Owl Market, a much-needed destination for late-night grub, shopping and music at the Central parking lot at 107 Main Street. At Cincy NOM, local vendors and food trucks set up shop near tons of popular bars until 3 a.m.! The Night Owl Market opens for 2013 in conjunction with Bockfest Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. When your belly’s full of bock, swing by for some tasty noms from Café de Wheels, C’est Cheese, Kaimelsky’s, SugarSnap! and more.
Saturday brings another
Macy’s Arts Sampler, a great opportunity to check out what all the local arts
organizations are up to. March’s sampler is focused in Washington Park and the
surrounding area in Over-the-Rhine (though there are a handful of participating
venues across the city). Free events include a Hip Hop dance class at Elementz,
a showcase of stage fight choreography at SCPA, performances from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati
Ballet, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Opera
and much more. Find a full lineup of events here.
Comedian Stewart Huff: Primarily a storyteller, he now focuses on stand-up. Huff started off wanting to be a writer of short stories. He wrote in secret, but after doing an open mic he became intrigued by what that art form had to offer. “I was obsessed with the idea of telling a story on stage and getting immediate feedback,” he says. After a time, Huff decided to focus solely on stand-up. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
More and more restaurants and food trucks are offering late-night yums to meet the demands of the area college students, bar crowds and general night owls. Usually “fourth meal” conjures up the thought of tacos or pizza, but what about donuts? Busken has set up a pop-up donut shop at 1218 Vine St. (between A Tavola and Sloane Boutique), open 7 p.m.-midnight Thursdays and 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 16. Here, guests can swing by after dinner or drinks for a free Lite-Hearted donut, Busken’s new heart-shaped glazed treat. After tasting one of these bad boys, you’ll be shocked to find they’re only 140 calories a pop. You won’t have to feel too bad about indulging in a mindnight snack, but you may be left wondering whose soul Busken had to sell to get these delicious donuts to clock in at 2.5 grams of fat.
Bockfest might not officially begin until next weekend, but events leading up to the big parade and festival are already in full effect. Friday is the annual Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour at Milton’s Tavern. Why the retaliation? In 2008, a huge snowstorm nearly shut down Bockfest, so the next year a paper snowman was set ablaze as a sacrifice to the precipitation gods. The burning snowman tradition stuck, and it continues tonight at 8 p.m. Grab a drink and watch the sucker burn!
In the market for some unique furniture, home décor or apparel? 20th Century Cincinnati is a must this weekend. The 19th annual show brings vintage and mid-century modern trends to a one-stop shop at Sharonville Convention Center. Sixty dealers bring furnishings, paintings, textiles and much more, filling 20,000 square feet. And fashionistas: There will be lots of vintage clothing, costume jewelry, accessories and more dating from the ‘20s to the ‘80s. The showroom is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $7 admission is good for the full weekend. Find more info here.
The Northern suburbs of Cincinnati sometimes get left out of the city’s biggest celebrations, so they made one their own! The Taste of Northern Cincinnati, also in the Sharonville CC, features food from some of the top eateries in the ‘burbs. From noon-4 p.m. Sunday, attendees will enjoy grub from LaRosa’s, Red Squirrel, Velvet Smoke BBQ, Blue Goose and more. These restaurants will also be competing for awards for best appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert and a people’s choice prize. Admission is $18; $5 for kids.
The Academy Awards are Sunday and if your invitation also got lost in the mail (every damn year!), there’s a local way to celebrate. People Working Cooperatively presents its annual Oscar party at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, complete with a red carpet, cocktails, dinner, and a live screening of the show. Ticket sales benefit PWC’s Modifications for Mobility Program, which helps low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners make important alterations to their houses so they can remain safe and comfortable in their own homes. Buy tickets and find details here.
Remember when Guy Fieri and his Flavortown mobile came to Cincinnati this summer to film Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? The Food Network star made appearances at several area restaurants from Corryville's Island Frydays and Northside's Melt to a bevy of spots in Over-the-Rhine. Melt and Island Frydays' segments have since aired; tonight, a special OTR-centric episode of DDD premieres.
Vine Street eateries Senate, Bakersfield and Taste of Belgium will all be featured in this "One Street Wonders" episode. Typically three restaurants from three different cities are compiled in each episode; tonight, the entire episode will be devoted to OTR's Gateway Quarter. Tune into Food Network at 10 p.m. Go here for additional showtimes and recipes from Senate and Taste of Belgium.
Diners Drive-ins and Dives is no stranger to Cincinnati. Before this summer's filming, Fieri had visited Terry's Turf Club, Blue Ash Chili and Virgil's Cafe for the show.
It’s Bunbury Weekend! The second annual three-day music fest takes over Sawyer Point Friday-Sunday with acts including fun., Walk the Moon, MGMT, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Yo La Tengo, Belle & Sebastian and tons more. Check out our interview with Matt Berninger of The National — Bunbury’s Sunday headliner — here.
In addition to great music, there will be tons of food and drink vendors with lots of local options, a craft beer village, free Rockstar energy drink and water samples and a Trojan vibrator giveaway from 4-8 p.m. Saturday (for real!). Official after-parties take place at Igby’s Friday, aliveOne Saturday and The Righteous Room Sunday. Ready to go? Don't leave home without peeping our cheat sheet, complete with lineup, map, dos and don’ts and more vital info.
One- and three-day
tickets to Bunbury are still available here.
Second Sunday on Main returns to Over-the-Rhine this week with a lineup of special Pride events in addition to the art, shopping, demos, kids activities, food and music that the free street festival serves up every month. Be sure to check out the annual Drag Race and Dykes on Trykes — a race you’ll have to see to believe! — as well as the new mobile boutique Truckshop. Read more about the unique, locally owned shop-on-wheels here. Second Sunday on Main runs noon-5 p.m.
The Gambling Rose
Tattoo Convention brings some of the best tattoo artists across the globe to
town for the weekend. Swing by Duke Energy Center Friday-Sunday for tattoo
competitions, seminars, vendors and a roller derby showdown between the
Cincinnati Rollergirls and the Black-N-Bluegrass Rollergirls. Tattoo artists
and piercers from around the country and world will be under one roof,
available for appointments. Featured artists include Jerod Ray and Tylor Schwarz
(contestants on Oxygen’s Best Ink
Season Two); Sarah Miller (runner-up, Spike’s Ink Master Season Two); Tatu Baby (contestant on Spike’s Ink Master Season Two, voted by fans to
return to Season Three — premieres Tuesday); and Chris Torres (NY Ink bad boy). Tickets are $20 for a single-day
pass/$30 for two days/$40 for the whole weekend.
Newport on the Levee is going to be a real sausage fest this weekend — literally! The Queen City Sausage Festival unites all the loves of a true Cincinnatian: pork, beer and river views. Eat your way through more than two-dozen sausage specimens including the grilled gyro cheddar met, the zest Italian sausage hoagie and, of course, Queen City goetta. There will also be foods that didn’t once say “oink,” plus live music, eating contests and lots of rides and games for the kids. The fest runs Friday-Sunday at the Levee and admission is free.
Raise money for the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati while chasing a pack of stone-cold foxes? You can be a part of the fun at tonight’s Fox and Hound 5K at Sawyer Point. The race combines fundraising, running, walking and flirting for participants of all athletic abilities. Here’s the deal: The "hounds" (fellas) will chase the "foxes" (ladies), who get a five-minute head start for the race. Pairs of men and women can also compete to become top foxes and hounds. For those who haven’t yet registered, it’s $45 for the race, after-party admission, a T-shirt and chip timing (if available). Registration opens at 6 p.m.; the race starts at 7. Stick around post-race for an after-party at the park's Cincinnatus Sculpture.
The Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CUMHF) presents a celebration for the limited-edition digital EP/art package of Come Play The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams tonight at the CUMHF's (as well as CityBeat's) HQ, 811 Race St. The EP is $20; admission is a $5 donation to the foundation for non-members (or free to those who buy the EP). Guests will also get to see a video of the "Guitar Army" that performed at the 60th anniversary of the "Train Kept A-Rollin'" recording, last summer on Fountain Square. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Over at Washington Park, The Chris Comer Trio performs as part of the weekly Jazz in the Park series. Music runs 7-9 p.m. While you’re there, peep the sand volleyball court being set up for tomorrow's AVP Cincinnati Open kick-off. Volleyball players fresh off the boat from London’s Summer Olympics will play 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Find tickets here.
As September approaches and summer winds down, two additional free, weekly events come to an end tonight.
It’s Commonly Jazz welcomes the Mike Wade Septet featuring Steve Wilson to Eden Park Seasongood Pavilion. The free concert runs 6-8 p.m.
Salsa on the Square goes out with a bang tonight with music from Tropicoso (the group behind Latin Monday Nights at The Mad Frog). Learn to dance from Salsa pros or watch the fun while enjoying a cold beer. If you haven’t shown off your dance skills yet, strut your stuff on Fountain Square from 7-10 p.m.
Looking for a spot to grab dinner or drinks? We suggest Lavomatic, the recently made-over café in The Gateway Quarter. Check out this week’s review here.