Staycation: Cincinnati

Five neat, new non-brewery places to get a drink in Cincinnati

I love beer, okay? Oh, you noticed? What gave it away? And I love going to breweries, near and far. But one of the downfalls of breweries is that, well, they really only have beer, and only their beer. What if you and your pals are on a bourbon kick? Or he wants Brink and you want MadTree? We’ve been checking out non-brewery places to drink lately, and here are a few of my favorites:

  • gin & tonic on the balcony in downtown lovelandBishop’s Quarter (Loveland): This cute little place opened up in the revitalized, post-fire downtown Loveland. We’ve not tried the food (it’s New Orleans/southern themed, and I think appetizers/small plates only) but we have checked out the bar, which is very, very well stocked. The first floor is reminiscent of a New Orleans bar, while the second floor is a bit more loungey. The best part, though, is the third floor rooftop bar. It gets packed on the weekends, though, so don’t expect to get a table right away (or at all). Do, however, come down for sunset and find a spot on one of the terraces.
  • Higher/Gravity (Northside): I absolutely love H/G. We found this place via a Cincysaver coupon for a tasting, so we trekked over to Northside on an afternoon when one of the owners hung out with us and did a tasting of a few samples beers. I believe they’re exclusively beer/wine, but there are so many choices both on tap & on sale that you can try a little bit of everything. I have them to blame for falling in love with Hi-Wire from Asheville.
  • Karrikin Spirits (Fairfax): Karrikin has been open in Fairfax (just off Wooster Road — not Pike!) for about six months now. You’d probably never happen upon it by chance as it’s tucked in a little industrial corner below Columbia Parkway, but it’s actually quite a nice place. They make their own spirits and their bartenders are willing to get creative mixing your drink if you ask nicely (yum!). The last time we stopped in they even had “sparkling spirits” – aka a hoppy gin & tonic, even canned for your portable convenience! They have their own beer and their own liquor, so there should be something for everyone. Their food menu interest me so we’ve never eaten there, but if fancy/weird foods are your style, give it a try.
  • RJ Cinema/Distillery + Taproom (Union Township/Eastgate): This place literally just opened a few weeks ago. In the place of the ye olde forgotten Eastgate Brew & View (which had indeniably the worst service ever known to man — wait, no, you would have to have service to have bad service) and Danbarry Cinemas (where I spent many-a-weekend during high school seeing $1.75 second-run movies back in the olden days when that was still a thing). We didn’t intend to stop in, but it’s right next to Jungle Jim’s and has converted the old theatre entryway into an open-air taproom and I do love me a good patio drank. Apparently the RJ brand bought out a distillery in Norwood and is in the process of rebranding. They had their own whiskey, bourbon, bourVIN, and vodka. A gin is coming! I tried the bourvin (whiskey aged in wine barrels) even though I don’t like whiskey, bourbon, or wine, and it wasn’t too bad! They do have food, which we haven’t tried yet, but they don’t actually serve it to you in the cinema.
  • Bean & Barley (O’Bryonville): This little place is pretty rad. I used to say I wish there was a place to study, like Starbucks but with beer. Guess what? This is it. You can get coffee or beer, depending on how well your studying is going. (Ya feel me?) I think they have something like 20 taps, a combination of local and local-adjacent breweries so you can have a local brew or try something new.

Where’s your favorite place to grab a drink in Cincinnati?


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