I suppose with one of the biggest drinking holidays right around the corner, it would only make sense that tonight's events all take place at bars!If you've read our Swizzle Bar Guide, you know we've got a handle on a ton a great area bars and clubs. To celebrate these excellent establishments, we've launched our Swizzle Happy Hour Series: on the third Thursday of every month, we'll host after-work drinks at a different bar. Tonight is our kick-off at Mynt Martini downtown. From 5-7 p.m., we'll get our March Madness on and party St. Practice Day-style with $1 green beers, $2.50 domestics, $3 imports and well drinks, and $5 martinis and flatbread. If drink specials and basketball aren't enough, we'll be giving away tons of prizes: movie passes, tickets to Borgore with Document One and Paul M. at Bogart's, and a $50 gift certificate to Funny Bone on the Levee. Come hang out with us!
Arnie's on the Levee is also hosting some March Madness festivities, benefiting Northern Kentucky's Brighton Center. For every person that comes in between 6-9 p.m. tonight, Arnie's will donate $1 to the center, which works with area individuals and families to create opportunities for self-sufficiency through support services, education and leadership. In addition to basketball, there will be a wing-eating contest featuring Mark Collier of "Fort Thomas Matters," Highlands football players and radio personalities.
So spelling isn't everyone's talent. That's OK. Claddagh in Newport is hosing a weekly singing competition for those more vocally-inclined. Claddagh's Got Talent kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. with a qualifying competition. Each Thursday, a winner will be picked to compete in the finals in 10 weeks. The winner of it all will walk away with $5,000!
Occupy Cincinnati has experienced some recent victories, settling the federal lawsuit against the city and getting a 24-hour public space designation for a year. Tonight, the organization holds a general assembly at the OC warehouse space, 2023 Dunlap St., Over-the-Rhine. From now on, the group will meet on Monday and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. to discuss issues, working groups and general business matters. All are welcome to attend these assemblies and share ideas, express concerns or just sit in and observe. Follow the group on Facebook for updates and assembly information.
Looking for dinner plans? On such a summery day like today, we suggest Eli's BBQ on the East side. From pulled pork sammies to smoked ribs, Eli's does barbecue right. You're even welcome to make yourself at home and BYOB, so crack open a beer, chow down on some hot dogs, and enjoy the choice tunes coming from Eli's turntables. Read our review of Eli's BBQ for more info.
Bree from Hot Wheels Entertainment hosts karaoke at The Drinkery every Tuesday. Whether you're a karaoke god or just a spectator, swing by the OTR bar between 9 p.m.-2 a.m. for tunes and booze. Find details here.
Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI) continues its New Voices Season of Staged Readings with Edge Walking. Written by Barbara Harkness and directed by Patrick Downey, Edge Walking follows two parents who are faced with a child claiming he is the reincarnation of their oldest son who died as a POW in Vietnam. The encounter brings up feelings of anger, loss and grief as each character must deal with the death. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance are just $8 and can be purchased before the show at the Aronoff Center. For more information, call CPI's Kalman Kivkovich at 513-861-0004.
Want to enjoy after-work drinks while learning about an important local cause? GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Greater Cincinnati presents a happy hour at Know Theatre from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. Learn about GLSEN's mission to make schools safe for all students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Enjoy a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres while the organization will gives a brief presentation at 6:45 p.m. Learn more about GLSEN and how to become on ally here.
Wash down your Bock with the sounds of Bach tonight at the German Brass and Beer, hosted by Arnold's Bar and Grill. The concert:nova brass qunitet has a set of traditional waltzes, dance numbers and marches in store for the 6 p.m. concert. At 7 p.m., enjoy a dinner of authentic German fare. Tickets are $55, $35 for pass holders, and can be purchased here.
JGourmet is a regular cooking class presented by Jewish Young Professionals (JYP) Access. Tonight's event is centered around the best meal of the day — breakfast. Bakers from Pigasus Bagel and Bread, along with JYP members, will teach guests how to make perfect homemade bagels and delicious omelets at A Forkable Feast. After the class, enjoy the delicious meal you've created. Who can resist breakfast for dinner? The 7 p.m. event is open to Jewish young professionals and their significant others (of all faiths). Admission is just $10. RSVP here.
Milton's on Propsect Hill also continues its weekly Vinyl Night. Bring your favorite records to share or have a DJ play them for you. Find musical suggestions and event details here.
Is beer more your style? The folks who brought us Cincy Winter Beerfest just a couple weeks ago present All About Stout Fest Saturday at Molly Malone's Irish Pub in Covington. For $15, guests get five tastings, one full pint of choice and a souvenir pint glass. There are 25 stouts to choose from, plus Molly's 18 draft beers on tap. With live Irish music to keep you movin', consider this your dress rehearsal for St. Patrick's Day. Find a full beer list and ticket information here.
Final Fridays are to OTR as Second Saturdays are to Northside. As usual, all are encouraged to explore the neighborhood's bars, restaurants, galleries and businesses for extended hours, later happy hours, art openings and sales starting at 6 p.m. Find a full list of participating venues here.
Of course, there's also tons of live music, theater, art shows and more events going on this weekend. Find all our To Do recommendations here.
All this talk of cocktails and distilleries got you thirsty? The Cincinnati International Wine Festival kicks off tonight with winery dinners at various Cincinnati area restaurants. Winemakers from around the world are in town tonight, paired with chefs at the area's best restaurants to create amazing wine and meal pairings. Many of tonight's events are sold out but tickets are still available for dinners at Bouquet (pairs with Aurelio Cabestrero from Grapes of Spain), Embers (with Trichero Family Estates), Jag's (with Tom Clare from Longboard Vineyards) and a few more. Check out their site for more details. The actual festival at Duke Energy Convention Center begins tomorrow, with grand tastings Friday eventing, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. Find ticket information and a full schedule of events here.
Covington's Carnegie Center hosts Juliard-trained pianist and Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Richard Kogan this evening. Kogan has studied Beethoven extensively and focuses on the relationship between the composer's mind, motivations and music in his performances. Stimulating the left and right sides of the brain, Kogan's performances are "eloquent, compelling and exquisite," says the New York Times. The 7:30 p.m. performance is $25, $19 for Carnegie members. Find details here.
The Civic Garden Center hosts many gardening and eco-friendly classes throughout the year. Tonight is the first installment of a three-part Master Composter Series. Participants who take all three classes in addition to completing 15 hours of community service will be certified as Master Composters. The entire series is free. Tonight's 6-8:30 p.m. class is Composting 101, instructed by Master Composter, Master Gardener and Founder of the American Compost Society, John Duke. Learn about how composting works, different systems to use, how to start and analyze your pile and more. Go online or call 513-221-0982 ext. 18 to reserve your spot.
Over in Clifton Heights, Baba Budan's hosts a night of open-minded, pride-filled fun. From 7-9 p.m., UC Alliance presents Open-Minded Mic, where all are welcome to play a song, perform in drag, recite poetry, do some stand-up – express yourself openly to a welcoming crowd! Afterward, Alternative to the Alternative Night takes over. Tonight's theme is Under Construction, fitting as Baba's is still remodeling after a car crashed through the entrance early Feb. 20. Come in your best construction gear, dressing in red if you're taken, yellow if you're dating or green if you're totally single and ready to go. There will be drink specials all night long. Find details here.
Occupy Cincinnati is hosting a primary watch party at C & D Northside from 8-11 p.m. Check out the night's results while enjoying a stiff drink — the group's Facebook invite suggests ordering a "Santorum" (though something tells me I might have to pass). Occupy has some tips for voting against corporate parties; check those out here.
And speaking of the man who turned "Santorum" into a dirty word, a bit further south down I-75 Dan Savage is speaking at the University of Kentucky. Savage is touring as a part of the It Gets Better lecture series, the movement created by Savage to give hope to LGBTQ kids who face bullying, and fight hatred and intolerance against them. Savage will give a presentation and sign books beginning at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the UK campus. If you can make the trip, it's a great opportunity to meet Savage and become involved in It Gets Better — tickets are free to all attendees (just have a local direct you to the Student Center Ticket Office to pick up passes).
Investigative reporter, film producer and Cleveland-native James Renner debuts his first novel tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Commons. The Man From Primrose Lane is a "mind-bending and genre-twisting" story about the murder of an elderly man in Akron. Renner will read from and sign the novel at 7 p.m. The event is free (the book is $26).
Monday is Vinyl Night at Milton's Prospect Hill Tavern. Show support for local record stores and vinyl culture by bringing your collection to play. Variety is key, so go here to check the specs and see which genres could use a little more airtime. All are welcome to play records, or have one of the DJs spin it for you. The event runs from 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Did you miss the jam-packed Contemporary Arts Center opening party Saturday, or perhaps you became entranced by Dan Deacon and forgot to check out the exhibits? Spectacle: The Music Video and Dasha Shishkin's I surrender, dear are both on display at the museum. Swing by after 5 p.m. for free admission. The CAC is open until 9 p.m. tonight. Find more info here.
Covington's Carnegie Center presents its sixth annual Art of Food show, opening tonight. As you might've guessed, this art exhibit is centered around all things edible. The reception features beautiful culinary creations (that you can actually eat) by everyone from BonBonnerie to La Poste, Queen City Cookies to Taste of Belgium. Admission is a little steep ($60 at the door for non-members), but you'll leave with your left brain and stomach both very satisfied. Admission after the reception is free. Get details here.
The opening reception kicks off at 8 p.m. In addition to checking out the artwork, electronic musician/wizard Dan Deacon will perform 8-9 p.m. If you haven't heard of him, here's a preview:
If you didn't score tickets to tonight's sold out Black Keys show, there are plenty of other music options. Eli's BBQ on Riverside Drive hosts Downtown Country Band tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. And really, any concert that also features barbecue is probably a sure bet. The Harlequins hosts an album release show Saturday at Mayday in Northside. Peep our interview with the crew. There are tons of other live music shows this weekend. Find them all on our music blog.