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10 Welcome!   16  TWO DECADES OF being THE BEST



Arts & NIghtlife





Pr o j ec t E d i to r s Danny Cross and Maija Zummo S ta f f W r i t e r s Anne Arenstein, Casey Arnold, Emily Begley, Mike Breen, Nick Grever, Katie Holocher, Jacqueline Kern, Natalie Krebs, Anne Mitchell, Rick Pender, Sean Peters, Garin Pirnia, Maria Seda-Reeder, Steven Rosen, Ilene Ross, Kathy Schwartz, Nick Swartsell, Ashley Thomas, Isaac Thorn Editorial Interns Steve Beynon, Cassie Lipp, Katie Newman, Julia Olmsted C r e at i v e D i r e c to r Jennifer Hoffman L e a d P h ot o g r a p h e r Jesse Fox Photogr aphers Hailey Bollinger, Ellie Middleton S a l e s Ac c o u n t M a n ag e r s Annette Frac, Stephanie Hatfield, Dan Radank, Neil White A d T r a f f i c C o o r d i n ato r Kane Kitchen E v e n t D i r e c to r Kenneth Wright Event & Marketing Team Toria Aronoff, Catherine Bock, Savannah Burke, Alyssa Carnevale, Lia Drzewiecki, Chanell Karr, Brynn Kinard, Jessica Lotz, Izaac Rains, Katy Randolph, Ashley Sparling 6  |  C i t y Beat.c om






Publisher Tony Frank O f f i c e A d m i n i s t r at o r Brandi Ballou C i r c u l at i o n M a n ag e r Steve Ferguson Distribution Team Partha Chattopadhyay, Doug Drennan, Jerry Ennls, Pam Hood, Bob Logsdon, Terry Matzner, Dan Parker-Ferguson, Joan Powers, John Ritenour, Tom Sand SOUTHCO M M Chief Executive Officer Chris Ferrell Chief Financial Officer Ed Tearman Chief Operating Officer Blair Johnson Executive Vice President Mark Bartel Vice President of Finance Carla Simon Vice President of Production Operations Curt Pordes Vice President Of Content/Communication Patrick Rains Controller Todd Patton Creative Director Heather Pierce S P ECI A L T H A N K S T O O U R P IG MO D EL : C A ES A R

named in City Beat’s Best of Cincinnati

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#1 Museum, 2016 #1 Building - Union Terminal, 2016 #1 Old Thing - Union Terminal, 2016 #3 Kid Friendly Attraction - Duke Energy Children’s Museum


ost people don’t want to be reminded of how things were in 1997: The Internet was still referred to as the World Wide Web; we had to ask each other questions instead of using Google or Wikipedia; quoting Austin Powers was the height of hilarity; and iPhones hadn’t even been invented yet. But for us at CityBeat, looking back on the past isn’t so bad — less like remembering the Dark Ages and more like remembering a time when Teva sandals were worn without irony and dudes with earrings were super alternative; when Cincinnati had more than one newspaper — more than one altweekly, actually — and when we decided to publish the first Best of Cincinnati issue. Two decades later, we’re happy to report that this relatively simple premise — an annual recollection of the best people, places, organizations and businesses in town — is still going strong. The inaugural Best of Cincinnati

10  |  C i t y Beat.c om

issue weighed in at 41 pages (“Our biggest issue ever!”); this year’s checks in a 152 (“Biggest ever again!”). We’ve added new reader poll categories over the years as technology, trends and tastes have changed. And we’ve very much enjoyed backhandedly complimenting local politicians and their cronies for annoying us while we are trying to enjoy our city. For this year’s issue, we revisited past Best of Cincinnati issues and found that this project has always been much more than a popularity contest or the doling out of hollow accolades. Since this publication’s inception, we’ve rallied for, cheered on and congratulated Cincinnatians’ efforts to build a better community and a better city over the years, and all of the progress we’ve made is documented within the pages of Best of Cincinnati issues past and present. We went back to find some of the highlights, sparing no expense (i.e. the time it takes to literally flip through dusty old newspapers)

to remind ourselves from where we came (see page 16). And, once again, we spent a long time conversing over several months and several beers about our staff favorites in all Best of Cincinnati categories, from arts and nightlife to eats, shops, sports and politics. As you peruse this year’s Best of Cincinnati 20th anniversary issue, we hope you enjoy the recognition of another fantastic orbit around the sun for this city’s people and places, companies and civic groups — as voted on by us and you — which yet again have outdone themselves. If there’s anyone you think we missed, let us know. Thank you to all who have voted over the years, whether you did so via paper ballot, from the confines of the local Internet café or using your handheld pocket computer. If you faxed it, it was delivered to 2001. — Da n n y C r o s s a n d M a i ja Z u mm o, Project Editors

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 1



From introducing children to the world of musical theatre (drama, vocal music and dance) to polishing the skills of accomplished student performers, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati teaching artists instill the techniques and principles behind the art of musical theatre. We offer group classes and private lessons for students ages 3 through 18 at our new Red Bank Road facility.

To view our class schedule and register for the next session:




Celebrating 20 Years

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Two Decades of Being the Best

A guide to remembering 20 years of Cincinnati’s best — and worst — restaurants, bars, arts, culture, politics and greatest hits through CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati issue B Y S TA F F

Since then, we’ve spent two decades celebrating Cincinnati through reader- and staff-selected winners, while simultaneously making numerous bad jokes about political figures, Marge Schott and the lack of downtown parking. This year, we flipped through all the dusty past issues to reminisce, commemorate and eulogize the people and places that we’ve loved, kept loving and those we lost. So, as a salute to each of our 20 years of putting this humble collection of wonderful things about Cincinnati together, we’re listing 20 of our favorite archived finds, in no particular order.

No. 01

WINNERS For two decades, these four spots have continuously been voted as the best in the city by readers in their respective categories.

Best Chili: Skyline

Best Liquor Store: The Party Source

Best Ice Cream: Graeter’s

Best Breakfast: First Watch 16  |  C i t y Beat.c om

No. 02 // REMEMBER WHEN… ...regular people used personal ads? Best Place to Meet Your Personal Ads Date (Reader Pick, 1997): Carol’s Corner Café. Think online dating is bad? In the ’90s, people would take out personal ads in a damn paper with the hope of meeting someone. Today, all you need to do is download an app to your phone and your GPS will lead you directly to your potential hookup. The Main Street location that used to be Carol’s is now home to Lusain Memorial — probably not the best date spot, unless you’re looking for widows. Should we add “Best Tinder Date Spot” to the Best of Cincinnati ballot?

No. 03


Our fair city’s fearless leader, Mayor John Cranley, has been in politics long enough to face the wrath of a CityBeat staff pick on multiple occasions. In 2002, he received “Best Immature Acts by a Councilman,” wherein he was compared to a school kid sleeping in class for “flipping off the mayor or reading his Christmas cards when he should be paying attention.” In 2007, Cranley ran for Congress against West Side stalwart Steve Chabot, only to lose and receive a write-up titled “Best Place to Buck a Trend,” largely because, we thought, he could never quite bring himself to say the war in Iraq was a bad idea. During his mayoral run in 2013, we made the remark that Cranley’s victory was driven largely by low voter turnout: “The situation later inspired some streetcar supporters to admit they didn’t vote because they didn’t think Cranley would really try to cancel the streetcar project. Well, he did.” (To be fair, we did praise Cranley, along with the late David Crowley, in a 2003 pick titled “Best Backbone” for introducing a motion to expand the city’s hate crime laws to protect more individuals.)


CityBeat launched its inaugural Best of Cincinnati issue in 1997 with only 41 pages, 120 reader ballot categories and a stated mission to identify “Greater Cincinnati’s best food, night spots, arts, media, politicians, community activists, sports figures, products and services.” Back then, we had readers fill out hard-copy surveys from the paper and mail them in (better or worse than our current online ballot system?).

sm ashing pumpkins / snoop dogg at bunbury music festival  |  Photos: citybeat archive  / JESSE FOX

No. 04 // MUSIC CITY Looking through the concerts readers of CityBeat have deemed “the best” of any particular year offers a fairly accurate snapshot of what was big in music at the time. Here’s a look at readers’ best concerts for the first three and most recent three years of Best of Cincinnati.

1997: Smashing Pumpkins at Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) The Pumpkins were still touring behind their 1995 hit double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when they played the Coliseum in January of ’97. It was the tail-end of the “Grunge” era and near the end of the original incarnation of the Pumpkins (Billy Corgan soldiered on with different lineups, including one that played Riverbend last summer with Marilyn Manson and featured a bass player who was probably in kindergarten in 1997). 1998: Lilith Fair at Riverbend Music Center Musically, perhaps the only thing more “’90s” than Grunge was the traveling, multi-act festival phenomenon, with tours like Lollapalooza, the “Jam band”-oriented H.O.R.D.E. and Lilith Fair, featuring some of the top female music-makers of the time and headed up by Sarah McLachlan. The tour returned to River­bend in its second year in 1998. (Fun fact: A young singer named Idina Menzel played the fest’s “third stage” a decade and a half before John Travolta introduced her as Adele Dazeem at the Oscars.) 1999: Barenaked L adies at The Crown (now U.S. Bank Arena) In the early years, Barenaked Ladies were second only to Jimmy Buffett when it came to musicians we mocked mercilessly in CityBeat’s pages. So our readers were clearly trolling us when they voted the band’s show at the riverfront arena the best of 1998’s concerts.

2014: Dave Matthews Band at Riverbend Music Center Dave Matthews and Co. have seemingly played Riverbend 150 times, but the band’s 2013 concert there was apparently exceptional. Hey, look — Dave’s playing there again on May 20 this year! 2015: Beyoncé and Jay Z at Great American Ball Park The fact that Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “On the Run” tour even came to Cincinnati is one example of how much better the concert climate has gotten in the area. Cincinnati was one of only 16 cities in North America chosen for the superstar couple’s joint stadium tour — the fifth highest-grossing tour of 2014. 2016: Bunbury Music Festival at Sawyer Point/ Yeatman’s Cove Bunbury is an example of the kind of events that help kill off traveling festivals like Lilith Fair, aka the stationary, destination festival. Last year’s lineup included headliners The Black Keys, Twenty One Pilots and Snoop Dogg.

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 7


No. 06 // STAYING POWER Photos (L-R): jesse fox / provided / khoi nguyen

These reader picks from 1997 are still around:

We’re guessing this “house ad” — an advertisement for CityBeat inside a CityBeat — was supposed to seem a little weird: It blatantly defies the accepted punctuation methods of 1998 or any other year. But we’re also not too proud to admit that there might have just been an open ad slot on deadline, and someone had to fill it with something quickly. Either way, everyone still uses computers and (no hyphens) is a real thing. Also worth noting: Two decades later, Henke Winery and Mecklenburg Gardens are still going strong.

No. 07 // WHAT WAS UP WITH WLW IN 2004? A staff pick from that year titled “Best Unfunny Media Prank” reads: “WLW has long been every rightwinger’s favorite talk show station. This year the kind souls at WLW put together a ‘Derelict Round-Up,’ offering homeless people $20, beer and a ride out of town. Picking on poor people — what fun!” WTF?

Over the Rhine

Everybody’s Records

Best Local Band, 1997; Best Local Band (Originals) (Top 3), 2016

Best Record Store, 1997; Best CD/Record Store (Non-Chain) (Top 3), 2016

Hemptations Best Store Name, 1997; Best Smoke Shop (Top 3), 2016 — also celebrating 20 years!

Lemon Grass Best New Restaurant, Best Asian (Not Chinese), 1997; Best Thai (Top 3), 2016

Paul Daugherty Best Sportswriter, 1997; Best Blog/Twitter (Sports), Best Journalist (Top 3), 2016

The BonBonerie Best Bakery, 1997; Best Neighborhood Bakery (East Side), Best Desserts (Retail), Best Overall Bakery (Sweets), Best Cupcakes (Top 3), 2016

sitwells  |  Photo: CIT YBE AT ARCHIVE


The Comet Best Bar, 1997; Best Jukebox, Best Beer Selection (Bottles and Cans) (Top 3), Best No-Frills Watering Hole (Top 3), Overall Bar/ Club (Top 10), 2016

No. 08 REMEMBER WHEN… ...the Macarena was a popular song and not just an annoying wedding standard? Best Place to Do the Macarena (Staff Pick, 1997): “You’re asking us?” Best Place to Not Do the Macarena (Staff Pick, 1997): “Vertigo in Corryville on Industrial Dance Nights.”

We might have played coy with this one (we don’t even know what the Macarena is!) but, in general, it’s best for CityBeat to avoid all references to popular dance trends. Note to self: Jokes about the dab, whip or nae nae will not stand the test of time.

No. 09 // AND THE WINNER IS... Best Place for Free Internet Access (Staff Pick, 1997): Sitwells Loads of students and other Clifton dwellers still spend time at this coffee shop, but they bring their own laptops for the Wi-Fi. What makes this pick stand out is the tip to attend Sitwells’ free Monday Internet courses, where folks in the pre-emoji world could learn how to make those groovy faces at the end of your sentences.

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 9

No. 10


An easy-to-follow, excerpted itinerary from Best of Cincinnati staff picks so you can dine with the best of them for 24 hours straight. 8:30 a.m. Blue Jay Best Breakfast Dive (2005): “For a hearty breakfast that doesn’t hurt your wallet, make sure to stop by the Blue Jay Restaurant in Northside. The diner serves cheese coneys and cheeseburger platters, as well as daily breakfast specials that cost around $4.”

Photos ( top to bottom): provided / khoi nguyen / gina weathersby / jesse fox / provided / citybeat archive / provided

11 a.m. Mazunte Best Neighborhood Taco Joint That Isn’t in Your Neighborhood (2014): “Get the mixed taco taster and sample their beerbattered fish, shredded roast pork and sangria-marinated steak. With an order of guacamole, you are in paradiso, amigo.” 1 p.m. The Anchor-OTR Best Multi-Tasking Cocktail (2015): “Far from your ordinary brunch bevy, (the Longshoreman’s Bloody Mary) is a meal in a glass. It’s chock-full of everything, including the requisite vodka, tomato juice, pickled veggies and a big ol’ lobster claw (or shrimp or an oyster).” 6 p.m. Incline Public House Best View to Take in While Dining and Drinking (2014): “Nearly everything on the menu is made in-house, from scratch, including their wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads and small bites. Along with the food, top-notch craft beer and cocktail selections are served by a friendly staff.” 8 p.m. The Lackman Best Waiting Room for the Gateway Quarter (2013): “You can find yourself in a situation willing to wait two hours to mingle with the in-crowd and nibble on small plates... So what to do while you wait? Walk to The Lackman and rub elbows, quite literally, with other soon-to-be diners.” 1 a.m. Shanghai Mama’s Best Chinese After Midnight (2005): “Open until 3 a.m. on the weekends, Shanghai Mama’s serves some of the tastiest Chinese this side of the Yangtze. … A drug of choice is the wild mushroom soup with four, count them four, kinds of ’shrooms.” 11 a.m. Sugar N’ Spice Best Hangover Breakfast (2009): “Sugar ‘N Spice has long been a CityBeat staffer’s prime spot for later-morning nightafters. The bacon and cream cheese omelet is good enough to rouse even the most dedicated partiers.”

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No. 11 // BEST SPORTS BURNS It has been very easy to complain about local sports over the years. Best Hallucination (Staff Pick, 1997): Nick Vehr’s Electric Kook-Aid Olympic Vision. “Get this: He not only believes the Olympics could come to Cincinnati, he actually believes — despite his observation of/participation in the oft-delayed, always perplexed efforts surrounding Fountain Square West, new sports stadium placement, various entertainment districts, etc. — the city could pull it off. Like, you been tokin’ too much Olympic Gold, dude.” Best Imitation of a Graveyard (Staff Pick, 1998): Cinergy Field During Reds Games. “The team sucked, of course, but was that any reason to punish the few fans who came out to see Reds home games?” Best Field Games (Staff Pick, 2002): The Bengals. “The Bengals can’t do anything without pissing someone off. Last fall they took on local high school football teams and found tougher opposition than they find most Sundays. When the high school playoff doubleheader on Nov. 10 was moved to Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals officials said the teams’ bands couldn’t march on the field at halftimes. Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, a Colerain alum, said he’d order sheriff’s deputies to escort bands from Colerain, Elder, Princeton and St. Xavier onto the field if he had to, since the stadium belonged to county residents. The bands marched, and only a few blades of grass were harmed.” Best Overrated Event (Staff Pick, 2003): The implosion of Cinergy Field. “They were expecting Riverfest-size crowds, huh? Yea, right!” Best Way to Ensure You’re the Most Hated College President In Cincinnati (Staff Pick, 2006): Fire Bob Huggins. “The beloved coach didn’t get a pat on the back, a gold watch or even a gift certificate to LaRosa’s for his 15 years of service at UC, where he took the team to the NCAA Tournament 14 consecutive times. Citing ‘character issues,’ new UC Prez Nancy Zimpher showed Huggs the door, inciting a shower of vitriol from fans and bad press from across the country.” Best Reenactment of Charlie Brown Trying to Kick a Football (Staff Pick, 2015): The Bengals. “Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Is it better to go 4-12 and have Corey Dillon trying to fight Bengals coaches on the sideline, or is it better to make the playoffs every year and then perform like it’s the opposite of Angels in the Outfield? It’s hard to say, and it’s hard to take. All we know for sure is that the Cincinnati Bengals’ trend of acting like the Hindenburg during Wild Card Weekend is most vexing.” Best Epic Meltdown in the Playoffs (Staff Pick, 2016): See page 147.


In 2006’s 10th-anniversary Best of Cincinnati issue, a feature story about Greater Cincinnati’s “remaining” record stores expressed a lot of that worry. While iTunes’ rise was mentioned as a threat, the other big foe of the indie shop was the big-box store. But the article (“Indies are Still In”) was made less bleak by the optimistic independent shop owners and managers interviewed, all of whom correctly predicted that the product offerings and experience that a “real” record store provides would ensure they’ll always have a place in the community. Places like Shake It and Everybody’s Records are still cornerstones of their respective neighborhoods, while Northside vinyl store Black Plastic opened a second location in Over-the-Rhine last year. Target is still trying retain a foothold in the market by spending millions of dollars for four minutes of airtime (in the form of Gwen Stefani’s “live music video”) during the most recent Grammys, and you can now buy vinyl albums at Best Buy (something unfathomable a decade ago). But Media Play is long gone, Wal-Mart probably sells a few CDs a week to grocery shoppers and mall stores like f.y.e. likely unload a handful of copies of Adele’s latest album to grandmas waiting for their LensCrafters orders.

21c LOVES CINCY Wow! A huge thank you again to CityBeat Readers for voting 21c Museum Hotel, Metropole, and Cocktail Terrace top honors in Cincinnati. #1 Best Hotel in Cincinnati #1 Art Gallery #1 Rooftop Bar #1 Hotel Bar: Metropole #2 Cocktail Bar/Lounge: 21c Cocktail Terrace

For events and insider info, stay connected at | | Twitter: @21cCincinnati @CocktailTerrace | Instagram: @21cHotels @MetropoleOnWalnut

No. 13 // BEER HERE

Cincinnati has always been a city in which you can grab an excellent beer. In our first Best of Cincinnati issue in 1997, we ran a story, “Rating the Micros,” about the best locally brewed beer in town: “Seems like every time we turn around these days, somebody is opening a brewpub. At least a hundred beers are being brewed in Greater Cincinnati.” One-hundred beers? More like 100 microbreweries these days. But, believe it or not, even before the advent of Rhinegeist and MadTree (and Taft’s and Mt. Carmel and Listermann and Fifty West and…), we still drank local IPAs. Here are a couple worth remembering:

Best Microbrew Lager: “One of the first Cincinnati microbrews, and still one of the best: The Oldenberg Blonde at Oldenberg Brewery, Fort Mitchell. A light, golden Pilsner, it’s crisp and classic.” Best Microbrewery Pale Ale: “The Crosley Field Pale Ale at Rock Bottom Restaurant/Brewery.” Best Microbrew Stout: “The Steamboat Stout at Main Street Brewery (and also served at Watson Bros. Brewhouse).”

No. 14 ROMANTIC RUMINATIONS Today, “Romance” is dead — the Best of Cincinnati section formerly dedicated to all things romance made its final appearance in 2005. But when it began in 1997, it embarked on a mission to identify Cincinnati’s best of the best when it comes to getting it on. Both readers and staff weighed in on topics like blind dates, exotic getaways and romantic rendezvous, but we focused on CityBeat staffers, who had the opportunity to explain their choices in-depth. Among the highlights: a nowdefunct masturbation festival at the University of Cincinnati (promoting the “world’s oldest sport”), mildly disturbing PDA and a strange fixation with the Cincinnati Zoo and Ohio Renaissance Festival. Best pick?

Best Place for Public Sex Acts (Staff Pick, 1998): “The abandoned skywalk connecting the Regal Hotel to the old Lazarus department store.” 22  |  C i t y Beat.c om

model of noa h’s a rk at the cre ation museum  |  Photo: Adam Lederer

Best Oddball Microbrew: “No question, it’s the Mephistopheles’ Metamorphosis at BrewWorks, an unfiltered Belgian.”



Things you can no longer vote for (the ’90s were a different time): Best Topless Bar Best Condom Selection Best Post Office Branch Best Place to Meet Women Best Cheap Hotel Room Best Store Name Best Place to Buy a Macintosh Best Place to Buy an IBM Best Place to Make Out Best Place to Buy Sex Toys Best Mighty Ducks Player Best Adult Video Store Best Reason to Leave Cincinnati Best Tarot/Palm Reader

No. 16 // ALL ABOARD In a 1997 staff pick (“Best Evidence the Gene Pool is Awfully Shallow in Kentucky”), CityBeat called out Answers in Genesis, a Boone County-based fundamentalist organization with the “nutty” idea to build a 40-acre museum and amusement park devoted to Young Earth creationism. At the time, the project had been in the works for a year and still didn’t have a zoning permit. Of course, Answers in Genesis was successful, opening the Creation Museum a decade later in 2007. Now, Answers in Genesis is back at it again, and this time it’s taking on Noah. On July 7, the Ark Encounter will open to the public. Located about 40 miles south of the Creation Museum, this “historically authentic” 510-foot-long ark attraction promises Christian evangelistic values, immersive education and good, old family fun. Fun fact: Noah totally brought dinosaurs on the ark!

No. 17 FAMOUS LOCALS Celebrities — they’re just like us! They lived in Cincinnati at one point.

george clooney / woody h a rrelson / rock y ca rroll  |  Photos ( top to bottom): warner bros. / James Bridges / ncis

Best Evidence that George Clooney Is Way, Way Overexposed (Staff Pick, 1997): Even before Batman & Robin, CityBeat staffers were so over George Clooney. We called out The Enquirer for its 490 mentions of the Maysville, Ky. native during the previous year.

Best Hollywood Celebrity with Local Roots (Staff Pick, 1998): Mr. Clooney tied with Woody Harrelson in this category. Didn’t know Harrelson had Cincinnati ties? While born in Midland, Texas, his family moved to Lebanon — his mother’s hometown — in 1973. He attended Lebanon High School and, like so many local kids, earned cash working at Kings Island.

Best Cincinnati Presence in Hollywood (Staff Pick, 1999): We dropped the reader pick option for this category that year, but still found a way to claim a famous person as our own. “Keep your Carmen Electra,” we said, offering Chicago Hope’s Rocky Carroll instead. Oh, 1999 CityBeat. So quick to dismiss celebrities while at the same time namedropping an actor. Carroll is a Cincy native and SCPA alum who’s gone on to star in NCIS with more than 200 episodes of the series and its spinoffs under his belt.

No. 18


In the 2006 Best of Cincinnati issue, we ran a story called “Location, Location” about how “Blockbuster manages to survive in the digital age.” LOL. OK.

No. 20


The old “kiss of death” pick. These favorites have closed since they won, and we still miss (most of) them.

No. 19 THE LIST IS IN THE MAIL Today, many young musicians take for granted how ridiculously easy it is to reach their (actual or potential) audience. With a tweet, Facebook event notice or Instagram post, local bands can promote a concert in less time than it takes to brush their teeth. And their fans/stalkers can access way more information than they need just by scrolling through a couple month’s worth of social media posts. But in 1998’s Best of Cincinnati issue, one of the “Out & About” (now Arts & Nightlife) staff picks exemplified the difficulty required to reach music fans on the cusp on the Internet age. It was just as music lovers were figuring out how to use the new technology for their musical needs — local bands were mostly still stapling posters on telephone polls to promote concerts, and even the rise of the message board was several months away. The “Best Online Local Music Mailing List” (pretty sure that was a one-year-anddone category) showed the bumpy road to today’s “full access.” The pick gave props to a Ska lover (another very ’90s attribute) who sent out a “periodic mailer that features fans and musicians expounding on the pros and cons of the local scene.” There was also an aggregate website that had links to local Ska band pages, though if we remember correctly, they were mostly of the ugly, barebones “Geocities” variety. The .edu website itself took up about half of the entire pick that year.

Best Splurge The Maisonette Best Dance Club The Warehouse Best Pizza No Anchovies (Clifton) Best Street Festival Jammin’ on Main Best Vegetarian Mullane’s Best Shoe Store Shoetopia Best Coffeehouse Kaldi’s Best Antique Store Brass Armadillo Best Local Actress Carmen Electra Best LGBTQ Bar Jacob’s on the Avenue Best Blog B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   2 3

J A P P ’ s n i g h t l i f e p i g  |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

Overall Bar/Club 1 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 2 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3 / Sundry and Vice 4 / Japp’s 5 / Neons 6 / MadTree Brewing Company 7 / MOTR Pub 8 / The Comet 9 / Northside Tavern 10 / Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar

Bar/Club (Downtown/OTR) 1 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 2 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3 / Sundry and Vice

Bar/Club (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar 2 / Braxton Brewing Company 3 / Molly Malone’s


Art Museum

Bartender (Male)

1 / MadTree Brewing Company 2 / Fifty West Brewing Company 3 / Dutch’s

1 / Cincinnati Art Museum 2 / Contemporary Arts Center 3 / Taft Museum of Art

1 / Jack Keane (Sundry and Vice) 2 / Matt Pappert (Below Zero Lounge) 3 / Kris Yock (MadTree Brewing Company)

Bar/Club (West side)


Bartender (Female)

1 / Knotty Pine 2 / Crow’s Nest 3 / Dean’s Hops and Vines

1 / Cincinnati Museum Center 2 / Cincinnati Art Museum 3 / American Sign Museum

Bar/Club (Central)

Opportunities for Local Artists

1 / Julia Petiprin (Sundry and Vice) 2 / Sara Tobias (16-Bit Bar+Arcade) 3 / Madison Pence (MadTree Brewing Company)

1 / Northside Tavern 2 / Myrtle’s Punch House 3 / Northside Yacht Club

Bar/Club (Northern ’Burbs) 1 / Back Porch Saloon 2 / Fox & Hound 3 / Paxton’s Grill

Beer Selection (Draft)

1 / ArtWorks 2 / The City Flea 3 / Pendleton Art Center

1 / Yard House 2 / Brass Tap 3 / MadTree Brewing Company

Bar/Club Staff

Beer Selection (Bottles & Cans)

1 / Sundry and Vice 2 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 3 / Below Zero Lounge

Art Gallery

Bar/Club for Live Music

1 / 21c Museum Hotel 2 / Pendleton Art Center 3 / Art Academy of Cincinnati

1 / Bogart’s 2 / Southgate House Revival 3 / MOTR Pub

1 / Dutch’s 2 / The Comet 3 / Neons

Bloody Mary 1 / Crazy Fox Saloon 2 / The Eagle OTR 3 / Keystone Bar & Grill B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   2 5

Bourbon Cocktail

Local Winery

Concert in 2015

Hotel Bar

Local Author

1 / Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar 2 / Sundry and Vice 3 / The Littlefield

1 / Elk Creek Winery 2 / Vinoklet Winery 3 / Valley Vineyards

1 / Bunbury Music Festival 2 / MidPoint Music Festival 3 / James Taylor at Riverbend

1 / Molly Wellmann 2 / Chad Lambert 3 / Phil Nuxhall


Bowling Alley

Concert Venue

1 / Metropole (21c Museum Hotel) 2 / The Bar at Palm Court (Hilton) 3 / Phelps Bar (Residence Inn)

1 / Bakersfield OTR 2 / Nada 3 / El Rancho Grande

1 / Madison Bowl 2 / Western Bowl 3 / Stone Lanes

1 / Riverbend Music Center 2 / Bogart’s 3 / Southgate House Revival


1 / The Rusty Griswolds 2 / Naked Karate Girls 3 / Comet Bluegrass All-Stars


Dance Club

Martini 1 / Japp’s 2 / Below Zero Lounge 3 / Orchids at Palm Court

Cocktail Bar/Lounge 1 / Sundry and Vice 2 / 21c Cocktail Terrace 3 / Japp’s

Local Brewery/ Tap Room 1 / MadTree Brewing Company 2 / Rhinegeist 3 / Braxton Brewing Company

Local Distillery 1 / New Riff Distilling 2 / Northside Distilling Company 3 / Woodstone Creek Winery and Distillery

2 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

1 / Horseshoe Casino 2 / Hollywood Casino 3 / Belterra Park

Celtic/British Pub 1 / Molly Malone’s 2 / Nicholson’s 3 / Hap’s Irish Pub

Club/Party DJ 1 / DJ Mowgli 2 / DJ Jessica The Ripper 3 / DJ Chinn Chilla

College-Crowd Bar 1 / Mac’s Pizza (Clifton Heights) 2 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 3 / Murphy’s Pub

Comedy Club 1 / Go Bananas 2 / Funny Bone on the Levee 3 / MOTR Pub

1 / The Comet 2 / Crazy Fox Saloon 3 / Northside Tavern

Local Band (Covers)

1 / Below Zero Lounge 2 / Japp’s 3 / Boogie Nights (Hollywood Casino)


Local Band (Originals)

1 / Northside Tavern 2 / Below Zero Lounge 3 / Tostado’s

1 / Walk the Moon 2 / Over the Rhine 3 / Wussy


Local Theater Company

Local Classical Music Group

1 / Playhouse in the Park 2 / Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati 3 / Know Theatre of Cincinnati

1 / Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra 2 / Cincinnati Pops 3 / Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra

1 / Below Zero Lounge 2 / Crazy Fox Saloon 3 / Rosie’s Tavern

Happy Hour (Drinks)

Local Actor/Actress

1 / Righteous Room 2 / Neons 3 / Sundry and Vice

1 / Andrew Maloney 2 / Patrick E. Phillips 3 / Annie Fitzpatrick

Happy Hour (Food)

Local Artist

1 / Bakersfield 2 / Kaze 3 / Palomino

1 / Pam Kravetz 2 / Jesse Fox 3 / C.F. Payne

Local Comedian 1 / Drew Hastings 2 / Josh Sneed 3 / Geoff Tate

Local Improv/Sketch Comedy Group 1 / OTRimprov 2 / Future Science 3 / Bye Bye Liver

Open Mic Night 1 / MOTR Pub 2 / Go Bananas 3 / Club Trio Lounge

Local Music Promoter

Place to Throw Darts

1 / Dan McCabe 2 / Nederlander Entertainment 3 / SelfDiploma

1 / Crazy Fox Saloon 2 / Murphy’s Pub 3 / Hap’s Irish Pub

Local Musician

Place to Shoot Pool

1 / Bootsy Collins 2 / Ricky Nye 3 / Tracy Walker

1 / Northside Tavern 2 / Crazy Fox Saloon 3 / Murphy’s Pub

Local Vocal Arts Group

Rooftop Bar

1 / MUSE 2 / Cincinnati Children’s Choir 3 / May Festival Chorus

Movie Theater 1 / Esquire Theatre 2 / Cinemark Oakley 3 / AMC Newport on the Levee 20

No-Frills Watering Hole 1 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 2 / The Comet 3 / Knockback Nat’s

1 / 21c Cocktail Terrace 2 / Top of the Park/The Phelps Bar 3 / Rhinegeist

Trivia Night 1 / Neons 2 / Oakley Pub & Grill 3 / Molly Malone’s

Wine Bar 1 / 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab 2 / Unwind Wine Bar 3 / Marty’s Hops & Vines

1 6 - B i t B a r + A r c a d e   |   P h o t o : J E S S E F Ox

Local Dance Group 1 / Cincinnati Ballet 2 / Cin City Burlesque 3 / Exhale Dance Tribe

New Bar/Club (Since March 2015)

1 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 2 / Taft’s Ale House 3 / Northside Yacht Club 4 / Sundry and Vice 5 / Braxton Brewing Company 6 / The Overlook Lodge 7 / Urban Artifact 8 / Live! at the Ludlow Garage 9 / Pearl’s 10 / Bromwell’s HÄRTH Lounge

The Art Academy of Cincinnati invites you to meet the artists at our Senior Thesis Exhibitions. Join us as we celebrate the hard work of these radical, forward-thinking, contemporary visual artists and designers. Receptions every Friday, 5-8 pm, March 7-April 29.

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   2 7







Cincinnati | Antioch College: Herndon Gallery | Art Academy of Cincinnati: Pearlman Gallery and Convergys Gallery |






ArtWorks with The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County: Main Branch | Behringer-Crawford Museum | The Betts House | Black Box Performance Series at Contemporary Arts Center | BLDG | Brazee Street Studios: C-LINK Gallery | Carl Solway Gallery | The Carnegie | Cincinnati Art Museum | Cincinnati Museum Center with Word Play and






Gallery | Clay Street Press | Clifton Cultural Arts Center | Columbus Museum of Art | Contemporary Arts Center | The Dayton Art Institute | Dayton Visual Arts Center | Downtown Cincinnati Inc. |







frameshop i.imagine

| at

Roebling Point Books and Coffee | Iris BookCafé and Gallery | Kennedy Heights Arts Center | Lloyd Library and Museum with Cincinnati Book Arts Society | Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center | Mercantile Library | Roe Ethridge, Durango in the Canal, Belle Glade, FL, 2011, C-print, 51 x 76 inches Courtesy of the artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, and Greengrassi, London

Miami University Art Museum | Miller Gallery | Mount St. Joseph University: Studio San Giuseppe Art Gallery and

FOTOFOCUS BIENNIAL 2016 OCTOBER 1–31, CINCINNATI, OHIO FotoFocus Biennial Program: October 6–9

Flats Gallery | National Underground Railroad Freedom Center | Northern Kentucky




Galleries | Pop Revolution Gallery | Prairie | Robin Imaging Services


Sinclair Community College | Skirball

ABOUT THE BIENNIAL The FotoFocus Biennial is a regional, month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art held throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding region. Featuring over 60 participating museums, galleries, academic institutions, and community organizations, the 2016 Biennial will include original FotoFocus curated exhibitions and four days of events and programming, including screenings, lectures, and performances.

Museum Cincinnati in partnership with The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education | Stivers School for the Arts: Fifth Street Gallery | Taft Museum of Art | Thomas More College: Eva G. Farris Gallery | University of Cincinnati: DAAP Galleries | Wash Park Art | Wave Pool | Weston






University: Gallery 207 at the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries | Xavier University Art Gallery at the A.B. Cohen



Center | YWCA Women’s Art Gallery

T u r a n d o t  |   P h o t o : P h i l G r o s h o n g

ARTS & NIGHTLIFE // STAFF PICKS BEST ENTERTAINMENT SPECTACLE What makes grand opera grand? Cincinnati Opera showed us with an opulent staging of Puccini’s Turandot. The spectacular production featured equally spectacular singing from soprano Marcy Stonikas, as the ice princess Turandot, and the long-awaited Cincinnati debut of French soprano Norah Amsellem, whose plangent, haunting voice and dramatic presence as the servant Liu stole the show. Turandot also gave the chorus a major role, and Cincinnati Opera’s choral ensemble outdid themselves. Director and choreographer Renaud Doucet achieved the impossible, with staging that was both intimate and extravagant. Cincinnati Opera,

staging and unsung costume genius Reba Senske’s amazing costumes rendered the classic tale’s updating truly delightful and endearing. Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555,

BEST ARTS EVOLUTION BEST GROWN-UP GROUP COLORING SESSION Adult coloring books are a major trend that emerged in 2015, and if you enjoy a therapeutic crafting session, check out Drink and Draw at the Contemporary Arts Center. On the first Thursday of each month, local artist Lindsay Nehls hosts informal, free drawing nights. There’s usually a loose theme — February’s event featured valentine-making — and ample provided art supplies, but people are encouraged to bring their own sketchbook or project to work on, too. You don’t have to consider yourself an “artist type” to attend — just show up, grab a drink at Collective CAC and draw! Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513345-8400,

BEST EXAMPLE OF LOCAL COLLABORATION OUTDOING NEW YORK Just days before concert:nova, Elementz’s Studio Kre8v and The Millennium Robots performed John Adams’ “John’s Book of Alleged Dances,” it was presented in New York. The New York Times blasted it, calling the choreography “flimsy and poorly constructed.” The paper should have been here, especially since this was the first time Hip Hop was paired with Adams’ music. Thanks to the compelling work by choreographers Derrek Burbridge and Julius Jenkins, every movement seemed to flow organically from Adams’ whimsical, spiky score for string quartet and prepared piano, performed with characteristic brio by members of

concert:nova’s ensemble. Hopefully Adams got to see it.; elementz. org;

BEST HOLIDAY SHOW ADULTS CAN ENJOY EVEN WITHOUT KIDS Ensemble Theatre’s production of Cinderella was pure delight from start to finish, and the adults in the audience were just as enchanted as the kids. It was part of ETC’s annual cycle of fractured fairytale fare for the holidays, and this version clearly had been tweaked — there was a sneaker instead of a glass slipper — all in an enthralling manner. Joe McDonough’s book, David Kisor’s lyrics and Fitz Patton’s lively score sparkled with wit. A terrific cast, D. Lynn Meyers’ clever

Back in 1998, CityBeat fantasized about an “arts corridor” north of downtown. A lot more than our endorsement went into it, but that’s precisely what has evolved in Over-the-Rhine today. Thanks to the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, the upgrade of Washington Park and the renovation of Music Hall, there really is an arts district, stretching from Elm Street east to 12th. Memorial Hall is being modernized, Wash Park Art Gallery has opened, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will build a new complex, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is expanding and Know Theatre continues to draw crowds. And don’t forget the Art Academy, which bravely moved from the green pastures of Eden Park to OTR in 2005 before it was trendy. B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   2 9

M USE w i t h A r t i s t i c D i r e c t o r R h o n d a J u l i a n o  |  P h o t o : P h i l G r o s h o n g

BEST VOCAL RELOCATION After more than 25 years based at St. John’s Unitarian Church in Clifton, MUSE, Cincinnati’s award-winning women’s choir, moved to the Community Matters campus in Lower Price Hill. Community Matters was founded in 2011 to engage Lower Price Hill residents in creating new opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and housing. Its mission clearly resonates with MUSE’s mission of musical excellence and social justice. The choir has already presented a free concert of Appalachian music for the Lower Price Hill community, and in April MUSE performs with MYCincinnati, the phenomenal after-school music program also based in Lower Price Hill. MUSE, Community Matters, 2014 Saint Michael St., Lower Price Hill,


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#2 Neighborhood Burger Spot (Downtown / OTR)

#1 Pub Food #2 Overall Bar #2 Business Lunch

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BEST REASON TO INVENT “THIRSTY TUESDAY” So many bars in Over-the-Rhine offer weekday happy hours, but the year-old Sundry and Vice offers happy hour all night on Tuesdays, meaning from open (4 p.m.) to close (2 a.m.), you can partake in $5 beers and $6 draft cocktails — a steal considering their cocktail prices usually hover around $10 or more. On draft, try an Old Fashioned, a Vieux Carre or whatever’s seasonally available. And remember to come back Wednesday through Friday for their regular 4-7 p.m. happy hour and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for boozy milkshakes, which are a work of liquored art. Sundry and Vice, 18 W. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-VICE,

#3 Outdoor/Patio Dining


#3 Neighborhood Restaurant (Downtown/OTR)

The folks at Cincinnati Landmark Productions jettisoned the Showboat Majestic in 2013 and announced plans for a second stage in Price Hill to complement the popular Covedale Center. They made good on that promise by launching the brand-new,

229-seat, state-of-the-art Incline Theater in June. Just to prove how savvy they are, their blockbuster summer season of musicals (The Producers, 1776 and 9 to 5) sold every last seat. More adult fare is offered for the balance of the year; family-friendly musicals return in the summer. Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, 801 Matson Place, East Price Hill, 513-241-6550,

BEST CHURCH SERVICE FOR HEATHENS Back in the 19th century, many devout churchgoers lived in Over-the-Rhine. The physical evidence remains in the sanctuaries they built, many of which, 100 years later, sat deserted and crumbling. Perhaps we should say a prayer of thanks to the brewers and party planners who have turned several of those churches into new bars and brewhouses, including Taft’s Ale House (1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine,, Urban Artifact (1660 Blue Rock Road, Northside, artifactbeer. com) and The Transept (1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, People are returning to these beautiful buildings to

c i n c i n n a t i ob s e r v a t o r y   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

BEST DATE NIGHT UNDER THE STARS Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in Mount Lookout, the beautiful and historic 19th-century Cincinnati Observatory promotes both heritage and 21st-century science through outreach, educational programming and really unique one-night events, where the galaxy is literally at your fingertips. Have a “wow” moment with your significant other while having a “wow” moment with the universe at Late Night Date Night, an afterhours, behind-the-scenes, adults-only preview of planets and stars; a Celestial Wine Tasting; or a Starlit Picnic — grab a blanket, pack a picnic and watch the moon come up as astronomers guide a star viewing. It’s romantic. Cincinnati Observatory, 3489 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout, 513-321-5186,

joyously celebrate life by imbibing another one of Cincinnati’s historical traditions: good beer.

BEST SHAKEN-AND-STIRRED COMEDY NIGHT As the website says, Bye Bye Liver: The Cincinnati Drinking Play is “two parts comedy, one part social games, mixed and served.” A clever cocktail recipe for a night out. This hour-and-a-half sketch comedy and improv theater exposes the common and embarrassing social follies that can happen while you’re sauced, but also features interactive audience games. It’s got pratfalls and character actors, community and comedy. And it’s in a bar, so you can drink while you watch. The rule of humans: People get funnier the more vodka you have. 8 p.m. Saturdays. $15; $18 door. The Cabaret at Below Zero Lounge, 1122 Walnut St., Overthe-Rhine,

BEST EXCUSE TO GET NAKED IN PUBLIC Last spring, before the warm weather really kicked in, the city was abuzz with rumors that naked people were appearing

around various local establishments and landmarks — and a guy was capturing it all on camera. Ann Arbor, Mich. photographer Harvey Drouillard has been taking pictures of nudes in public places for more than 20 years. His models are all volunteers — regular folks — found mostly by word of mouth. Briefly trained in the art of disrobing quickly and discreetly (if that’s possible), these locals posed in front of Music Hall, the Contemporary Arts Center, Great American Ball Park and other spots. After about a week, Harvey was gone — off to capture more nudes in Boston — but not before hosting a one-night gallery show that raked in thousands of dollars. It was a weird week for Cincinnati. Harvey Drouillard,

BEST LOCAL MUSIC YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” came out in September 2014, but it took off in a huge way throughout 2015, making it one of the hardest Pop songs in the world to avoid. Besides total radio domination (and breaking the Billboard record for most weeks atop the Hot Rock Songs chart), the B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   3 3

j e s s l a mb  |   P h o t o : C at i e V i o x

Go Bananas has been bringing in the best stand-up comedians for over 20 years!

We Would like to thank you for voting us Best Comedy CluB in CinCinnati. WWW.goBananasComedy.Com

Speaking of the best…. The Pottery Painting Studio at Queen City Clay has the best bisque selection, and the VERY BEST keepsakes (kid & animal imprints in clay) on the planet! Drop in any time and paint your very own ceramic piece! We also do: Corporate Events, Birthday Parties, Ladies Night, Field Trips, Scout Events, Bridal/Baby Showers

Come check us out! Or call (513) 871-2529 for questions!

3130 Wasson Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45209 3 4   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

BEST LOCAL “IDOL” Cincinnati has had a few local artists appear on one of the popular TV singing competition shows. But few have shown the potential to truly build their career off of the appearance more than American Idol finalist Jess Lamb. The singer wasn’t just a karaoke singer lucking her way into an audition; Lamb was well established in the Cincinnati club scene and seemed destined for bigger things with or without Idol. The versatile Lamb (who won the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Artist of the Year at the start of 2016) has also shown dedication to control her sound and image instead of being molded into something she’s not. You can catch Lamb around town regularly performing Soul songs on a piano, rocking out with her AltRock trio The Factory or singing with Cincy Electronic duo Black Signal. Jess Lamb,

band played it on every TV show possible (including The Voice and the American Music Awards broadcast), and the song was in regular rotation as bumper music during sports broadcasts and TV morning shows. “Shut Up” also became such a part of popular culture that Jane Lynch opened the People’s Choice Awards with a cringeworth parody (“Shut up and choose with me”?) and it even got the cover treatment on a Kidz Bop album. The song is one “Weird Al” Yankovic rendition away from being an immortal classic. Walk the Moon,

BEST RADIO UPGRADE There was nothing “wrong” with Northern Kentucky’s WNKU (89.7 FM), but the station got even better in 2015, moving away from some of its Adult Alternative/Americana programming in favor of a more eclectic playlist of Modern Rock. It reminded some local listeners of the old WOXY, which made it all the more fitting when former 97X DJ Matt Sledge returned to the airwaves to host shifts. The station also doubled down on its support of homegrown

music, playing a local act at least once every hour, spotlighting a different Greater Cincinnati artist every month and giving local musician Freekbass a Friday evening Funk radio show. WNKU,

BEST WAY TO HELP HYDE PARK GET HYPED The big summertime riverfront Bunbury Music Festival had a great first year under the new ownership of PromoWest Productions. It was good for the city’s economy, and several neighborhoods got an extra bump... of bass, thanks to the closing-night headlining set by Snoop Dogg. Police said they received noise complaints from as far away as Hyde Park, which is about five miles from the concert site at Sawyer Point. Bunbury Music Festival, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

BEST USE OF 1970s ORANGE LEATHER IN A BAR Most restaurants in OTR do not take reservations, and on a Friday or Saturday night, waits can be as long as two hours. While you impatiently pace and grow

hungrier by the minute, it’s best to multitask by visiting a local watering hole. Located below yoga studio The Yoga Bar and next door to Salazar — one of the restaurants at which you’ll be waiting for a table — 4EG’s Low Spark offers a chill atmosphere at its square-shaped, theater-in-the-round bar, featuring an aquarium in the center and a slew of comfy button-tufted orange leather bowling-alley-ish chairs. They have everything from $3 Bud to local beers on draft and a fine cocktail list that includes a Tropic Thunder (rum, coconut water, fruit juices, blue stuff), a Rye Summer (whiskey, bitters, Amaro, flamed orange peel) and a classic ’70s Harvey Wallbanger. Low Spark, 15 W. 14th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-371-5722,

you fill. Craft Connection Brewery Tours,



The Weston Art Gallery engaged in some inspired self-censorship while hosting the Punk-themed Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie exhibit curated by Todd Pavlisko. Under director Dennis Harrington’s guidance, “Too Drunk To Fuck,” a neon installation celebrating the Dead Kennedys’ song of the same name, glowed from inside the lower gallery’s ceiling, possibly making more of an impact than it would have unobscured on a wall. As it celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016, the Weston hasn’t lost its ability to challenge visitors. Weston Art Gallery, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-977-4165,

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For four decades, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra did the predictable three or four concerts annually. But it was always a scheduling challenge for the small orchestra’s 32 musicians, members of the Cincinnati Symphony and ensembles in Dayton, Columbus and Lexington. So the CCO decided to do something more compact and contemporary. They called it Summermusik, a three-week festival in August offering three different kinds of concerts — several traditional shows, three casual Sunday matinees and four “Chamber Crawls” at popular bars. Sold-out events resulted, and CCO will be at it again this summer. Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, 4046 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-723-1182,


Featuring inside-out tamales, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, freshly made guacamole & salsa and authentic Mexican dishes. • 859.652.7260 3 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

They city has truly embraced its history as a beer-brewing mecca, with new breweries popping up in most neighborhoods over the past few years. Craft Connection Brewery Tours offers bus tours stopping at three to four local breweries including Rhinegeist, Listermann, MadTree and several more. Just select one of the public tours (available on weekends and most week nights) or customize the experience with a private group tour. Beer samples at each stop are included in the price ($50-$60 per person). Buses come equipped with water, snacks, tasting cups and a cooler for any growlers

BEST THEATRICAL ENCORE Know Theatre’s Serials! has a devoted following. This “episodic theater party” offers five 15-minute scripts by five local playwrights, spread over five Monday evenings across a 10-week run. Shows start, get recapped and wind up — unless they’re voted off via the “Thunderdome” ballot box. Paul Strickland and Trey Tatum’s Andy’s House of [blank] from a previous series became a full-fledged show at Know last fall, so it’s also a lab for writers, directors and actors. Besides that, audiences have a damn good time. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Overthe-Rhine, 513-300-5669,

The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Rosenthal Education Center is 2,300 square feet of space devoted to educating kids about art while simultaneously entertaining them. One wall doubles as a projection screen; light boxes demonstrate shapes and colors; the one-time museum library’s windows now frame reproductions of famous art, each one dominated by a color of the rainbow; and education staff members are always around to help with hands-on activities for kids and parents. If the CAM is open, so is the Rosenthal Education Center, no charge. (By the way, there’s no dropping the kids off — adult accompaniment is required.) Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, 513-7212787,

BEST DRINKABLE HANGOVER CURE Common folklore shares limitless panaceas for hangovers: cold showers, hot coffee, greasy food and a little hair of the dog. Pair them all — except the shower — at Nation Kitchen & Bar. Grab some hot and crunchy breakfast tots, topped with cheddar cheese, sausage gravy and a fried egg for breakfast. Then indulge in bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers or Bloody Carries: Bloody Marys named for hatchet-wielding temperance warrior Carrie Nation. All until 2 p.m. and all for only $28; cheaper than last night’s bar tab. Nation Kitchen & Bar, 1200 Broadway St., Pendleton, 513-381-3794,

BEST (PROVERBIAL) MIDDLE FINGER TO THE ART MARKET EXHIBITION Robert Inhuman’s 1111 “a flyerstorm to purify” retrospective-like exhibition on view at the Ice Cream Factory space was compiled entirely of his photocopy-based Punk Rock event flyers made in the years since his 2009 return to Cincinnati. Inhuman voluntarily manages the monthly Cincinnati DIY calendar, ran an all-ages community space in the West End until new owners recently purchased the building and has toured extensively with various music and art projects since 2004. Curated by artist

M i t a’ s Do s C om i n o s , M e z c a l M a n h a t t a n a n d C a i p i r i n h a   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

HERITAGE Handmade for 111 years

BEST CURATED COCKTAIL PROGRAM Chef Jose Salazar’s downtown eatery Mita’s is an homage to both his Latin American heritage as well as his beloved Colombian grandmother, Mita. The soul of Spain, South America and the old world are reflected in the farm-inspired menu, with Basque cheeses and Serrano ham, sharable tapas, citrus ceviches and a beautiful, giant Paella Valenciana. But the spirit is also reflected in the spirits. The drink menu specializes in big and bold reds — peppery Garnachas and robust Tempranillos — and a curated selection of classic Latin cocktails, including authentic sangrias. There is no other cocktail list in the city that features a caipirinha (cachaça, lime and sugar), margarita and a Papa Doble (Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban-inspired daiquiri) on one page. The cachaça alone is interesting enough — a specialized sugarcane spirit, like the bourbon of Brazil — but Mita’s also offers mezcal, the hip cousin of tequila, in cocktails like the Mezcal Manhattan (sweet vermouth, orange molé bitters and maraschino). Mita’s, 501 Race St., Downtown, 513-421-6482,

Paul Coors, the work was exhibited in both poster and large-scale wheat pasted prints and included stacks of free copies for visitors to take home with them. Ice Cream Factory, 2133 Central Ave., Brighton.

of films tackling the history of racism in America. Chase Public, 1569 Chase Ave., Suite 4, Northside,


It took more than 35 years, but the city finally erected a permanent memorial outside of the former Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) to pay tribute to the 11 fans who lost their lives in the rush to get into the venue to experience The Who in concert. The Who concert memorial is, most importantly, a way to remember those young people who were simply out for a night of fun in 1979, but it’s also a reminder of a moment that was pivotal in improving concert security worldwide.

Collaborative art space Chase Public has been hosting weekly (if not bi-weekly) public events, encouraging discourse, collaborative art-making, radical workshops and poetry readings for several years, but its response to socio-political matters of both national and colloquial relevance seemed to pick up over the past year, a reaction to the public need for a forum on these kinds of topics. Typical events include discussion groups about what constitutes a “safe space” for marginalized groups, artistic “responses” to the music of Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and ongoing screenings

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BEST REASON TO GET HIGH AND DRINK No. We’re not talking about Buddie the marijuana mascot. We’re talking about the new

The OrchesTra

sTarring FOrmer members OF eLO & eLO ii an evening of the greaTesT hiTs of the eLecTric LighT OrchesTra saturday, may 14 7:30 Pm mOunT sT. JOsePh universiTy 5701 Delhi rd cincinnati, Ohio 45233 Tickets $45 in advance $55 Day of show eLO’s spectacular run of success included numerous gOLD and Platinum albums, Top Ten hits such as “can’t get it Out of my head”, “evil Woman”, “mr. blue sky”, “Turn To stone”, and “Telephone Line”, the groundbreaking “spaceship” tour For show Tickets and information on Ticket Packages call 513-570-0652 or go to B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   3 7

BEST ARCADE BAR A CAR RAN INTO When an elderly man crashed his car into the side of Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition’s building in September, local media took the opportunity to make several “game over” and “hit restart” jokes. But it only took the new “barcade” a few days to clean up the mess and reopen what has become a popular Northside hangout. The sister location of the original, all-ages Arcade Legacy inside Forest Park’s Cincinnati Mall, “Bar Edition” has a full bar and a pub grub menu offering things like fancy hot dogs and local gourmet cookies. And, of course, it’s equipped with the coolest arcade games of yesteryear, which are all free as long as you’re buying food or drinks, plus 50-cent pinball machines. Perhaps the most authentic aspect of all: There’s a couch + console area where you can relive that time you stole your parents’ booze and played Nintendo all night. Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition, 3929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-4293180,

MOST AMBITIOUS ALTERNATIVE ART SPACE Maybe because it’s a nonprofit organization run by two dedicated artists — Geoffrey and Calcagno Cullen — Camp Washington’s Wave Pool has been able to establish the kind of community presence that eludes so many alternative spaces, keeping regular hours and launching well-promoted shows. It launched or hosted so much impressive work in 2015 that it’s become one of the city’s most reliably interesting art spaces. Featured last year were artists-in-residence Erin Colleen Johnson and Stairwell’s, and the Thing-stead artist books by Chris Reeves and Aaron Walker. Wave Pool, 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington,

and stayed the course. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555,

BEST WAY TO EAT BAR SNACKS WITHOUT SPREADING GERMS The recently opened Vestry bar inside stately remodeled church/private event space The Transept doesn’t serve food, but they do have bowls of bar snacks containing Chex Mix, pretzels and peanuts. Most communal bar snack bowls are gross — just think about all those hands touching the pretzel chunks. But Vestry has figured out a way for everyone to enjoy the snacks and not spread germs. Each bowl comes with a spoon and a small plastic cup, so you just scoop the contents into the container and go to town. Of course, some idiot will probably do it the wrong way and taint the bowl, which is the point at which you’ll offer them a dollop of your purse-Purell. The Transept, 1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-667-5822,

BEST REPURPOSING OF AN OLD MASONIC TEMPLE FOR A MULTI-USE ART CENTER Dayton, Ky.’s Board of Adjustments approved Scott Beseler’s application for a conditional use change for his multi-purpose venue, The Lodge, late last year. Beseler’s large ex-Masonic Temple was granted assembly usage, allowing the photographer (who has worked with and for both local and national artists like Walk the Moon and James Leg) to host art shows, concerts and lectures in the space he’s been slowly fixing up for more than five years now. The Lodge, 231 Sixth Ave., Dayton, Ky.,

BEST NEWS FOR THE VISUAL ARTS Northside’s long-in-planning PAR-Projects art space had a great year in 2015. It received 501(c)3 status, found a permanent space and is hoping to soon start the conversion of its two shipping containers already on site into a home. Meanwhile, the Light Strikes exhibit that PAR-Projects and Kennedy Heights Art Center put on was an imaginative exploration of light and space with some great art. Stay tuned for 2016 developments. PAR-Projects,



When Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati got its start in Over-the-Rhine 30 years ago, it was long before the neighborhood north of downtown was a trendy destination. But ETC stuck it out, thanks in large part to Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers, who steadfastly refused to consider relocation back in the late 1990s, when crime and desolation were the theater’s neighbors, and kept staging great dramas and comedies that attracted audiences despite the challenges. Now celebrating its 30th season, ETC is a thriving survivor in a vibrant part of town with an eye on expansion. We are grateful for the artists who led the way

The world of theater is playing catch up to create equity for women playwrights, long and unfairly underrepresented on American stages. The Cincinnati Playhouse has done its part this season, with half of its shows written by women — as well as many featuring female directors and actors. Of particular note: 2016 began with two top-notch, world-premiere comedies by women, Karen Zacarías’ Native Gardens, about feuding neighbors, and Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, with an all-badass female cast. Both were audience-pleasers. Vive les femmes! Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park,

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deck Rhinegeist built on top of the brewery’s roof. With enough space for 200 imbibers, a 24-foot draft bar (with beer and cocktails on tap) and picnic tables, it’s an excellent addition to the city’s rooftop bar scene. Climb on up for views of the historic Jackson Brewery building, downtown and the future Elm Street streetcar line. Nominated as one of the top 10 best bars in the country by USA Today, Rhinegeist also recently expanded its reach to include distribution in more nearby cities and Boston. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-theRhine, 513-381-1367,

BEST MOST ENTERTAINING ART SHOW OPENING For the jam-packed opening night of his terrific retrospective Myopia, Mark Mothersbaugh (artist, composer and Devo frontman) entertained the throngs at Contemporary Arts Center by playing his fantastical musical sculptural installations known as “orchestrions” to the delight of everyone present. It was like being invited into a mad scientist’s home for a party and discovering that scientist could really make some hip music. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-345-8400,

962 Mount Adams Circle, Eden Park, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888,

BEST EVENT FURTHERING THE MYSTIQUE OF CINCINNATI’S STRANGEST MUSEUM Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art hosted a new avant-garde theater work, The Ventriloquists Convention, based on the annual event sponsored by Fort Mitchell’s Vent Haven ventriloquism museum. According to the MCA, “the piece imagines meetings among the convention delegates and their dummies, who each maintain distinct voices and identities.” It was a project of European director/choreographer Gisèle Vienne, American novelist Dennis Cooper and the German puppet-theater company Puppentheater Halle. No word yet if it will be coming here — maybe to Vent Haven? Vent Haven, 33 W. Maple Ave., Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-0461,

BEST HISTORICAL EXHIBIT THAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE A KID AGAIN Brian Powers of downtown’s main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, whose meticulous research has

already yielded fine exhibits and symposia dedicated to Cincinnati musicians and record labels, turned his attention to our dearly departed toy makers with two fine shows: Just in Time for the Holidays: Kenner Toys and Beloved Toys. Kenner has a rich local history, founded and launched in Cincinnati circa 1947. (Fun fact: It was one of the first toy companies to utilize nation-wide television advertising.) Although it sadly ceased operations in 2000, the brand remains near and dear to many. Powers also organized a symposium at which former Kenner employees recalled the glory days of creating early Star Wars figures, Easy Bake Ovens and much more. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-369-6900,

BEST REMEMBRANCE OF THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE’S CAC SHOW FotoFocus, proving it’s much more than an (admittedly great) biennial photography festival, used its off-year to produce with the Contemporary Arts Center the Mapplethorpe + 25 symposium that brought to town a

thank you cincinnati for making our 1st year so incredible!

# 1 C o C k ta i l B a r / l o u n g e i n C i n C i n n at i # 1 B a r / C l u B S ta f f i n C i n C i n n at i # 1 f e m a l e B a r t e n d e r i n C i n C i n n at i - - J u l i a P e t i P r i n # 1 m a l e B a r t e n d e r i n C i n C i n n at i - - J a C k k e a n e # 2 B o u r B o n C o C k ta i l # 3 o v e r a l l B a r / C l u B i n C i n C i n n at i #3 Bar/CluB in downtown/otr #3 HaPPy Hour #4 new Bar/CluB SinCe marCH 2015

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c . J a c q u e l i n e Woo d , f o u n d e r o f t h e m i n i m i c r oc i n e m a   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

BEST ATTEMPT TO USE CORPORATE FOUNDATION MONEY TO PAY AVANT-GARDE FILMMAKERS With her $15,000 from People’s Liberty, filmmaker C. Jacqueline Wood’s ambitious Mini Microcinema project paid more than 140 artists working in experimental film, film installation and poster art. Wood programmed the Globe Gallery in Over-theRhine with 28 screenings over eight weeks and (with the help of arts volunteers committed to her cause) spent every last penny of said grant, paying each filmmaker, artist, curator and otherwise for their time and work. The Microcinema will be back in action at The Carnegie in Kentucky in 2016, with screenings through April 22. The Mini Microcinema,

wealth of museum curators, scholars, artists and those who knew the late photographer to talk about his life and legacy. It was a proud moment in the city’s cultural history and showed that the late artist is becoming a saint in the city that once prosecuted (some would say persecuted) those who dared to show his work. 

BEST CHANCE TO CATCH A RISING ARTIST ON THE WAY UP Ato Ribeiro, a student at Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, decided to grace Cincinnati by loaning his monumental-sized drawing of his great-grandmother, “Edith Motte Young, Forever,” made through a charcoal-erasing process on brown paper, to the Brick 939 Pop-Up Holiday Market in Walnut Hills. Not sure how many people had a chance to see it, but those who did won’t soon forget it… or him.

BEST LOCAL MUSIC ALL STAR The 2015 MLB All-Star Game gave baseball fans from across the country an excuse to experience the sites of Cincinnati. Thanks

to the Reds DJ, WNKU’s Aaron Sharpe, fans got to hear a lot of the local sounds, too. During the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, Sharpe assembled an amazing playlist that featured Ohio and Cincinnati-related music, including local artists like Bad Veins, The Tillers, Honey & Houston, Multimagic, The Raisins and Walk the Moon (whose members also sang the national anthem before the ASG).

BEST ART SHOW FOR FASHION PLATES Rudi Gernreich, the radically visionary late fashion designer who tried to free the world of high-fashion snobbery in the 1960s and 1970s with his topless bathing suit, animalinspired ensembles and more, was feted royally by the traveling retrospective The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt and William Claxton, which came to the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2015. Moffitt was Gernreich’s muse and model; Claxton was Moffitt’s husband and photographer. The show made the gallery swing for a few months in spring. Cincinnati Art Museum, B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   4 1

BEST WINE BASEMENT Oakley Wines started as a boutique bottle shop just off the main drag in Oakley. With lovely pine floors, a nicely curated wine selection (for all price points; their slogan is “approachable & affordable”) and fun graphic elements — they have a quippy “free drinking lessons” text poster over the upstairs bar — it became a neighborhood hang and hotspot for Friday-night wine tastings. And then it became more than a neighborhood hang when upward of 100 people started stopping in every week. So, expanding with demand, owner Zach Eidson revamped the basement and turned it into The Cellar bar. With brick walls, black leather banquettes, repurposed wine bottle light fixtures and a converted incinerator-turned-fireplace, it’s industrial yet cozy. The subterranean bar features a full drink list, with wine and beer on tap, and upscale snacks. Oakley Wines, 4011 Allston St., Oakley, 513-531-1400,

BEST CONTEMPORARY RECORDS TO COME FROM MUSIC HALL Over-the-Rhine’s 138-year-old Music Hall was the recording site for a pair of nationally released albums in the past year. The Cincinnati Pops were featured on the American Originals album, taken from the symphony’s concerts of the same name, which featured performances by Rosanne Cash, Aoife O’Donovan, Joe Henry, Dom Flemons, Over the Rhine, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and many others. Meanwhile, Bryce Dessner of The National released a compilation of some of the best performances from his annual MusicNOW concerts in celebration of its 10th anniversary. MusicNOW: 10 Years featured performances (some from Music Hall’s neighbor, Memorial Hall) by Will Oldham, Andrew Bird, Sharon Van Etten and Sufjan Stevens.;

BEST HISTORIC FIREPLACE SHOP TO OPEN ITS OWN LOUNGE Opened in 1819, Bromwell’s is the oldest business in Cincinnati, continuously operated for 195 years by only three families. What started as a pioneering household goods operation by Jacob Bromwell in the early 1800s (animal traps, cheese graters, buckets, popcorn poppers, etc.) now specializes in fireplaces, fine art and select home furnishings. They also specialize in opening their own next door bars. The recently launched Bromwell’s HÄRTH Lounge is a lovely and comfortable piano bar, open to the public Wednesday through Saturday (available other days for private rentals), featuring live Jazz and handcrafted cocktails. It’s a decidedly adult experience — as in grown-up — with local draft beer, vintage drinks like an Old Fashioned and French 75 and classy furnishings — fire4 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

places, contemporary art, velvet couches and low lighting. Bromwell’s HÄRTH Lounge, 125 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-621-FIRE,

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953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, 513721-2787,

BEST PROOF THAT MAINSTREAM COUNTRY AND MODERN ROCK DON’T ALWAYS MIX Area fans who enjoy multi-day music festivals were probably excited when the NiFi Music Fest was announced for this summer at the Kentucky Speedway racetrack in Sparta, Ky. Well, many were at least halfexcited. The fest boasted an ambitiously impressive lineup, but, while certain Country and Rock acts have crossover appeal, NiFi was counting on fans paying $199 for a three-day pass to see artists as far apart as Hank Williams Jr., Miranda Lambert and Trace Adkins, along with Weezer, Built to Spill and Black Lips. The August fest was ultimately cancelled, with organizers citing lack of advanced ticket sales.

BEST TRUE STORIES Six years ago, inspired by the success of New York City’s storytelling movement begun by The Moth, Dave Levy and Jeff Groh launched the local incarnation, calling it True Theatre. It’s a quarterly gathering at Know Theatre’s Underground bar space. They pick a theme — this year they’ve already done “trueGAMBLE” and “trueFOOD” (with “trueGAY” and “trueANIMAL” to come). Each time, five storytellers have 15 minutes to share a real experience, with no props or notes. It makes for evenings that are entertaining and often moving. Other storytelling events happen around town, but True Theatre is really making it work. True Theatre presented at Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine; 513-300-5669,

BEST ONE-MAN SHOW Nick Cearley grew up in Hamilton; today he’s a busy stage professional in New York City. But he came back to Ohio to perform the one-man show Buyer and Cellar at Ensemble Theatre. Cearley never felt like the only person onstage. He was Alex More, the narrator and “store manager” for Barbra Streisand’s vast basement collection of memorabilia, but he brought to life Alex’s neurotic boyfriend, the tough-talking estate manager and, of course, Barbra herself. Convincing and entertaining from start to finish, Cearley gave a bravura performance. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555,

BEST PREEMPTIVE MUSIC TRIBUTE Last summer, Cincinnati Rock legends The Tigerlilies released a single and music video titled “Bowie” that served as a heartfelt musical thank-you note to the Rock icon, with lyrics like, “David Bowie, you don’t know us/But you can forgive us, for wanting to be like you.” Featured on the band’s

BEST WAY TO SAVE A MACKLEMORE SONG When Macklemore played his song “Downtown” on TV for the first time (during the 2015 MTV Video Awards), many fans of great, late Cincinnati band Foxy Shazam got a surprise that probably felt like a weird dream or pleasant acid trip. During the elaborate stage routine, Foxy singer Eric Nally burst onto the stage to deliver the soaring chorus hook (as he does on the recording and at many Macklemore tour dates). Nally’s introduction to mainstream music fans should be a nice running-start when he launches his solo career in the near future. Eric Nally,

123456 EP, the song, of course, became all the more moving when Bowie passed away at the beginning of 2016. thetigerliliesusa.

BEST OPPORTUNITY TO SING OUT Apparently, locals who sang in high school and college choruses wanted to keep it up. When KellyAnn Nelson invited a few folks to come together for Christmas caroling a few years back, she was surprised when 40 people showed up. So she organized the Young Professionals Choral Collective. Today YPCC numbers more than 600, with 110-130 of the singers signing up for sixweek cycles to rehearse (and decompress at downtown watering holes), then present a concert, often collaborating with other musical and arts groups. Great fun, great singing.

BEST REASON TO GO TO SCHOOL Final Fridays have been Over-the-Rhine gallery events for years, but the territory has spread as the neighborhood has gained more and more attractions. Of particular note: There are monthly gallery

shows at the Art Academy featuring works by students and faculty as well as performances and exhibitions at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Wander beyond Main Street and you’ll see how arts training leads to great results. Art Academy, 1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, 513562-6262,; SCPA, 108 W. Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine, 513-3638000,

BEST PLACE TO LEGALLY RACE AN 8-YEAR-OLD Video games, go-karts, laser tag, bowling and minigolf. If these activities sound like kids’ stuff to you, you’re right. But they’re all awesome anyway, and Scene75 Entertainment Center puts them all under one roof. When you add in two bars and a restaurant, the median age for the venue continues to rise. And we dare you to name a previously mentioned activity that isn’t improved by beer. So grab your nieces and nephews, load up a card for them and set those rascals loose. Then they won’t bother you while you try to beat your high score on Time Crisis. Scene75 Entertainment Center, 876 State Route 28, Milford, 513-965-4050,

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J o h n Fo r d o f T h e L i t t l e f i e l d ( l e f t ) AND J o n a t h a n S e a r s o f p a r - p r oj e c t s   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

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BEST BAR INVESTING IN NORTHSIDE The Littlefield has been a welcome addition to the Northside bar scene since opening in 2014. Hand-crafted cocktails with a focus on bourbon, a chef-driven menu, lots of local art — what’s not to love? But the bar serves more than just food and drinks — it also serves the community. Every month, The Littlefield features a cocktail that benefits a nonprofit in Northside or other nearby neighborhoods. One dollar from each drink served goes directly to an organization; The Littlefield has donated more than $8,000 to nonprofits so far, including Happen, Inc., PAR-Projects and the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. The Littlefield, 3934 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-386-7570,

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BEST MUSICAL GENRE SHOW OF STRENGTH Cincinnati will always have a strong Jazz scene, thanks to the amazing artists headquartered here and the talented students and teachers who flock to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music’s renowned Jazz program. But 2015 felt like one of the best years for Cincinnati Jazz in a while. There were some stunning recordings released, particularly from the scene’s “young lions,” including Brad Myers’ Prime Numbers, Dan Karlsberg’s The ’Nati Six and the progressive Art & Science’s debut, Drift. Local Jazz fans also gained a new live outlet, as Urban Artifact brewery in Northside has featured a steady diet of eclectic Jazz offerings (among other musical styles), including the legendary Blue Wisp Big Band, on a regular basis. Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside,

BEST WINE GAME TO WIN (OR LOSE) Things that are great: cost-effective and heavily poured wine flights. And 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab ups the ante on this little

life pleasure by also adding a game. Curated by Daniel Souder, sommelier and wine director, each $15 wine flight from 1215 comes with three generous pours — a selection of sparkling, white, red, mixed or well-sourced regionals — and each of the glasses comes with a hand-written number on the foot — 1, 2 or 3. A notecard lists which wine is which, but keep it flipped over and savor the attributes of each glass to guess what you’re drinking. A biodynamic sangiovese? An acidic and mossy Greek white? Use the menu for tasting tips. You don’t win anything if you’re right, but you do get to keep drinking your wine. 1215 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-429, 5745,

BEST PLACE TO WRITE THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL As any good writer knows, sometimes the best way to get the creative juices flowing is to add a bit of lubrication before, during and after the writing process. And that’s what makes The Overlook Lodge such an exciting addition to Cincinnati’s bar scene. This The Shining-themed bar features rustic cocktails like The Hatchet and The

Great Selection of Vapes, E Juice, & Smokables (Must be 18)

O’BRYONVILLE 2034 Madison Rd. 513-871-HEMP SHaRONVILLE 11353 Lebanon Rd. 513-524-HEMP CORRYVILLE 2824 Jefferson ave. 513-569-0420

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BEST NEWS TO MAKE YOU HOPE FOR A NEVER-ENDING SUPPLY OF GOOD BEER In December of last year, MadTree Brewing Company announced plans for an $18 million expansion and move to a new brewery and manufacturing site in Oakley. After only three years in business, the craft-can brewer outgrew its current facility and taproom on Kennedy Avenue. MadTree will remodel the former RockTenn paper manufacturing company on Madison Avenue to house 50,000-square-feet of brew and taproom space, plus a 10,000-square-foot beer garden — that’s a big-ass beer garden. That will triple the size of MadTree and quadruple production rates — up to 35,000 barrels of beer per year. They also plan to expand their barrel-aged offerings, the Catch-A-Fire Pizza café space and the amount of bathroom space. Bur for now, keep drinking and eating pizza at the current location — they plan to have the new space done late this year. MadTree Brewing Company, 5164 Kennedy Ave., Columbia Township, 513-836-8733,

BEST WAY TO INTRODUCE COSPLAY INTO YOUR DATING VOCABULARY Do you think bow ties are cool? Are you unafraid of wearing a fez in public or using the word “frak” as an expletive? Perhaps you’re looking for someone to share your pod bed and you’re not meeting enough babes at D&D night or binge-watching old X-Files episodes. The Pandora Society has a solution. The local steampunk/sci-fi collective hosts Talk Nerdy to Me, a single’s mix and mingle party where you can meet and greet other glorious geeks. Head to the third floor of Molly Malone’s in Covington for the monthly Geek Club meeting — a sort of mini-con featuring a collection of different fandom and gaming tables, plus guest vendors — and then stay for a drink. It’s not speed dating or anything complicated; you just socialize with whoever happens to be there. Every explosion has to start with a spark, and no Doctor ever met a companion just lounging around the TARDIS… well, except that one time. 11 p.m. third Wednesdays. Free. Molly Malone’s, 112 E. Fourth St., Covington, Ky.,

BEST MUSIC EDUCATION ON THE RADIO For two years, lawyer Bob Hust and writer/ editor Bill Thompson have delivered Americana, Roots, Blues, AltCountry music and whatever else they feel like playing on Blue Snakes & Banjos at all-volunteer radio station WAIF (88.3 FM). Former colleagues 4 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

from the hosts’ time at The Cincinnati Enquirer also drop by occasionally to share accounts of events such as The Who concert tragedy and the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These baby boomers aren’t stuck on nostalgia, though. Hust and Thompson constantly share new and local music, while giving authoritative opinions about what to add to your MP3 player. 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. WAIF (88.3 FM), waif883. org;

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Writer’s Block that can help guarantee some much-needed play after a hard day’s work. Combine the cozy atmosphere and weekend Bluegrass performances and you’ve got a recipe for a terrifyingly addicting watering hole. The Overlook Lodge, 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513-351-0035,

BEST BOOZY BOOK CLUB Let’s be real: Most book clubs are about drinking alcohol and sometimes reading books (or pretending to read books). Braxton Brewing Company understands: Their Books on Tap event series features smart, interesting people, great conversation and craft beer. This monthly get-together is for those who like to drink and read or drink and/or read. The books are chosen by the Kenton County Public Library staff, and Braxton provides the conversation location for, what they expertly call, “literary merriment.” Check their Facebook page for book selection updates ( as well as event info. Or just start showing up to the brewery with random books and lift several beers to life. Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., 859-261-5600,

BEST HIP HOP DYNAMIC DUO Can a supergroup be just two people? In the case of Space Invadaz, heck yes. Two of Cincinnati’s all-time finest Hip Hop artists — Donte the Gr8 (from groundbreaking Cincy group MOOD) and contemporary great Buggs Tha Rocka — teamed up for the project and are working with Talib Kweli’s Javotti Media. After several live dates, the duo’s track “Gun Show” (a brilliant survey of America’s gun culture) was released to well-deserved praise, with a mixtape promised later this year and a fulllength album in the works. With the MCs’ impeccable skills and collaborators like Kweli, M1 of dead prez and producer Hi Tek reportedly in the mix, the sky’s the limit for Space Invadaz.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD HANG IN A CENTURY-OLD FARMHOUSE Columbia Tusculum, rich in history and architecture, now has a bar that stands as a testament to both. Pearl’s is a new drinking establishment located in a 100-year-old house, the last standing family residence in what became a commercially zoned area. Owner and developer John Tieman, who purchased the property in 2010 and used it as a personal business space, ultimately reconceptualized it to create a neighborhood hangout in what was a neighborhood home. From the bricks to the paneling to the wood floors and windows, everything structurally salvageable was reused to bring authenticity to the space. The bar also honors its history through its name: The moniker is taken from the first name of the last owner of the home,

BEST BARWARE When a couple of Rock & Roll dudes/Molly Wellmann-trained bartenders like Jon Weiner and Stuart MacKenzie open a bar, something magical happens: You get a high-quality fresh-squeezed cocktail menu in a casual setting with a great music lineup and fun bar food (e.g. short rib grilled cheese and duck fat poutine). You also get super-cool barware. Clever and kitschy gastropub Northside Yacht Club — with its own rope ceiling, lifeguard chair and porthole — not only slings slightly thematic cocktails, like a Navy Grog, Yacht Toddy or the USS Cincinnati, they also have adorable, slightly thematic cups. Get a sneakily strong and fruity rum cocktail served in a ceramic mug that looks like a coconut or a tiki totem, or a local craft beer poured in a branded pint glass with the NSYC’s latitude and longitude. Or grab a couple of straws and down a flaming volcano of Bacardi 151, burning in a bowl of punch decorated by hula dancers in coconut bras and palm trees. Life’s a beach. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-541-0528,

Pearl. Pearl’s, 3520 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum, 513-832-0485,

BEST COVINGTON DIVE With a welcoming, dog-friendly atmosphere, Gypsy’s is perhaps most well known for their fully stocked bar and large craft beer selection on draft or in bottles and cans — you can find a drink special for under $4 any day of the week (including $2 Jameson and $3 drafts). Watch your favorite game on one of several TVs or enjoy their back patio equipped with fire pits and giant Jenga. Karaoke every Wednesday and live music every Thursday and Friday night. Gypsy’s, 641 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-261-0272,

BEST INTERACTIVE THEATER EXPERIENCE These days, movie theaters are always running pre-show commercials telling people to shut up and turn off their phones — if you’re

paying $15 to see a film, it’s common courtesy to put that shit on silent and stop slurping your Coke. But the Esquire Theatre in Clifton has another plan of attack — be loud, real loud, and come in costume. Along with playing host to the quintessential indie cinema Rocky Horror Picture Show experience every other Saturday night, they also screen a series of cult classics and contemporary hits. Recently, after the death of David Bowie, they’ve been doing tribute runs of 1986’s Labyrinth — he played the Goblin King in the film, in case you don’t remember his codpiece, hair or excellent eyebrow game — with costume contests, prizes and special Q&As. They also do frequent sing-alongs to films like White Christmas during the holidays, or Broadway hits like Jesus Christ Superstar. Check their events tab for upcoming interactive shows. Also worth noting —they have an in-house bar to guzzle some liquid courage before cinema karaoke. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-281-8750,


Thank you, Cincinnati, for your continued love, support, and thirst for classic cocktails, craft beers, eclectic foods, and events! We look forward to serving you in 2016! Cheers!

2016 Best of Cincinnati Accolades Japp’s - Best Martini, 4th Best Overall Bar/Lounge The Famous Neon’s Unplugged - 5th Best Overall Bar Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar - 10th Best Overall Bar, Best Neighborhood Bar (NKY), Best Bourbon Cocktail Myrtle’s Punch House - 2nd Best Neighborhood Bar (Central) Melt - Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Central), Best Vegetarian/Vegan, Best Gluten Free Menu, 2nd Best Cheesesteak, 2nd Best Subs (tie), 3rd Best Soups, 3rd Best Salads

Try our 8 great Reubens! ANDERSON


7625 Beechmont Ave • 513-231-5550

5098B Glen Crossing Way • 513-347-9699

800 Elm St • 513-721-4241 612 Main St • 513-241-6246

4766 Red Bank Expressway • 513-376-6008




7905 Mall Road (Next to Starbucks) • 859-525-2333


1965 highland Pike • 859-331-4999

1198 Smiley Ave (At Winton Rd) • 513-825-3888 8179 Princeton-Glendale Rd • 513-942-7800 Across from Beckett Ridge Kroger

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Overall Restaurant 1 / Sotto 2 / Eli’s BBQ 3 / Boca 4 / Jeff Ruby’s Precinct 5 / The Eagle OTR 6 / Dewey’s Pizza 7 / Bakersfield OTR 8 / Incline Public House 9 / Orchids at Palm Court 10 / Taste of Belgium

Neighborhood Restaurant (Downtown/OTR) 1 / The Eagle OTR 2 / Bakersfield OTR 3 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill

Neighborhood Restaurant (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Pompilios 2 / Otto’s 3 / Hofbräuhaus

Neighborhood Restaurant (East side) 1 / Eli’s BBQ 2 / Zip’s Café 3 / Terry’s Turf Club

Neighborhood Restaurant (West side) 1 / Incline Public House 2 / Primavista 3 / Price Hill Chili

Neighborhood Restaurant (Central) 1 / Melt 2 / Taste of Belgium (Corryville) 3 / Ambar India

Neighborhood Restaurant (Northern ’Burbs) 1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / Blue Ash Chili 3 / Montgomery Inn

Appetizers 1 / Bakersfield OTR 2 / Moerlein Lager House 3 / A Tavola

Bagels 1 / Bruegger’s Bagels 2 / Marx Hot Bagels 3 / Panera Bread

Overall Bakery (Breads) 1 / Blue Oven Bakery 2 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 3 / Shadeau Breads

Overall Bakery (Sweets) 1 / The BonBonerie 2 / Holtman’s Donuts 3 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

Neighborhood Bakery (Downtown/OTR) 1 / Holtman’s Donuts 2 / Blue Oven Bakery (Findlay Market) 3 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

Neighborhood Bakery (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 2 / Busken Bakery 3 / Grateful Grahams

Neighborhood Bakery (East side) 1 / The BonBonerie 2 / Servatti Pastry Shop & Deli 3 / Graeter’s

Neighborhood Bakery (West side) 1 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 2 / Graeter’s 3 / Bizy Bee Bakery

Neighborhood Bakery (Central) 1 / O Pie O 2 / Bonomini Bakery 3 / Happy Chicks Bakery

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1 / Holtman’s Donuts (Loveland) 2 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 3 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

Chocolates 1 / Aglamesis Brothers 2 / Esther Price 3 / Maverick Chocolate Company

Cupcakes 1 / Abby Girl Sweets 2 / Gigi’s Cupcakes 3 / The BonBonerie

Donuts 1 / Holtman’s Donuts 2 / Busken Bakery 3 / Krispy Kreme

BarbeCue 1 / Eli’s BBQ 2 / City Barbeque 3 / Montgomery Inn

Beer Selection (Restaurant) 1 / Yard House 2 / Moerlein Lager House 3 / Dutch’s

5 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

Breakfast 1 / First Watch 2 / Sleepy Bee Café 3 / Taste of Belgium

Sunday Brunch 1 / Taste of Belgium 2 / Sleepy Bee Café 3 / First Watch

Neighborhood Burger Spot (Downtown/OTR) 1 / Krueger’s Tavern 2 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3 / Nation Kitchen & Bar

Neighborhood Burger Spot (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers 2 / Mad Mike’s Burgers & Fries 3 / Zola Pub and Grill

Neighborhood Burger Spot (East side) 1 / Terry’s Turf Club 2 / Zip’s Café 3 / Arthur’s

Neighborhood Burger Spot (West side) 1 / Incline Public House 2 / Mad Mike’s Burgers & Fries 3 / Chandler’s Burger Bistro

Neighborhood Burger Spot (Central) 1 / Quatman Café 2 / Gordo’s Pub & Grill 3 / The Rookwood

Neighborhood Burger Spot (Northern ’Burbs) 1 / Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers 2 / Quatman Café (Mason) 3 / Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers & Beer

“Cincinnati Burger Week” Restaurant 1 / Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers 2 / Arthur’s 3 / Nation Kitchen & Bar

Business Lunch 1 / Moerlein Lager House 2 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3 / Nada

Cajun/Soul Food 1 / Knotty Pine on the Bayou 2 / Dee Felice Café 3 / Allyn’s Café

Cheesesteak 1 / Penn Station 2 / Melt 3 / Blue Ash Chili

Chef 1 / Jose Salazar (Salazar, Mita’s) 2 / Jean-Robert de Cavel (Table) 3 / Daniel Wright (Senate, Pontiac Bourbon & BBQ, Abigail Street)

Chicken 1 / The Eagle OTR 2 / Silver Spring House 3 / Revolution Rotisserie


Chili (Chain)

1 / Chipotle 2 / Gomez Salsa 3 / The Comet

1 / Skyline Chili 2 / Gold Star Chili 3 / Dixie Chili

Overall Burgers 1 / Terry’s Turf Club 2 / Zip’s Café 3 / Arthur’s 4 / Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers 5 / Quatman Café 6 / Nation Kitchen & Bar 7 / Gordo’s Pub & Grill 8 / Five Guys Burgers & Fries 9 / Chandler’s Burger Bistro 10 / Bard’s Burgers

t e r ry ’s t u r f c l u b  |  Photo: c a meron k nigh t

Neighborhood Bakery (Northern ’Burbs)

Chili (Non-Chain) 1 / Camp Washington Chili 2 / Blue Ash Chili 3 / Price Hill Chili

Chinese 1 / KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia 2 / PF Chang’s 3 / Oriental Wok

Overall Coffeehouse (Local) 1 / Coffee Emporium 2 / College Hill Coffee Co. 3 / Carabello Coffee

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (Downtown/OTR) 1 / Coffee Emporium 2 / 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab 3 / Collective Espresso

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Carabello Coffee 2 / Reality Tuesday 3 / Roebling Point Books & Coffee

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (East side) 1 / Coffee Emporium 2 / Deeper Roots Coffee 3 / Lookout Joe

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (West side) 1 / BLOC Coffee Company 2 / Aromas Java & Gelato 3 / The Coffee Peddler

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (Central) 1 / College Hill Coffee Company 2 / Collective Espresso (Northside) 3 / Sidewinder

Neighborhood Coffee Shop (Northern ’Burbs) 1 / The Daily Grind 2 / Kidd Coffee & Wine Bar 3 / Coffee Please

Coffeehouse (National) 1 / Starbucks 2 / Dunkin’ Donuts 3 / Panera Bread


Food Festival/Event

1 / Izzy’s 2 / Avril-Bleh & Sons 3 / Jungle Jim’s International Market

1 / Taste of Cincinnati 2 / Oktoberfest 3 / Goettafest

Desserts (Restaurant) 1 / Grand Finale 2 / Taste of Belgium 3 / Sotto

Desserts (Retail) 1 / The BonBonerie 2 / Graeter’s 3 / Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

Farmers Market

Food Delivery Service 1 / Green Bean Delivery 2 / Cincybite 3 / OrderUp

Food Truck 1 / C’est Cheese Cincy 2 / Red Sesame 3 / Hungry Bros.

French Fries

Gluten-Free Selections 1 / Melt 2 / Sleepy Bee Café 3 / Green Dog Café

Guacamole 1 / Bakersfield OTR 2 / Nada 3 / Chipotle

Hot Dog/Sausage 1 / Senate 2 / Eli’s BBQ 3 / Root Beer Stand

Ice Cream 1 / Graeter’s 2 / Aglamesis Brothers 3 / United Dairy Farmers

1 / Findlay Market 2 / Hyde Park Farmers Market 3 / Northside Farmers Market

1 / Senate 2 / Five Guys Burgers & Fries 3 / Penn Station

Farmers Market Food Stall


Gelato/Sorbetto/ Frozen Ice

1 / Hofbräuhaus 2 / Mecklenburg Gardens 3 / Wunderbar

1 / Dojo Gelato 2 / Graeter’s 3 / Madisono’s Gelato


Creamy Whip/ Soft Serve

1 / Blue Oven Bakery 2 / Taste of Belgium 3 / Pho Lang Thang

Local Farm 1 / Carriage House Farm 2 / Gorman Heritage Farm 3 / Burger Farms

1 / Glier’s Goetta 2 / Eckerlin Meats 3 / Anchor Grill

1 / Putz’s Creamy Whip 2 / Dairy Queen 3 / The Cone

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   5 1

Frozen Yogurt 1 / Orange Leaf 2 / Yagööt 3 / United Dairy Farmers

Indian 1 / Ambar India Restaurant 2 / Baba India Restaurant 3 / Dusmesh

Italian 1 / Sotto 2 / Nicola’s 3 / Bella Luna; Pompilios (TIE)

Japanese 1 / Kaze 2 / Fuji Steak House 3 / Ichiban; Quan Hapa (TIE)

Korean 1 / Riverside Korean 2 / Sung Korean Bistro 3 / Red Sesame

Late-Night Eatery 1 / Gomez Salsa 2 / Anchor Grill 3 / Skyline Chili

Live Music While You Eat

Overall Pizza (Non-Chain)

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (West side)

Restaurant for Fine Dining

1 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 2 / MOTR Pub 3 / The Comet

1 / A Tavola 2 / Adriatico’s 3 / Fireside Pizza

1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria 3 / Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru

1 / Boca 2 / Jeff Ruby’s Precinct 3 / Orchids at Palm Court

Mediterranean/ Greek

Overall Pizza (Chain)

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Central)

Restaurant for Large Parties

1 / Andy’s Mediterranean Grill 2 / Aladdin’s Eatery 3 / Sebastian’s Gyros

1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria 3 / Goodfellas Pizzeria

Menu (Most Innovative)

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Downtown/OTR)

1 / Boca 2 / Maribelle’s eat + drink 3 / Tom+Chee

Mexican 1 / Mazunte 2 / Bakersfield OTR 3 / La Mexicana

Outdoor/Patio Dining 1 / Incline Public House 2 / Eli’s BBQ 3 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill

1 / A Tavola 2 / Goodfellas Pizzeria 3 / Lucy Blue

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Goodfellas Pizzeria 2 / Dewey’s Pizza 3 / Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (East side) 1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / A Tavola (Maderia) 3 / Mellow Mushroom

how sweet it is

1 / Adriatico’s 2 / Dewey’s Pizza 3 / Fireside Pizza

1 / Moerlein Lager House 2 / Montgomery Inn 3 / Buca di Bepo

Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Northern ’Burbs)

Restaurant for Your First Date

1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / Mellow Mushroom 3 / LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria

1 / Sotto 2 / Incline Public House 3 / Bakersfield OTR

Pub Food

Restaurant WITH the Best Bang For Your Buck

1 / Arnold’s Bar and Grill 2 / Arthur’s 3 / Oakley Pub & Grill

Raw Bar

1 / Eli’s BBQ 2 / The Eagle OTR 3 / Bakersfield OTR

1 / The Anchor-OTR 2 / Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 3 / Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny

Restaurant to Take a Foodie

Restaurant Design 1 / Taft’s Ale House 2 / Boca 3 / Sotto

to b

1 / Boca 2 / Jean-Robert’s Table 3 / Sotto

ved e lo

Best OVERALL Bakery (Sweets) Best Desserts (Retail) Best Neighborhood Bakery (Eastside) Best Wedding Cakes Best Cupcakes - 3rd

b y yo u ! Thanks CityBeat Readers! 2030 Madison Rd • Cincinnati, OH 45208 5 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

t a f t ’ s a l e ho u s e   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Restaurant to Take the Kids 1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / Eli’s BBQ 3 / Tom+Chee

Restaurant to Take Visitors 1 / Incline Public House 2 / Moerlein Lager House 3 / Montgomery Inn Boathouse

New Restaurant (Since March 2015)

1 / Taft’s Ale House 2 / Mita’s 3 / Frida 602 4 / Nation Kitchen & Bar 5 / Revolution Rotisserie & Bar 6 / Northside Yacht Club 7 / Forno Osteria+Bar 8 / Tela bar + kitchen 9 / Bru Burger Bar 10 / E+O Kitchen

Romantic Restaurant 1 / Sotto 2 / Primavista 3 / Orchids at Palm Court

Salads 1 / Dewey’s Pizza 2 / Ingredients 3 / Melt





1 / Pho Lang Thang 2 / Panera 3 / Melt

1 / Gomez Salsa 2 / Eli’s BBQ 3 / LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria

1 / Pho Lang Thang 2 / Cilantro 3 / Song Long


View From Your Table

Specialty Food Market 1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / Findlay Market 3 / Trader Joe’s

Subs/Sandwiches 1 / Penn Station 2 / Jersey Mike’s; Melt (TIE) 3 / Blue Ash Chili; Izzy’s (TIE)

Steakhouse 1 / Jeff Ruby’s Precinct 2 / Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 3 / Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny


1 / The Anchor-OTR 2 / Bonefish; Mitchell’s Fish Market (TIE) 3 / Pappadeaux

1 / Cloud 9 Sushi 2 / Kaze 3 / Ichiban

Smoothie/Juice Bar


1 / Off the Vine 2 / Rooted Juicery + Kitchen 3 / Smoothie King

1 / Bakersfield OTR 2 / Mazunte 3 / Gomez Salsa

1 / Abigail Street 2 / Nada 3 / Mita’s

1 / Incline Public House 2 / Primavista 3 / Moerlein Lager House

Thai 1 / Thai Express 2 / Green Papaya 3 / Lemon Grass


Under-the-Radar Restaurant 1 / Incline Public House 2 / Mazunte 3 / Maribelle’s eat + drink

Waterfront Dining 1 / Moerlein Lager House 2 / Montgomery Inn Boathouse 3 / Chart House

Veggie Burger 1 / Green Dog Café 2 / Park + Vine 3 / Arthur’s

Wine Selection

Vegetarian/Vegan Selection 1 / Melt 2 / Green Dog Café; Loving Hut (TIE) 3 / Park + Vine

1 / Jeff Ruby’s Precinct 2 / Boca; Sotto (TIE) 3 / Dewey’s Pizza; Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (TIE)

1 / 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab 2 / Cooper’s Hawk 3 / 20 Brix

Wings 1 / Knockback Nat’s 2 / Buffalo Wild Wings 3 / Wild Mike’s

BEsT SEAF Fo OD Thank you from the bottom of the sea!

2014 2015 2016

theanchor –

photos by Gina Weathersby

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   5 3



OPEN M-Su 11a.M.- 9P.M.

fINDlaY MaRKET 133 W ElDER ST. Carry Out Only

Thanks for Voting us: #1 BBQ, #1 Neighborhood Restaurant (Eastside), #1 Restaurant for the Bang for Your Buck, #2 Overall Restaurant, #2 Hot Dog/Sausage, #2 Outdoor/Patio Dining, #2 Takeout, #2 Restaurant to Take the Kids, #3 Catering Service

m e t r o p o l e ’ s ch a r c u t e r i e bo a r d   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

EATS // STAFF PICKS BEST BAR CHARCUTERIE Charcuterie: a fun word to say and a fun snack to eat. And many local gastro-bars are expanding their eats options beyond free nuts and popcorn by offering an elevated meat-and-cheese board. This includes Metropole. Yes, the Metropole is a restaurant inside the 21c Museum Hotel, but it’s also a swanky bar and lounge where you can order a charcuterie board alongside your craft cocktail, picking from a selection of three to five snacks. Mix and match duck breast ham and other smoked meats with artisanal cheese; hot olives, which spend time in the restaurant’s custom wood-burning fireplace; a seven-hour egg, boiled with coffee, tea and onion; or seared radishes with dill. All are served automatically with toast, truffle honey and smoked grapes — which are divine. The grapes are shriveled-ish but still soft, with a hint of hickory. The first one you eat is kind of weird, but then you’ll slap everyone’s hands away so you can finish the rest of the bunch. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660,

BEST BITE-SIZED BAKING CLASS Taren Kinebrew specializes in tiny treats at her aptly named shop, Sweet Petit Desserts — macarons, chocolate-covered strawberries, petit fours, even layered cake push-pops. And while the third-generation baker and her team whip up sweets for the shop and special events, they can also teach you how to do it. Call to sign up for the next scheduled class or grab a group and book a private class for up to six people. After learning all her baking secrets, they send you home with a kit so you can recreate the miniature magic. Sweet Petit Desserts, 1426

Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-443-5094,

BEST SOFT SERVE AND COFFEE COMBO An affogato is an Italian dessert featuring a scoop of ice cream or gelato drowned in espresso. And Old Milford Parlor creamy whip in historic downtown Milford is one of the few places in town where you can get both a cup of good java and the soft-serveand-coffee combo. Their version of an affogato decadently combines cold-brew coffee, soft serve and chocolate espresso crumbles, and their Java Whip blends cold brew, milk

and soft serve into a milkshake. Unlike owner Nick Ganim’s parents’ legendary Mount Washington Creamy Whip, Old Milford is open year-round, and not just in summer. Old Milford Parlor, 119 Main St., Milford, 513239-5704,

BEST SPOT TO FIND THE ELUSIVE PAWPAW FRUIT DIRT, a year-round retail store selling locally grown and made goods, opened last year at Findlay Market. One of the seasonal items they sold was pawpaw, a mango-like fruit ubiquitous to Ohio but difficult to find unless you know which woods to forage though.

Luckily, North Bend’s Carriage House Farm has a lot of pawpaw trees and brought the literal fruits of their labor to DIRT during the pawpaw’s peak month of September. Finally, a simple solution to satisfying a craving for pawpaw salsa. DIRT at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-518-2875,

BEST NEW ITERATION OF FRENCH FRIES The Gruff in Covington is a three-fold concept: a gourmet market/deli, a bar and a pizzeria/restaurant, all working in tandem and owned by husband-and-wife duo Kristin and Avram Steuber. The name comes from the Norwegian folk tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the colorful interior and exterior murals (by local design firm BLDG) reinforce the story — the floor is painted like grass, the exterior brick wall features three yellow goats on a green background and excerpts from the fairytale are written above the bar. In terms of food, find local and artisan deli items, brick-oven pizzas and hot sandwiches. And, for an upcharge, you can turn B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   5 5

f r ida 6 0 2  |  Photo: k hoi n gu y en

BEST ALTERNATIVE USE OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS Seems like every year we’re extolling the greatness of this or that restaurant’s preparation of caramelized Brussels sprouts, like the ones at Boca or Maribelle’s eat + drink (topped with a lovely sunny-side-up egg). This year, we’re forging a new route and obsessing over the sprouts at Frida 602. MainStrasse’s Mexican eatery and mezcal bar features the green veg in their Brussels sprout taco, a vegetarian option with seared sprouts, chick peas and smoked peanut salsa. An incredibly unique take on your standard beans-and-cheese option and incredibly tasty. Also a must: a tequila and mezcal flight served in little clay copitas. Frida 602, 602 Main St., Covington, 859-815-8736,

your sandwich side (usually an in-house deli salad) into fries of the waffle or pickle variety. Yes, pickle fries. The Gruff deep-fries strips of pickles and serves them with garlic dill sauce. They are crispy and tangy with a perfect thick and crunchy coating. The Gruff, 129 E. Second St., Covington, Ky., 859-5810040,

BEST THOUGHTFULLY SOURCED LOCAL MEATS Cozy and creative farm-to-table Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar puts a twist on classic dishes and offers a constantly rotating menu. Browse an extensive wine list (more than 60 bottle and glass selections) while drooling over the current carnivorous offerings prepared by chef Stephen Williams. His ethically sourced meats are found in both small plates and entrées like local goat, lamb and red wattle pork. Bouquet’s website even features area farms from which its meat is provided, exemplifying the idea stated at the top of the page: “Know your farmer. Know your food.” Local providers include Madison’s Produce, Hood’s Heritage Hogs, Woodland Farm, Butcher Betties and many more. Bouquet Restaurant and Wine

Bar, 519 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-4917777,

BEST INSTAGRAM FEED FOR EPICUREANS Please, the culinary brainchild of chef Ryan Santos, has transitioned from an underground dinner party to a sanctioned monthly multi-course meal to a soon-to-be restaurant on 14th and Clay streets, opening this summer. While waiting for Santos to launch his 25-seat eatery, check out his Instagram feed @pleasecinci to get your fix of beautifully plated meals — those he makes for public dinners as well as those he enjoys on his travels, which take him everywhere from new American classics like The Ordinary restaurant in Charleston and Niche in St. Louis to kitchens in Europe and Scandinavia. You also get behindthe-scenes peeks at restaurant progress, process photos for dish ingredients like his homemade barley shio koji and shout-outs to local farmers and food artisans, plus reviews of craft beer and good wine. It’s a nice way to scroll and waste an hour drooling before workday lunch. Please, @pleasecinci,

Some of the best brunch, homemade Italian, pizza, sandwiches and vegetarian options in the area! 20 different beers, 15 different wines and full bar! 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, 18”, 24” and yes 28” pizzas B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   5 7

t i c k l e p i c k l e   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x


3516 Edwards Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45208 - Hyde Park - 513-871-5543 8221 Beechmont Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45255 - Anderson - 513-388-0152

Burger joint Tickle Pickle resides in the Rock & Roll neighborhood of Northside. And the restaurant’s succulently spiced bites double-down on that fact with punny music-themed names, like the Grateful Shred pulled pork barbecue burger, the Nom Petty mushroom and Swiss burger and the Bread Zeppelin, with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup. Finish your melodious meal with a Flan Halen strawberry shortcake shake, Dark Side of the Moon sundae or James Brownie chocolate brownie shake. It’s all reasonably priced, with additional vegan and vegetarian options, and makes for a cute date night with tables housed outside under a tent decorated with lights. Tickle Pickle, 4176 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-9544003,


DeliciOuS & Petit BuRSting with FlavOR

1426 Race St. • Over-the-Rhine • 513-443-5094 •

1426 Race St. • Over-the-Rhine • 513-443-5094 •

new BaKing claSSeS  ...with take home baking kit! 5 8   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

It can’t always be Rio Grande or Cancun! El Jinete’s mouthwatering margaritas are served in a glass nearly the size of your head. Pick frozen or on the rocks — both margaritas are perfectly tart and dangerously smooth. A word of advice: a medium glass is the big-as-your-head size previously referred to; large is approaching fish-bowl status. Make sure not to sip too quickly — you’ll want to be able to properly taste your food when it arrives. The menu is filled with authentic dishes like the filling and cravable Burrito El Barzon, filled with chicken, shrimp, steak, beans and onions and topped with chorizo, pineapple and melted cheese. El Jinete, multiple locations including 10780 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-2472272,

BEST CYCLONES OFF THE ICE Since 1965, Flub’s has been serving up Italian ice, sherbets and creamy whips to hungry customers in Butler County. Originally purchased by George and Louise Waggonfield, the couples’ sons worked at the “dari-

ette” to pay their way through school; the youngest expanded the business, and today it continues to serve creative and addicting family recipes. The stars of the menu are Cyclones, 35 homemade flavors that mix ice cream or creamy whip with a variety of additions and toppings. Try Olivia’s Blue Moo, which begins with vanilla creamy whip and is mixed with marshmallow topping, cookie dough and blue raspberry syrup, or Danny’s Delight, which has a vanilla ice cream base that is dipped in chocolate, covered with caramel and topped off with homemade whipped topping and waffle cone chunks. Flub’s, 997 Eaton Ave., Hamilton, 513-8966696; 539 Wessel Drive, Fairfield, 513-9393582,

BEST WAY TO REPRESENT CINCY’S CHILI HERITAGE (AND CATS) If you’re ever imbibing at Blank Slate Pourhouse and decide you need a snack to pair with your Fork in the Road brew, lucky for you, Purrfectly Popped sells an assortment of popcorns, including a Cincinnati chili and cheese one, made with spices similar to



Your praise

is music to

our ears. CityBeat’s 2016 Best of Cincinnati Awards TOP TEN OVERALL RESTAURANT IN CINCINNATI #6 #1 Overall Pizza (Chain) #1 Best Salads #1 Neighborhood Restaurant (Northern ’Burbs) #1 Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Eastside, Westside, and Northern ’Burbs) #1 Restaurant to Take The Kids


d a n j e n s e n  |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Our FAvOriteS

Burgers and Chicken Sandwiches, Catered to your office or dine in at our cafe!


BEST PLACE TO EAT A HOT DOG WITH YOUR DOG Mason’s Lucky Dog Grille has dog-gone good food for you and your canine companion. Really. The restaurant features a “Lucky Dog Doggie Menu” which includes chopped chicken breast, chopped steak, a quarterpound burger, hot dogs and — for dessert — doggie yogurt. Pups do have to remain on the patio, however, so plan to visit on a day with warmer weather and a lack of precipitation. Humans can choose from hearty sandwiches, pizzas, wings and specialty sides

Hammstein: Beef burger, pretzel bun, sour kraut, swiss, bacon, 1000 island dressing

Grateful Shred: Shredded pulled pork BBQ, pretzel bun, spicy slaw and grilled onion

Nom Petty: Beef burger, bun, shrooms, swiss and mayo

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Beef burger, bun, grilled onions and peppers, jalapeno goat cheese stuffed peppers, pepper jack cheese, spicy ketchup and mayo Meatallica: Beef burger, bun, bacon, egg, american cheese, mayo Bread Zeppelin: Beef burger, bun, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo, and ketchup

The Eagles: Grilled chicken, bun, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickle Rob Zomwich: Beef burger, pretzel bun, cheddar cheese, banana peppers, green peppers, onions, jalapeno poppers, hot sauce, and spicy ketchup ALL burgers come with spicy slaw

4176 Hamilton Ave. 45223

You know the phrase, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?” That takes on a slightly different meaning when talking about Dan Jensen, one of the current chefs at Fresh Table in Findlay Market and soon to be at The Counter in the Epicurean Mercantile, Fresh Table’s forthcoming urban grocery store on Race (across from the market house). The market — opening later this year — will offer food, dry goods and hopefully wine and beer to meet all of the OTR community’s price points. They’ll be open until 8 or 9 p.m., extending market hours in the area, and will participate in SNAP and EBT programs. They’ll also be serving small plates and entrées via the in-house The Counter all day. And with Jensen, a former UC baseball pitcher and minor leaguer standing at 6-foot-8 manning the stove, there will be more than one reason to spend some extra time browsing the dairy section (i.e. to cool down because he’s hot). The Epicurean Mercantile, 1818 Race St., Over-the-Rhine,

those in Gold Star Chili. It’s addicting, and tastes better than anything you’ll order from the chili establishment itself. Run by cat-loving/popcorn-loving West Chester husband and wife Kara Caudell and Stephen Brown, other unique flavors include bloody mary, garlic cheesy bread and margarita. You can also purchase popcorn online, at farmers markets or various festivals. Purrfectly Popped,

Buns N Roses: Vegan black bean burger, vegan seeded bun, onion, tomato, lettuce, pickle & sauce

(including creamy, filling and beyond-satisfying mac and cheese) and imbibe from an extensive rotating beer list. Lucky Dog Grille, 729 Reading Road, Mason, 513-204-5825, search “Lucky Dog Grille” on Facebook.

BEST LOCAL MALT VINEGAR MASTER Justin Dean has his vinegar-making process down to a sustainable science. He uses the leftover wort (liquid extracted from the beer-brewing process) from MadTree and other local breweries to produce his smallbatch artisanal Madhouse malt vinegar out of North Bend’s Carriage House Farm. And his two-step fermentation method allows Madhouse to infuse these raw vinegars with experimental flavors like chive blossom, Deeper Roots coffee and bourbon barrelaged varieties. These are some of the best acetic acids on the market — Chocolats Latour uses Dean’s malt vinegar to make chocolates and local chefs are beginning to catch on. Madhouse Vinegar Company,


Voted BEST INDIAN for 15 Years

350 Ludlow • 513-281-7000 Additional Parking Available in Clifton Business Lot (next to IGA)

Voted BEST INDIAN #2 in 2016

3120 Madison Rd • 513-321-1600 B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   6 1

ch i m e r a s h r u b s   |   P h o t o : h a i l e y b o l l i n g e r

Eat Like You’re on Vacation Healthy New Menu Treats!

Seasoned Black Bean Burger Tropical Salad Apple, Walnut & Goat Cheese Salad Spicy Black Bean & Corn Salad Mango/Pineapple Slaw

& Sinful Sweets! Mini Mojito Cheese Cakes Café Tres Leches Sweet Plantain Egg Rolls

133 E. Court St. Cincinnati, OH

BEST LOCALS JUMPING ON A COCKTAIL TREND Everything old is new again. Shrubs, fruity old-fashioned drinking vinegars, are the next big thing in artisanal cocktail making. Plenty of bars — like Metropole, Calle Cantina and any of the Wellmann’s Brands bars — make their own shrubs, but local husband-and-wife duo company Chimera Shrubs makes it so you can create craft cocktails at home. Their bottled shrubs are made with unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar and come in flavors including Hibiscus Honey, Ginger Lemongrass and Honey Lemon. The minimally processed vinegars are cold-pressed for complexity and flavor, and contain an active mother (a tiny bacteria and cellulose pod) — for those of you who are into fermentation. The suggested ratio for a cocktail is 1 to 2 oz. of shrub to your favorite alcohol. You can also add them to soda water to create homemade soda. Chimera Shrubs,

2872 Lawrenceburg Road, North Bend,

BEST USE OF A SLUSH PUPPIE MACHINE Chef and restaurateur Daniel Wright opened his bourbon-and-barbecue restaurant Pontiac in OTR last year, a middle-brow take on Southern food. Behind the bar, they have a two-flavor Slush Puppie machine (did you know the Slush Puppie was invented in Cincinnati?), but instead of concocting a kid’s drink, they pour Old Smokey moonshine and lemon juice into a grape Slush Puppie and call it Purple Drink (Purple Drank?). It’ll take you back to grabbing a frozen slushie from 7-Eleven and pouring booze into it yourself, except Pontiac does it fancier. Pontiac, 1403 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-579-8500,

BEST SURPRISINGLY GOOD CASINO DESSERT Casinos are sort of synonymous with overpriced buffets of crab legs, prime rib and 6 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

run-of-the-mill cheesecake. But Belterra Park, located next to Riverbend, has surprisingly good (and affordable) in-house restaurants like Nosh, which happens to specialize in sweets. Stop in to try their homemade gelato, fresh pastries or chocolate raspberry cake; it’s less than $5 a slice and is made with a crunchy pretzel crust, layered raspberry coulis and chocolate. Besides the cake, Nosh also offers sandwiches and coffee to keep you awake so you can play Gremlins and bet on horse races. You’re already indulging in gambling, so why not indulge in dessert? Belterra Park, 6301 Kellogg Road, Anderson, 513-232-8000,

BEST BUILT-IN BABYSITTER AT A RESTAURANT Let’s face it: kids aren’t always well-behaved while going out to eat. Restaurants can be loud, cramped and lacking in child-friendly meals. That’s where Dewey’s Pizza comes in. This chain not only serves up a wide variety of pies like traditional cheese for the tots


Drink Local, Get Social at the Banks

3105 Price Ave.

101 E Freedom Way •

Best of awards Neighborhood Restaurant (Westside) #1 Outdoor/Patio Dining #1 Top 10 Overall Restaurant #8 Neighborhood Burger Spot (Westside) #1 Restaurant for Your First Date #2 Restaurant to Take Visitors #1 Under the Radar Restaurant #1 View From Your Table #1

Cozy’ s Cottage...

a quaint restaurant with a fresh vibe

ing: Garden-to-table din grow we serve what we ith Cocktails crafted w d locally whimsical detail an brewed beer tdoor u o e id s re fi e th y jo En dining and patio

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 11:30am - 10:00pm Friday & Saturday 11:30am - 11:00pm Sunday 9:30am - 3pm - Brunch

6456 Cincinnati Dayton Rd, Liberty Township, OH 45044 (513) 644-9365

a m e r i c a n o b u r g e r b a r  |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Voted “Best of Cincinnati” 15 Years in a Row

16 Craft Beers • Lebanese Wine • Entertainment on Weekends LAMB SHANK • LAMB KABOB • SHRIMP • SCALLOPS



Unhinge your jaw, undo your belt and throw your Fitbit out the window. Being an adult at Americano Burger Bar is seriously delicious with their giant, flawlessly prepared burgers, astonishing onion rings and adult beverage-spiked milkshakes. The new burger joint from chef Christian Pietso (Via Vite) features an eclectic mix of American classics, tinged with international flavors. Burger toppings range from standard lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on the Americano to Grippo’s, slaw and pulled pork on the Southern BBQ. There’s an American flag installation on the ceiling made with domestic beer cans, 50-cent wings on Wednesdays and $5 burgers on Tuesdays. And the most American of all is combining vices into boozy milkshakes, with vanilla, chocolate or strawberry frozen custard featuring everything from bourbon cream to amaretto. So good. It’s time to leave the drive-through stuff to the actual kids. Americano Burger Bar, 545 Race St., Downtown, 513-345-6677,

and gourmet options like Ryan’s Inferno with gorgonzola and chicken for Mom and Dad, they also have large windows to see into the kitchen, allowing guests to watch their pizzas being made. Kids are encouraged to watch as cooks roll and hand-toss dough, add ingredients and put the finished product in the oven; adults are more than welcome, too. It helps make a wait for a Friday-night table at the hip pizzeria more bearable for all parties involved. Dewey’s Pizza, multiple locations including 3014 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-7755,

BEST LATE-NIGHT COOKIE MONSTER Craving a sugar rush at 2 a.m.? Insomnia Cookies to the rescue. The shop’s heroic employees deliver warm, gooey cookies right to your door, every day of the week until 3 a.m. Mix and match flavors like triple chocolate chunk, s’mores, double chocolate mint, snickerdoodle and white chocolate

macadamia nut. If you’re hankering for something more specific, create your own concoction by adding toppings like M&Ms, walnuts and Snickers. You can even order ice cream by the pint or quart. Insomnia Cookies, 216 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 877-632-6654,

BEST VEGAN POTLUCKS WHERE YOU’LL LEARN A THING OR TWO Formerly known as EarthSave Cincinnati, VeganEarth, an all-volunteer nonprofit, strives to teach healthy, sustainable and compassionate ways of eating and living. Every month, the organization hosts a vegan potluck, inviting foodies to contribute dishes free of all animal products (dairy, eggs, casein and honey). The potlucks frequently host panels, during which guest speakers discuss a variety of Earth-friendly topics like maintaining a raw plant-based diet. You don’t have to be vegan to get involved —



#1 Tacos Appetizers Guacamole #2 Mexican Neighborhood Restaurant ( Downtown/OTR ) #3 Restaurant for your First Date Restaurant for the Best Bang for your Buck


#1 Chicken #1 Neighborhood Restaurant (Downtown/OTR) #2 Restaurant for the Best Bang for your Buck


#1 Neighborhood Burger Spot (Downtown/OTR)

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5 3 t co u r i e r co - f o u n d e r i a n b u l l i n g   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x


Voted top three in Best Beer selection (Restaurant)

Beer Isn't Just a Libation, It's an Ingredient on Our Menu!

Happy Hour Every Tuesday-Friday from 5-6pm & Saturday-Sunday from 3-5pm Draft Pours are Only $2.95! (Selections $7 & under) Come Try our award-Winner Curried Beef Short rib poutine! 6 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

There’s nothing worse than craving a certain dish in the middle of the workday — and then realizing you’re either too busy or too lazy to walk to get it. That’s where 53T Courier comes in. This bike courier service specializes in food delivery, making it possible for your favorite eats to be brought right to your office in about 45 minutes or less (depending on how many different places the CityBeat staff has ordered from that day; sorry). Based in Over-the-Rhine, 53T and their friendly team of couriers serve the entire downtown area. Visit their website to choose from restaurant clients including Happy Belly on Vine, Pho Lang Thang, Cheapside Café, HalfCut, Park + Vine and MOTR Pub; they’ll also deliver up to four unsealed beverages including coffee and tea. 53T Courier,

these events are all about learning and bringing the community together (and, of course, eating). Frequently held at Clifton United Methodist Church, 3416 Clifton Ave., Clifton,

Crawfish boils sell out fast, so make sure to check or call ahead before driving over. Mardi Gras on Madison, 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, mardigrasmad.



Laissez les bons temps rouler! Mardi Gras on Madison puts its customers smack-dab in the middle of New Orleans, offering a variety of traditional dishes like étouffée, shrimp and grits, bloody marys made with king cake vodka and an okra garnish and their droolworthy, seasonal crawfish boils. Owners Latoya “Toya” Foster and her husband Randy have roots in NOLA and opened Cajun/Creole food truck New Orleans to Go to serve authentic po’boys to family who moved to the city after Hurricane Katrina. The wild success of the food truck led to Mardi Gras on Madison, a 70-seat East Walnut Hills eatery bedecked in fleur-de-lis and Saints football memorabilia. Search “Mardi Gras on Madison” on Facebook for menu updates; this is a “homearaunt,” not a restaurant, meaning that hours and menu selections frequently vary.

Sometimes the worst-looking restaurants are often diamonds in the rough. And Stone Bowl’s somewhat slapdash appearance really does belie its tasty food. The mostly Korean menu — sometimes there’s sushi — offers up delicious pancakes, ramen and rice dishes, including a steamy bibimbap, with lettuce, sweet radish, zucchini, spinach, carrot, bean sprouts and a fried egg, served in a sizzling stone bowl with your choice of protein and a side of Korean banchan. It’s the perfect family-friendly fare — if you can keep small fingers off of the piping-hot stone bowls. Stone Bowl, 3355 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-9600,

BEST 85-CENT CUP OF COFFEE Driving down Blue Rock Street in Northside can feel like a blast from the past — there’s

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Waterfront Dining Business Lunch Restaurant for Large Parties 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 (513) 421-2337

• breakfast • brunch • lunch • happy hour • late nite • 39 craft beers on tap

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b r e a k f a s t n a cho s a t E + o K i t ch e n  |   P h o t o : c at i e v i o x

DEPOT BARBECUE Now Open! In the Historic Madeira Train Depot Ready to be Best of Cincinnati™ 2017 Not Your Usual Barbecue Joint! Wines & 30+ Beers Live Music Every Sat 7pm

7701 Railroad Avenue, Madeira 45243 513.271.1234 • depot b Open Daily at 11 AM


With its large living plant wall, a Latin-Asian menu and Tyler Shields’ photographs decorating the space, the new E+O Kitchen off Hyde Park Square is where East Side foodies can feel trendy again in their own part of town. Sorry, Over-the-Rhine. In fact, the kale and Brussels sprout salad is worth a drive from downtown. As is brunch, featuring multiple selections from the dinner menu, plus egg nachos (red eye gravy, scrambled eggs, salsa and steak) and ethnic spins on classic dishes: pancakes with yuzu curd, toast ramen and loco moco with Spam fried rice. They also have a brunch cocktail featuring avocado, in case your love for the little, mushy green superfood extends beyond guacamole. E+O Kitchen, 3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-832-1023,

a park and century-old homes on one side, a locksmith and shabby warehouses on the other. If you drive too fast you might miss the glowing neon sign that reads “BONOMINI BAKERY.” (Even if you see it, you might assume it’s closed.) Step through Bonomini’s doors, though, and you’ll be transported back in time a decade or two, either by the prices (85-cent large coffee in a Styrofoam cup), the processes (handwritten to-go orders clipped to metal hooks) or the friendly employees who seem to know every other customer by name. Formerly Blue Rock Bakery, the business has been in the Bonomini family since the 1970s, but it’s been around much longer than that. Join the regulars in the morning for a donut run or stop in for your next holiday treat. Bonomini Bakery, 1677 Blue Rock St., Northside, 513-541-7501.

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD WORTH THE HIKE Fabulous Lebanese food in a Mason strip mall? Really? Yes. We were skeptical, too, until we were dragged out to Phoenician Taverna for a friend’s birthday party, and our

eyes were opened wide. Perfectly executed meze (small plates) both hot and cold are the way we like to go for a large group. Order a bunch and pass them around. Try the baba ghanouge, a smoky eggplant dip; the labneh, a yogurt dip; and any of the shawarma, rotisserie meat in your choice of lamb, beef or chicken. If you’re on a carbfree diet, this is your night to cheat — the flat bread here is to die for. Phoenician Taverna, 7944 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, 513-770-0027,


Thank You for Voting Us Best Neighborhood Pizza AGAIN!

BEST CHEAP EATS THAT AREN’T FROM TACO BELL For those craving a cheap meal but who are tired of Taco Bell (man cannot live on quesalupas alone), Caribe Carryout in Corryville offers up real-deal spicy empanadas and Caribbean stews for less than $4 a piece. The handmade empanadas come in nine different filling options, with vegetarian and seafood choices, and the stews are bursting with flavor — the coconut-curry chicken stew is as sweet as Caribe owner Basil Balian himself, who bases his recipes off those he learned from a Puerto Rican woman he was

Dine In, Carryout, and Delivery 40 Local Beers on Tap


113 W. McMillan • Clifton Mon-Thu 11am-1:30am • Fri-Sat 11am-2:30am • Sun 11am-12:30am B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   6 9

o p i e o s e r v e s s w e e t a n d s a v o r y p i e s   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

AVRIL-BLEH & SONS MEAT MARKET AND DELI MEAT 33 East Court Street, Cincinnati, oh 45202 DELI 37 east court street, Cincinnati, oh 45202 MEAT 513.241.2433 • DELI 513.241.2333 Butcher Shop Butcher Shop 2nd Delicatessen

2nd delicatessen

Go Where the Locals Go! Best Wine anD Beer seleCtion live entertainMent inventive aMeriCan Cuisine BY PHiliP kurtz


“Date night Done right” as featured by Yelp “What a perfect date spot! it couldn’t have been better for a night out. Cozy atmosphere, extensive and diverse menu for everyone to enjoy, live music (not too loud), friendly service, and great wine!” -erin k

Celebrating our 20th year in the Mariemont Strand in 2016! We Put the Fun Back into Contemporary Casual Dining! 6818 Wooster Pk. MarieMont, oH 45227 513-561-5233 | Call for reservations 7 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m


Findlay Market’s cleverly named O Pie O finally opened a café in East Walnut Hills last year, offering a full menu of soups, quiche, empanadas and, of course, delectable pies. Occasionally, they’ll bake matcha pie, made from powdered high-in-antioxidants Japanese matcha green tea leaves, which have 137 times the amount of antioxidants than boring ol’ green tea. The fern-colored filling tucked inside a buttery crust is also dusted with turmeric powder, a natural anti-inflammatory. Not only is the pie delicious, but it is also somewhat healthy… right? O Pie O, 1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-274-3238,

married to for 35 years. If you’re indecisive, go with a Super Combo: two flavors of stew and two empanadas for $8.50. Caribe Carryout, 2605 Vine St., Corryville, 513-221-1786,

BEST VISUAL EDIBLES Local food and lifestyle photographer Gina Weathersby is a fixture of the Cincinnati culinary scene. She frequently photographs chefs and their dishes — as well as her own meals, travels and other photo-styling adventures — for calendars, websites and print publications and as fodder for her lust-worthy Instagram feed (@gina_weathersby). Find highly textural and beautifully raw portraits of local chefs like David Cook, Jose Salazar and Jimmy Gibson; fresh-fromthe-garden fruits and veggies; multi-hued desserts and cocktails; thoughtful still lifes; and intricate flooring. She’s also currently photographing the upcoming Contemporary Arts Center coffee-table cookbook project, Cuisine, Art & Cocktails. Inside, you’ll find cocktails, original recipes, wine pairings and more from Cincinnati chefs and mixologists, inspired by provocative works of contemporary art. Gina Weathersby, @gina_weathersby;

BEST REASON TO CROSS THE RIVER FOR BRUNCH Bellevue Bistro is one of those places that you wish there were more of: a small neighborhood café where the food is made from scratch, the coffee is worth having three cups and the service is efficient and friendly. The super-cozy eatery specializes in brunch bakes, burritos, sweets, savories and six different types of benedicts — choices like Kentucky Hot Brown, Spicy Mett and Veggie Benny (sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, cheddar jack) served over biscuits, with two fried eggs and homemade sauce. For lunchier choices, there are sandwiches served on pretzel or French bread, salads and soup, plus a devious homemade bacon jam. Bellevue Bistro, 312 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Ky., 859-581-5600,

BEST BACON-AND-EGGS RESURRECTION In July of last year, the kitchen of OTR’s favorite diner Tucker’s was destroyed in an overnight fire, effectively closing the restaurant. Owners Joe and Carla Tucker (Joe’s parents opened Tucker’s in 1957) and friends have been holding fundraisers all year to help


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join the

counter-culture at

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made fresh daily Hopple and Colerain Avenue

5230 Beechmont Ave (Formerly Los Portales) (513) 231-2300


6475 E Galbraith Rd (513) 813-3079

“One of the top 10 chili parlors in the country.”

CityBeat Readers



6121 Harrison Ave (Formerly Gran Fiesta) (513) 574-2164


4920 Socialville-Foster Rd (513) 229-0595

Closed Sundays

–Bon Appetit Magazine


4476 Glen Este-Withamsville Rd (Across from Meijer) (513) 752-9900

Middletown 6601 Terhune Dr (513) 705-0454

Sharonville 11765 Lebanon Rd (513) 733-1310

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Join us


...for a unique dining experience with authentic cuisine, sizzling bbq, and unbeatable ambiance. sung korean bistro: a true downtown original


M-F 4:30-6:30pm

1/2 OFF Pricing Monday - Saturday 4:30 PM - 10 PM

N O W Ava i l a b l e f o r D e l i v e r y o n O r d e r U P. c o m 700 ELM STREET- DOWNTOWN • (513) 721- 7864 (SUNG)   • w w 7 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

co l o n e l d e s t e w a r t o f co l o n e l d e ’ s g o u r m e t h e r b s & s p i c e s   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

chef-driven pub grub • artisan wine • craft beer • hand-crafted cocktails 1212 Springfield Pike • Cincinnati, OH 45215 • (513) 821-8352 (TELA)


Findlay Market’s Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices has been tantalizing taste buds for a decade, spicing up the kitchens of local home cooks and restaurant chefs alike with a creative and masterful collection of more than 500 herbs, spices, rubs and blends. Spiceman and owner of Colonel De’s, Colonel De Stewart — “the man, the myth, the mustache” — is celebrating his 10-year milestone by adding a new line of barbecue sauces, marinades and hot sauces to his ever-growing inventory, which will be produced in his new facility in Fort Thomas. The Fort Thomas shop, which will also boast a retail and teaching area, comes in addition to his Findlay Market location and shops in the Friendly Market in Florence, Ky. and Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate. Can’t stop the Colonel. Colonel De’s Gourmet Herbs & Spices, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-4800,

with repairs, hosting dinners in the St. Francis Seraph School featuring home-cooked menu favorites like goetta, BLTs, huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, burgers, pancakes and more. And it’s finally paid off: Tucker’s will start serving again on July 25, just in time for the famous Vine Street establishment’s 70th anniversary and nearly to the day of the fateful blaze. Thankfully, regulars and newbies alike can look forward to taking a seat at the bar, watching Joe cook the line, and relish in the resurrection of a piece of Cincinnati history. Tucker’s Restaurant, 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-7123, facebook. com/tuckersrestaurantotr.

BEST TASTE OF CINCINNATI OUTSIDE OF the TASTE OF CINCINNATI The Taste of OTR summertime festival welcomes food trucks and hip restaurants to Washington Park, proving that you can’t go wrong with live music, local beer and the warmth that comes from being surrounded by local vendors — or the warmth of neighbors helping neighbors. The Taste of OTR

benefits Over-the-Rhine nonprofit Tender Mercies, which provides homeless adults living with mental illness a home to build a sense of security, dignity and community. So while you enjoy eats from vendors like Dojo Gelato, Eli’s BBQ, Cincy by the Slice, Le’s Pho & Sandwiches, MOTR Pub, Kaze, Revolution Rotisserie, Taste of Belgium and Washington Platform, you can feel good about pigging out. Tender Mercies, 27 W. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-8666,

BEST TREND BRINGING OTR TO THE ’BURBS Successful Cincinnati restaurants are multiplying like rabbits, turning themselves into small local chains with second locations, third locations and even fourth locations (if you’re Taste of Belgium or Macaron Bar). Last year, Taste of Belgium added a Rookwood location to its expanding empire, which already boasts eateries in Findlay Market, OTR and Corryville. And Macaron Bar’s reach, which launched out of its cute OTR kitchen, now offers tasty and colorful B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   7 3

a t r i o o f C h é ’ s e m p a n a d a s   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Craft Beer - Artisanal Menu - Fine Wine Tuesday-Thursday 11AM-10PM Friday-Saturday 11AM-12AM Live Music Wine & Beer Tastings The Best “Martyrita” in Town 6110 hamilton ave 45224 513-681-4222

1st. c’Est cHEEsE 2nd. rEd sEsamE 3rd. HungrY Bros.

congrats to our winnErs! tHank You cincinnati! @cincyfta •

We bring the best authentic Jamaican Jerk cuisine - to you # t h a t s j e r k • w w w. t h a t s j e r k . c o m   7 4   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m


Located just a hair off the beaten path in Over-the-Rhine, Ché is snuggly nestled on Walnut Street and helmed by Alfio Gulisano, of Italian-Argentinian eatery Alfio’s Buon Cibo. While the menu features salads, pizzas, soups, stews and charcuterie, the empanadas are the star. The pastry crust on these little bite-sized snacks is flaky and crisp and filled with cheeses, meats, veggies and seafood. Unique flavor combos include buffalo chicken (spicy chicken, mozzarella, provolone and gorgonzola dipping sauce), breakfast (sausage, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese) and shrimp scampi (sautéed shrimp with garlic, herbs, mozzarella and provolone), along with classics like the de carne, with cumin- and paprika-spiced beef. Perfect date food that you can nibble on nicely, with a selection of Argentinian wine decanted into an authentic penguin pitcher aka a Patagonian pingüino. Ché, 1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-978-1706,

French cookies in Hyde Park, Loveland and via a kiosk in the Kenwood Towne Centre. Family-friendly and bee-friendly brunch destination Sleepy Bee opened a second café in Blue Ash last year — the same ’burb in which Senate will soon start serving its gourmet street food and hot dogs in addition to its original Gateway Quarter location. And A Tavola also recently brought wood-fired pizza to Madeira, turning an old sushi joint into a piece of Tuscany. Great news for those who live outside the city center and want to ditch the big-chain restaurants — and for those who want to try avoiding the wait at the originals.

BEST PLACE TO SAY “GUTEN MORGEN” Newport’s authentic German kaffee haus Katharina’s Café-Konditorei serves delicious cheese, bread, salad, meat and authentic cakes and pastries. Owned and operated by Elena Williams, Katharina’s takes its name from the German word for pâtisserie.

The café offers a relaxed atmosphere in which you can properly start your day with a two-person-sized European-style breakfast of orange juice, ham, cheese, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, fruit and a basket of brotchen (German hard rolls) with honey, marmalade and butter. Hours are listed in Euro time (aka military time), which not only adds to the feel of an authentic German coffeehouse, but is also a fun continental exercise in adding and subtracting. Katharina’s Café-Konditorei, 529 Overton St., Newport, Ky., 859-291-CAFE, 

BEST CURE FOR IRON DEFICIENCY Beef tartar is one of the great, quintessential French dishes, and it’s really difficult to prepare correctly — unless, of course, you are Jean-Robert de Cavel. The beef tartar at Jean-Robert’s Table is literally some of the best you’ll ever eat. The quality of the beef itself is of utmost importance since the con t inued on page 79

Thank you Cincinnati for voting us



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Skyline would like to thank our customers for their continued loyalty. Come in today and enjoy our famous Cheese Coneys, 3-Ways and genuine hospitality. We look forward to serving you.

W a t e r f i e l d s ’ m i c r o d a i k o n r a d i s h o n a s a l a z a r o y s t e r s l i d e r |  P h o t o : p r o v i d e d

Open for Dinner Only Tues-Thurs 5p-9p • Fri & Sat 5p-10p Sun 4p-8p • Closed Monday

Reservations Recommended • Patio Dining

BEST REASON TO EAT YOUR GREENS Based out of a warehouse in Lower Price Hill, Waterfields LLC urban farms grows a slew of hydroponic microgreens and edible flowers, everything from peppery micro arugula to spicy micro daikon radish, with a footprint far smaller than that of a traditional farm. Microgreens are reputed to be more nutritious than regular plants, containing five times more vitamins than, say, a mature cilantro plant. But they’re also tasty and pretty. The fresh greens are sold to local chefs (like five-diamond chef Todd Kelly at Orchids at Palm Court), but Waterfields also has a second focus: community. The company fosters the growth of lower-income neighborhoods by employing local residents and giving them livable wages to work in the warehouse. Good for you and the city? Eat up. Waterfields LLC,

dish is served raw, and it must be chopped and seasoned perfectly or else the taste and mouthfeel are a complete disaster. Wherever you are in the world, order it and it will never compare to chef de Cavel’s impeccably prepared dish. There’s no place like home. Jean-Robert’s Table, 713 Vine St., Downtown, 513-621-4777,

Voted Best Soul Food six years in a row!

6302 Licking Pike • Cold Springs, KY 859-781-2200

Deerfield and Wyoming farmers markets and O.F.F. Market. In a city where we pledge allegiance to Sixteen Bricks, Blue Oven and Shadeau breads, Crackling Crust is making waves one loaf at a time. Crackling Crust,; facebook. com/cracklingcrust.



Cincinnati is known for its microbrewing scene, but with the advent of Crackling Crust, we may get a reputation for our microbaking as well. This little one-woman bakery begins the bread-making process with a self-made, wildly harvested yeast sourdough starter, then works in whole-grain flours, with the owner/baker hand-folding the dough throughout the fermentation cycle. Breads, in flavors as varied as natural country, raisin walnut, seeds n’ sprouts and sunny whole wheat, are baked at a very high temperature to create the namesake crackled crust. The loaves are then packaged in adorable draw-string bags with the Crackling Crust wheat-trio logo and dropped at Park + Vine, Local Yokel Market in Glendale, the

Point Perk in Covington is a coffee shop located directly across from The Point, a local advocacy organization formed to assist those with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Over the past four decades, The Point has established community homes, created social enterprises for employment training and offered activities, support and more. And Point Perk piggybacks on this mission by offering paid jobs for The Point’s members, boosting self-esteem and visibility in the process. So when you buy a coffee, you not only support The Point, but you also get a darn good cup of joe — macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes and more made with local Carabello Coffee beans (another philanthropic coffee organization), plus locally



Sunday : 10:00am-2:00pm

Tuesday-friday : 11:30am-2:00pm


Monday-Thursday : 5:30pm-9:30pm | | friday & Saturday : 5:30pm-10:00pm

513-281-3663 3410 Telford STreeT. CinCinnaTi, oH, 45220 B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   7 9

B RIDGES ’ A s h a k C h i p a l u ( c e n t e r ) w i t h h i s PARENTS   |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

Schneider’s Sweet Shop Home Made Candies & ICE CREAM

“Since 1939”

Try our delicious Opera Creams, our most popular candy, a Greater Cincinnati specialty! Made with pure rich cream to tantalize the tastebuds and to create the ultimate of creams. Other specialties include Fudges, Caramels, Cordial Cherries, Pecan Caramelettes, and so much more. phone - 859.431.3545

BEST SAMOSA STUFFING Send reStaurant tipS, newS and preSS releaSeS to

420 FairFIeld ave. bellevue, ky 41073

BE A CULINARY TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY Experience the cuisine that defines the art of dining in Greater Cincinnati with $35 three-course prix-fixe menus from the city’s best restaurants.

Select dining destinations will feature specially curated lunch and dinner menus for one or two guests (excluding tax, gratuity and beverages).

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If you walk by the newish Findlay Market food stand Bridges a bit too quickly, relying only on your eyes to be your guide, it’s easy to confuse the fare — including golden-brown samosas — as being from India. But owner/operator Ashak Chipalu and his mother Rose Chipalu, who does all of the cooking, invite you to take a closer look and taste the food of their native country, Nepal. Fans of Indian cuisine will notice similarities with Bridges’ offerings, but take note of the subtle spice differences in this South Asian neighbor. Also take note of the creative samosa stuffing options: potato and cheese; potato, cheese and bacon(!); and chicken tikka masala with rice. A brick-and-mortar is coming soon. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-374-9354,

sourced baked goods, including Lil’s Bagels. The bagels — made with “100 percent chutzpah” — are an obsession in their own right, and are readily available at the shop, hand-rolled and made with Midway, Ky.’s Weisenberger Mills flour. Point Perk, 43 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., 859-292-7375.

BEST PLACE FOR DINNER AND A SHOW WITHOUT LITTLE KIDS KICKING THE BACK OF YOUR SEAT If your budget won’t stretch far enough for an exotic spring break vacation, no worries — just plan a staycation including an evening at Liberty Township’s CinéBistro, a 21-andup luxury dinner-and-a-movie theater with reserved seating, chef-prepared cuisine, fine wines, cocktails and full in-theater service. What does this mean? Well, it’s as if you’re sitting in a first-class airplane leather recliner dining on Moroccan lamb chops, wagyu beef sliders or buttermilk fried chicken while enjoying a first-run film. Oh, and if you absolutely have to have popcorn as well, it will arrive in a china bowl on top of a silver stand. Super classy. CinéBistro Liberty Center,

7514 Bales St., Liberty Township, 513-4630470,

BEST-NAMED EARL GREY TEA OFFERING Wendigo Tea Co., founded by Cincinnatibased Rocker Sky White, keyboardist for the now-defunct Foxy Shazam, offers a line of extremely high-quality loose-leaf teas, sourced from around the world. And each tea from his intentionally limited line is named after a mythological beast to not only make the brews more approachable and fun for everyday tea consumers, but also to give drinkers an idea of each tea’s characteristics. The Bigfoot black tea is strong, dark and woodsy. The artwork for Nessie, a hand-rolled jasmine pearl that unfurls as it brews, depicts a green sea monster bathing in a teacup like it’s a hot spring. And his latest additions, FireBird chai and Black Shuck Earl Grey, are part and parcel for his brand. FireBird is a spicy Indian masala chai, whose flavors can stand alone without the need for milk or sweeteners, just like it’s flaming Phoenix icon. And the Black Shuck, with its ghostly

Thanks For Considering Us Among the Best in Cincinnati Once Again Northside’s Historic District, Bistro Grace specializes in traditional culinary dishes with a modern twist.

Now Serving A Fantastic Sunday Brunch 4034 Hamilton Ave. Northside, Cincinnati 45223 513-541-9600

Over 80 years of Extraordinarily Good Authentic Italian Cooking!

Open 7 Days a Week 6th & Washington • Newport, KY • 859-581-3065 •

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6805 Houston Road, Ste 900, Florence, KY 41042 (859) 869-4840

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U r b a n a C a f é ’ s D a n i e l No g u e r a   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x


BEST BUBBLY ALTERNATIVE TO COLD-BREW COFFEE Located next door to The Nation in Pendleton, Urbana Café’s first storefront coffee shop has a longer menu than they do at their adorable baby-blue vintage Vespa cart location at Findlay Market, expanding their coffee choices as well as featuring light bites from an in-house pastry chef. Taking inspiration from Italy — owner Daniel Noguera is of Italian descent, but grew up in the coffee-rich city of Caracas, Venezuela — Urbana crafts a drink called Caffe Frizzante: espresso poured into a highball glass and doused with fizzy San Pellegrino. The combo of the water and the coffee generates a refreshing soda — a nice alternative to your standard summertime iced coffee. Urbana Café, 1206 Broadway, Pendleton, 513-813-3133,

red-eyed hell-hound mascot, is a true treat for earl grey conneioussuers. As you drink, you’ll taste warm notes of bergamot, orange zest and spice in a black tea base, not a slew of cheap chemicals and overpowering perfumes. One of the best teas you’ll ever drink in one of the more fun packages you’ll ever see. Wendigo Tea,

BEST DAIRY FARM TURNED CHEESEMONGER Years ago, Kenny Senior started Kenny’s as a dairy farm, creating a new standard in farming, with comfortable cows, better nutrition and better-tasting milk. Today that dairy farm has transformed into a creamery and cheese cave as Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. Happy cows make happy cheese, and Kenny’s creates everything from their original classic cheddar and Kentucky bleu to unique signatures and European styles. Their mild Gouda is made with a recipe Kenny brought back from Europe in 1998. It’s melty, buttery and dense. Then there’s the Nena, named after a family grandmother and based on a French farm cheese. Firm, tangy and cave-aged, it’s perfect if you just feel like eating a half-pound block with a

glass (or two) of oaked chardonnay. And then there is brie. Brie! Authentic-tasting oldworld Awe-Brie, made in America — a lofty accomplishment. And there are many, many more excellent flavors where those came from, available online or at the farmhouse cheese shop. Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, 2033 Thomerson Park Road, Austin, Ky., 888-571-4029,

BEST VEGGIE BURGER NOT MADE OUT OF BLACK BEANS Hallelujah. Someone finally realized that not all vegetarians thrill at the thought of black bean burgers — they’re generally mushy, rarely taste very good and they crumble into little bean balls when you bite into them. But Krueger’s Tavern has discovered a way to make an indulgent and awesome veggie patty, like a real burger-style experience. Hearty and filling, their housemade patty is salty and savory and crispy — it’s full beets and quinoa (we’re guessing; we don’t actually want to know the secret, but the inside is pinkish) — and served on a challah bun with provolone cheese, pesto mayo, mixed greens and housemade pickles. Add a side of fries with malt vinegar aioli, and you’ll nev-

Breakfast, Lunch or Pre-Show Meal • Locally sourced meats, cheeses & breads • All-natural sandwiches, salads & homemade soups 513-977-4074

513-977-4074 2015 OpenOpen dailydaily FACES of 7a – 3p & through CINCINNATI 7a - 3p

& through curtaincurtain time time

650 Walnut Street (located in the Aronoff Center for the Arts)

Dine in, carry out or delivery! A division of Vonderhaar’s Catering

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   8 3

C h e f S t e p h e n W i l l i a m s a n d FA M ILy a t s o n & s o i l   |   P h o t o : h a i l e y b o l l i n g e r

BEST GRAB-AND-GO SANDWICH SHOP After a night of piggish debauchery leaves you feeling sluggish, recharge at Covington’s Son & Soil with a lunch that’s fresh, tasty and guaranteed to put the pep back in your step. Chef Stephen Williams’ menu of healthy sandwiches, smoothies, soups and juices is filled with locally sourced, organic ingredients that offer something for everyone, both omnivore and vegetarian/vegan. Favorites include the Veggie Wrap, filled with mushrooms, avocado mousse, bulgur wheat, pickled red onion, arugula and hummus, and anything that comes with one of the housemade pickles or is topped with the whole grain house mustard. Son & Soil, 627 Main St., Covington, 859-360-6268,

er accept a soggy burger substitute again. Krueger’s Tavern, 1211 Vine St., Over-theRhine, 513-834-8670,


Thanks to all of our loyal customers. We consider you family!

Best Neighborhood Pizza Joint (NKY) Best Neighborhood Pizza Joint (Downtown/OTR) - 2nd Best Overall Pizza - 3rd 8 4   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

Grab a slab of goetta 24/7 at Pepper Pod, Newport’s third-generation family-run restaurant, which recently celebrated 45 years of serving up breakfast all day, every day to all sorts of people from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and beyond. Entering the diner is like stepping back in time — jukeboxes hang on the wall beside booths, and the Pepper Pod is one of the few restaurants in which you can still light up (or opt for the non-smoking section). Three different soups are concocted every day, along with old-fashioned breakfast items like hash browns, sliced ham and over-easy eggs. Pepper Pod, 703 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-7455.

BEST REASON TO WAKE UP ON THE WEEKENDS Artisanal toast is popping up on food blogs and feeds everywhere. You’ll see toast smeared with avocado and gently dusted

with red pepper flakes, toast topped with ricotta and zested lemon, toast spread with hand-churned peanut butter and chia seeds. And if you’re someone who loves toast, Blue Oven Bakery Toast Bar at Findlay Market is a must-stop before any Saturdaymorning marketing (or just for a good 10 a.m. gluten binge). The bar serves up thick slices of fresh Blue Oven bread, toasted and slathered with yummy things, like sweet cream and homemade strawberry jam or homemade peanut butter and honey-roasted peanuts. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine,

BEST BACKGROUND TV There are mixed opinions on whether restaurants should make televisions a part of the dining experience, but Quan Hapa’s mix of classic anime, Korean soap operas and old-school Godzilla movies completes the holy trinity of drinks, food and entertainment in its Asian-garage atmosphere. Get some street-style snacks — crispy cauliflower okonomiyaki, hapa wings and chicharon pork rinds — and some milky nigori sake and space out. Sometimes you don’t want to look your date in the face, and sometimes you

t r a i l h e a d co f f e e a n d a b r o w n b e a r t r e a t   |   P h o t o : k h o i n g u y e n

2015 Open Table Diner’s Choice Award

NEW GastroPub Menu Located in Downtown Blue Ash 4858 Cooper Road off of Ronald Reagan/CrossCounty Highway

BEST COFFEE SHOP TO HAVE ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH THE BARISTA WHILE CHOWING DOWN ON BROWN BEAR BAKERY TREATS Joe Humpert manages Trailhead Coffee, the small coffee shop located inside Newport’s Reser Bicycle Outfitters — it even has a bike-up window. Because of the intimacy of the establishment, and because Joe knows so much about coffee, he really takes the time to explain coffee methods and also wax philosophical on life with customers. He brews Wood Burl Coffee and offers rotating pour-over selections, single-origin espresso, ceremonial-grade matcha and beautiful latte art. Along with the coffee, it’s also one of the few places in town where you can regularly indulge in Brown Bear Bakery baked goods. The rustic but refined small-batch bakery makes the best bites in town, and always sells out at various local markets. Head baker Blair Fornshell recently expanded the creative Brown Bear portfolio to include some savories, like olive oil, pesto and parmesan “snails” (little herby cinnamon rolls). They were available exclusively at Trailhead, along with selections like salted caramel beareos (like Oreos) and earl grey-orange zest poundcake. So good. Reser Bicycle Outfitters, 1048 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-491-9999,

just want to enjoy your balut (half-hatched duck egg) alone at the bar while watching Mothra shoot poisonous powder at things. Quan Hapa, 1331 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-7826,

BEST SECRET BREWERY Last year, inside Northern Kentucky’s Party Town mega liquor store, two guys/employees started experimenting with “weird” beers under the moniker Mash Cult. The owner of Party Town sampled their brews and loved them. Now, every week, they tap a different beer just for the store. They name them funny things, like White Girl, a pumpkin-spiced beer, and My Milk Stout Brings All the Boys to the Bar, obviously a milk stout. They’re one of the best brewers in town — with one of the best logos: an illuminati pyramid car-

half price drafts at happy hour 3-7pm mon-fri monday - 1/2 price select Martinis           Wednesday - 1/2 price Bottles of Wine tuesday - $2.00 off Tacos & Margaritas   thursday - 1/2 price select Draft Beer

American Craft Bistro

toon with a forked tongue hanging out. Party Town, 6823 Burlington Pike, Florence, Ky., 859-371-4466,

BEST VEGGIE MEATBALLS Open Meatball Kitchen’s website and you’ll read that vegetarians are “welcome and loved,” and the restaurant delivers on that promise with some of the best vegetarian meatballs in the city. Chef Jason Louda — a perennial favorite in Park + Vine’s chili cookoff — crafts the balls with black beans, brown rice and spinach; plop them in a sub or on top of salty housemade foccacia. Meat-lovers can opt for beef, spicy pork or turkey meatballs with meat sourced from Findlay Market. Accompany your order with housemade pickles, Sriracha sweet potato mash and a carafe of wine for only $20.

Outdoor Patio Y Revolving Craft Taps Y Curated Wine List Southern Stage with Live Music Thursday O Saturday nights! 1960 N Bend Rd., Hebron, KY 41048 • 859-586-0473 • B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   8 7

r oo t e d j u i c e r y + K i t ch e n ’ s m a j i k a l j u i c e   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Veteran, Female Owned . Local. Grass Fed. exceptional service.

’S B



Located in the Friendly Market • 10050 Norbotten Dr. Florence, KY • (859) 304-1968


3620 Decoursey Ave, Covington, KY 41015


(859) 866-6017



BEST BLUE JUICE Cold-pressed juiceries are popping up like Starbucks, and we aren’t complaining. Juicing has become super popular as a way to either avoid eating for whatever reason (a cleanse, digestive problems or Hollywood-style pre-awards fast) or get a bunch of fiber, vitamins and natural sugar in one sitting. And local Rooted Juicery + Kitchen has one of the broadest selections of juice and nut milks in the area. The café’s mission is to provide health-packed, plant-based real foods, and they do that through the aforementioned juices, but also via homemade raw and glutenfree salads, wraps and desserts. Their cold-pressed juices have names associated with their purported benefits, like “Awake,” with beet, grapefruit, pineapple, ginger, orange and apple, or “Clean,” with kale, spinach, cucumber, celery and lemon. But their best juice is Majikal, a little 8-ounce wonder packed with almonds, dates, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon and blue majik powder — a nutrient-dense spirulina, full of anti-inflammatories. Rooted Juicery + Kitchen, 3010 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-351-2900,

Meatball Kitchen, 2912 Vine St., Corryville, 513-407-7405,


what’s good now

Imagine Asian-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass sitting atop black organic rice once reserved for Chinese emperors. At Seasons 52, it’s all yours. Each dish is made with fresh, in-season ingredients and prepared with rustic techniques. Discover your new favorite today. 3819 EDWARDS ROAD




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In 2008, Bellamy, Ala. native Dwan Ward founded barbecue joint Alabama Que, otherwise known as the “home of turkey tips,” in the West Side before bringing the restaurant to Corryville in 2012. After the move, Dwan, a former firefighter and football player, began catering through word of mouth; today, it’s a popular haunt for professional athletes and celebrities like A.J. Green, Snoop Dogg and Wale. All items are non-pork based, making Ward’s grub available to a wide variety of eaters; greens and green beans are made with smoked turkey, baked beans are entirely vegetarian and meat is cooked on separate grills and cut with different knives. Alabama Que, 2733 Vine St., Corryville, 513-3768781,

BEST USE OF SQUASH People put a lot of things on grilled cheese: tomatoes, bacon, pickles, more cheese. But Cheapside Café tops theirs with spaghetti squash. In our modern anti-gluten, primaldiet world, spaghetti squash is typically used to recreate spaghetti dishes sans carbs. It’s not really anyone’s first choice of squashes — pumpkin and zucchini are infinitely more popular — or first choice of anything really (to be sure, it must have die-hard fans somewhere), and seeing it on a menu on top of a grilled cheese may give people pause. Don’t let any of those common associations fool you because this is a great grilled cheese. Warm, comforting and substantial because of the stringy gourd, this sandwich comes on wonderful multigrain with slow-roasted tomato, green chile and cheddar cheese. Get a side of tomato soup and you’re in business. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-345-6618,

CinCinnati’s raddest

bike shop

urbanbeekeepers beekeepers providing WeWeareareurban providinglocal localhoney, honey, beeswax candles and gifts from the beeswax candles and gifts from thehive. hive. Visit us weekends at Findlay Market. Visit us weekends at Findlay Market.

4037 Hamilton Ave. in Northside

4122 Hamilton ave, #a, CinCinnati 45223

(513) 541-7786

TWENTY YEARS STR NG Proud to be selected BEST LIQUOR STORE 20 Consecutive Years.

95 Riviera Drive • Bellevue, KY 41073 • (859) 291-4007

P A R L O U R p i g  |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

Overall Boutique (Local)

1 / MiCA 12/v 2 / Homage 3 / The Pink Box 4 / Kismet 5 / Rose & Remington 6 / Cincy Shirts 7 / Continuum 8 / Pretty Pony Boutique 9 / HighStreet 10 / Dandy Haberdashery

Boutique (Downtown/OTR) 1 / MiCA 12/v 2 / Homage 3 / LIBBY

Boutique (Northern Kentucky) 1 / Pretty Pony Boutique 2 / Monmouth Street Antique Gallery 3 / Durham Brand & Co.

SHOPS & SERVICES // READER PICKS Boutique (East side)

Men’s Clothing Store

Arts & CraftS Classes

1 / indigenous, a handcrafted gallery 2 / Kismet 3 / Fibergé

1 / Article 2 / Homage 3 / Ohio Against The World

1 / Silk Road Textiles 2 / Cheers To Art 3 / Michaels

Boutique (WEst side)

Women’s Clothing Store

1 / Loulou’s 2 / Edie’s Vintage Rose Room 3 / Newly Discovered Treasures

1 / Idlewild Woman 2 / Pangaea 3 / Sloane Boutique

Auto Dealer (New Vehicles)

Boutique (Central)

Acupuncture Practice

1 / Pangaea 2 / Chicken Lays an Egg 3 / Charming Charlie; NVISION (TIE)

Antique Store

Boutique (Northern ’Burbs) 1 / Rose & Remington 2 / The Pink Box 3 / Busy Bee Boutique

1 / Carole Paine, MS, L.Ac. 2 / Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine 3 / Tiny Needle

1 / Ohio Valley Antique Mall 2 / Wooden Nickel Antiques 3 / Grand Antique Mall

Arts & Crafts Supplies 1 / Michaels 2 / Hobby Lobby 3 / Suder’s Art Store

1 / Jake Sweeney Automotive 2 / Kings Toyota 3 / Honda East

Auto Dealer (Used Vehicles) 1 / Jeff Wyler Honda 2 / Jake Sweeney 3 / CarMax

Auto Repair Service 1 / Tire Discounters 2 / Bob Sumerel Tire 3 / Donovan’s Auto & Tire

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Auto/Car Wash 1 / Mike’s Carwash 2 / Johnny’s Car Wash 3 / AAA Auto Wash

Bank 1 / PNC Bank 2 / Fifth Third Bank 3 / U.S. Bank

Credit Union 1 / Kemba Credit Union 2 / G.E. Credit Union 3 / Wright-Patt Credit Union

Barber Shop 1 / Spanky & Co Barber Shop 2 / Kings Court Master Barber & Shoe Shine Service 3 / Northside Chop Shop

Bookstore (Non-Chain) 1 / Blue Manatee 2 / Shake It Records 3 / The Booksellers on Fountain Square

Candy Store 1 / Aglamesis Brothers 2 / Esther Price 3 / Schneider’s Sweet Shop

Catering Service

Bottled Beer Selection (Retail)

1 / Funky’s Catering 2 / Vonderhaar’s Catering 3 / Eli’s BBQ

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Party Source 3 / Dutch’s

CD/Record Store (Non-Chain)

Craft Beer Store 1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Party Source 3 / Dutch’s

Butcher Shop 1 / Avril-Bleh & Sons 2 / Humbert’s Quality Meats 3 / Eckerlin Meats

Chiropractic Practice/Clinic

1 / Queen City Comics and Card Company 2 / Shake It Records 3 / Comic Book World

1 / Norwood Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center 2 / Mt. Lookout Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center 3 / Baker Chiropractic and Wellness

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Learning Kitchen 3 / Sur La Table

Cheese Shop

1 / Montgomery Cyclery 2 / Spun Bicycles 3 / Reser Bicycle Outfitters

Bookstore (Chain)

Camera Store

Local Indie Craft Market

1 / Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2 / Half Price Books 3 / Barnes & Noble

1 / Dodd Camera 2 / Western Hills Photo & Hobby 3 / Best Buy

1 / The City Flea 2 / Crafty Supermarket 3 / Art On Vine

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1 / Tara Heilman (Robot Inside) 2 / Brown Bear Bakery; Ohio Valley Beard Supply (TIE) 3 / Dandy Haberdashery

1 / Shake It Records 2 / Everybody’s Records 3 / Black Plastic

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / Gibbs Cheese at Findlay Market 3 / Silverglades

Bicycle Store

Local Indie Craft Market Vendor

Comic Book Store

Cooking Classes

Costume Shop 1 / Cappel’s 2 / Costume Gallery (Newport) 3 / Talk of the Town

Dance Classes 1 / Dare to Dance 2 / DANCEFIX 3 / Emerge Dance Academy

Dental Practice/ Clinic 1 / Vita Dental 2 / Advance Dentistry 3 / Cincinnati Dental Services

Drive-Thru Market 1 / Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru 2 / City Beverage of Hyde Park 3 / Dutch’s

Dry Cleaner 1 / Widmer’s Cleaners 2 / Springdale Cleaners 3 / Atlas Dry Cleaners

Electronics Store 1 / Best Buy 2 / Micro Center 3 / Apple Store

Eyewear Store 1 / LensCrafters 2 / Frameri 3 / Wing Eyecare

Financial Planning Service 1 / Fidelity Investments 2 / Charles Schwab 3 / UBS

Lighting Store

Hair Salon

Health Food Store


1 / IKEA 2 / Switch Lighting & Design 3 / Lighting EFX

1 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 2 / Parlour 3 / 501 Salon & Spa

1 / Whole Foods Market 2 / Clifton Natural Foods 3 / Park + Vine

1 / Christ Hospital 2 / Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 3 / Good Samaritan

Day Spa

Health Club/Gym 1 / Planet Fitness 2 / YMCA 3 / Bella Forza Fitness

Birthing/Maternity Center


Florist 1 / Adrian Durban 2 / Robin Wood 3 / Oberer’s Flowers

1 / MiCa 12/v 2 / Ten Thousand Villages 3 / indigenous, a handcrafted gallery

Frame Shop

Papergood Store

1 / Frameshop 2 / Michaels 3 / Fabulous Frames & Art

1 / M. Hopple & Co. 2 / Poeme 3 / Papyrus

Fresh Seafood Store

Beauty Product/Soap (Non-Chain)

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / Keegan’s Seafood 3 / Luken’s Poultry, Fish & Seafood

1 / SwanMaiden Soaps 2 / B & D Goats 3 / The Tree Hugger Company

Furniture Store 1 / IKEA 2 / Furniture Fair 3 / HighStreet

1 / Kroger 2 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 3 / Findlay Market

Home Accessories Store

Hair Removal Service

1 / Elm & Iron 2 / HomeGoods 3 / Bed Bath & Beyond

1 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 2 / Woodhouse Day Spa 3 / European Wax Center


• • • • •

Grocery Store

Best Best Best Best Best

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa 3 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon

Manicure/Pedicure 1 / Deluxe Nails on Camargo 2 / Woodhouse Day Spa 3 / Ambiance Nail Salon & Spa

Skin Care Service

Personal Training/ Crossfit Gym 1 / 9Round 2 / Cincy 360 Fitness 3 / CoreStrong

Pilates Studio

Yoga Studio

Green/Sustainable Goods Store

1 / Modo Yoga 2 / The Yoga Bar 3 / World Peace Yoga

1 / Park + Vine 2 / Findlay Market 3 / Jungle Jim’s International Market

Hardware Store 1 / Ace Hardware 2 / Lowe’s 3 / Home Depot

Hair Salon Hair Removal Skin Care - 2nd Day Spa - 3rd Massage Therapy - 3rd

Hyde Park Square 859. 578.9400 || Crestview Hills 513.533.9400

Hotel 1 / 21c Museum Hotel 2 / Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza 3 / The Cincinnatian Hotel

1 / Pendleton Pilates 2 / The Breathing Room 3 / core a movement studio

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 3 / 501 Salon & Spa

1 / Good Samaritan Hospital 2 / Christ Hospital 3 / Bethesda North Hospital

HVAC Company 1 / Apollo Home 2 / Tom Rechtin Heating & Air Conditioning 3 / Jacob Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning

Jeweler 1 / Richter & Phillips 2 / Schwartz Jewelers 3 / Faigle & Sons

Physician/ Healthcare Practice 1 / Mercy Health Physicians 2 / Group Health Associates 3 / University of Cincinnati Physicians

Lasik Surgery Center 1 / Cincinnati Eye Institute 2 / LasikPlus Vision Center 3 / Dr. Robert Benza, ApexEye

Thank You! B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   9 3

Law Firm/Lawyer 1 / Scott Knox 2 / O’Connor Acciani & Levy 3 / Frost Brown Todd

Lingerie Store 1 / Knickers of Hyde Park 2 / Victoria’s Secret 3 / Hustler Hollywood

Liquor Store 1 / The Party Source 2 / D.E.P.’s Fine Wine & Spirits 3 / Jungle Jim’s International Market

Magazine/Newspaper Selection 1 / Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2 / Cincinnati Public Library 3 / Barnes & Noble

Mall/Shopping Center 1 / Kenwood Towne Centre 2 / Rookwood 3 / Liberty Center

Martial Arts Studio 1 / Cincinnati Taekwondo Center 2 / Martial Arts America 3 / Club MMA

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Massage Therapy Practice/Clinic

Nursery/Plant Store

Pet Boarding/ Daycare

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Massage Envy 3 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon

1 / A.J. Rahn Greenhouses 2 / Natorp’s 3 / Burger Farm

1 / The Pet Spot 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / Red Dog Pet Resort & Spa

Mobile Phone Service Provider 1 / Verizon 2 / AT&T 3 / Sprint

Motorcycle/ Motorsports Dealer 1 / Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 2 / Eastgate Harley-Davidson 3 / Beechmont Motorsports

Outdoor/Outfitters Shop 1 / REI 2 / Bass Pro Shops 3 / Benchmark Outfitters

Paint Store 1 / Sherwin Williams 2 / Home Depot 3 / Lowe’s

Pawn Shop

Moving Company

1 / Ted’s Pawn 2 / Newport Pawn Shop 3 / Facet Jewelry, Music & Pawn

1 / Two Men and a Truck 2 / Gulliver’s Movers 3 / Ferguson Moving & Storage

Pet Adoption Service

Musical Instrument Store

1 / SPCA 2 /Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 3 / OAR: Ohio Alleycat Resource

1 / Buddy Roger’s 2 / Guitar Center; Mike’s Music (TIE) 3 / Willis Music

Pet Grooming 1 / The Pet Spot 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / PetSmart

Pet Rescue/Shelter 1 / Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 2 / SPCA 3 / OAR: Ohio Alleycat Resource

Pet Supply Store 1 / PetSmart 2 / Pet Wants 3 / Pet People

Veterinary Care 1 / Four Paws Animal Hospital 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / Pleasant Ridge Pet Hospital

Piercing Studio 1 / Beelistic 2 / Skincraft 3 / Mother’s

Plastic Surgery 1 / Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2 / The Plastic Surgery Group 3 / Mangat, Holzapfel & Lied Plastic Surgery

Plumbing Company 1 / Zins Plumbing   2 / Anderson Hills Plumbing 3 / Jolly Plumbing

Real Estate/ Realtor Office 1 / Cutler Real Estate 2 / Sibcy Cline 3 / Coldwell Banker/West Shell

Shoe Store 1 / DSW 2 / Nordstrom 3 / Bob Roncker’s Running Spot

Smoke/Tobacco Shop 1 / Strauss Tobacconist 2 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 3 / Hemptations

Tanning Salon 1 / Palm Beach Tan 2 / Envy Tan 3 / A Total Tan

Tattoo Shop 1 / Designs by Dana 2 / Beelistic 3 / Mother’s

Tea Shop/Selection 1 / Churchill’s Fine Teas 2 / Essencha Tea House 3 / Teavana

Thrift Shop 1 / St. Vincent de Paul 2 / Valley Thrift Store 3 / Goodwill

Consignment Shop 1 / Snooty Fox 2 / Legacies Upscale Resale 3 / Once Upon A Child


Vintage Clothing Store 1 / Casablanca 2 / Talk of the Town 3 / Chicken Lays An Egg

Tire Store 1 / Tire Discounters 2 / Bob Sumerel 3 / Costco

Toy Store 1 / King Arthur’s Court 2 / Toys“R”Us 3 / Blue Manatee

Tree Service 1 / Madison Tree Care and Landscaping 2 / Gregory Forrest Lester 3 / The Canopy Crew

Vape Shop 1 / Cincy Vapors 2 / King Vapors Shop & Lounge 3 / Studio Vapes

Wedding Cakes 1 / The BonBonerie 2 / A Spoon Fulla Sugar 3 / Servatti Pastry Shop & Deli

Wedding Dresses

Elm & Iron   |   P h o t o : J esse F o x

Sporting Goods 1 / Dick’s Sporting Goods 2 / REI 3 / Koch Sporting Goods

1 / Bridal & Formal 2 / David’s Bridal 3 /Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Bridal

Wedding Photography Service 1 / Sadie & Jess Weddings 2 / Images by Daniel Michael 3 / Jesse Fox

Wedding Reception Hall 1 / Bell Event Centre 2 / Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza 3 / Receptions

Place to Buy Your Engagement Ring 1 / Richter & Phillips 2 / Schwartz Jewelers 3 / Faigle & Sons

Wine Shop 1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / D.E.P.’s Fine Wine & Spirits 3 / The Party Source

New Store

(Since March 2015) 1 / Elm & Iron 2 / Made in Cincinnati 3 / Cabela’s 4 / Continuum 5 / Grainwell 6 / The Chocolate Bee 7 / Frameri 8 / Rose & Remington 9 / Idlewild Woman 10 / Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

Thanks for makin g us Cincinnati’s Best ! B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   9 5

“Thank you Cincinnati for once again voting us as the best pet boarding and daycare facility and the best dog grooming salon!!�

2 Year nd

in a Row

Best Pet Boarding/Daycare; Best Pet Grooming

The Pet Spot | 2503 Norwood Ave. | Norwood, OH 45212

(513) 351-7768 |

c on t i nuum  |   P h o t o : k h o i n g u y e n

SHOPS & SERVICES // STAFF PICKS BEST MAMMARY MEMENTOS The future is female. OTR’s Continuum, conceptualized as an eclectic bazaar and women’s clothing shop, features a carefully curated selection of independent designers, artists and makers. And, lucky for us, the trend in all things indie these days is boobs. Stop in to get your fill of bathing beauty boob planters (nipple nude or with whimsical tropical tank tops), area rugs with black-line sketched private parts or any of San Francisco’s Gravel & Gold’s playful hand-drawn titty T-shirts, bath towels, pillowcases and anything else you can dream up. Stick a boob on it. Continuum, 1407 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-429-5035,

BEST RETRO RIDE Longboards came of age in the 1950s, when surfers wanted to translate their aquatic experience to the asphalt, customizing skateboards to function more like surfboards, with long decks attached to skate-style trucks and wheels. Locals Jeff and Valerie of Cincinnati Cruiser are still customizing that experience. Jeff, a retired Navy pilot, was an avid skater in his youth and made his first longboard when he was just 16. Years later, he used this classic design to hand-make some boards for his daughters, which became popular with friends and neighbors and led to a new business. Today, Cincinnati Cruiser builds custom longboards using North American and exotic hardwoods, ethically sourced from a local company with

Forest Stewardship Council-approved practices, as well as found outlets; one of their boards is crafted from 100-year-old walnut floors from a Cincinnati home. And in keeping with their stewardship mentality, unused lumbar scraps go to build wooden toys like bulldozers and paddleboats — all for sale on their site. Cincinnati Cruiser, 513-394-0949,​

BEST PLACE TO SHOP FOR YOUR PERIOD-PIECE MOVIE SET Legacies Upscale Resale provided many of the props and furniture for the locally filmed movie Carol. Decorators for Miles Ahead and other local films have stopped by, too. And this classy shop is a win-win;

proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Set decorator and Academy Award nominee Heather Loeffler said of the shop: “We love coming here because not only do they have great merchandise, we were shopping for a cause as well as for a film.” Legacies Upscale Resale, 3854 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8899

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE FLORALS Don’t have a specific type of flower you have to have in your bouquet? Let Courtenay Lambert Florals pick them for you. CLF’s Fraîche Blooms offers a greener, less expensive alternative to custom floral designs

by utilizing seasonal, local blooms. You pick flowers that are available and a theme from a selection of pre-designed collections, and CLF does the rest — no fussing over countless options or paying big bucks for design fees and shipping costs. Not to mention the benefit of experiencing naturally fresh, fragrant flowers you find when shopping in season. Fraîche Blooms by Courtenay Lambert Florals,

BEST HOTEL TO STAY AT BEFORE IT’S CONVERTED INTO APARTMENTS Garfield Suites touts some of the largest affordable hotel rooms in the city — each with a full kitchen, dining and living rooms and separate bedrooms. Even more spacious, the hotel’s penthouses are a great spot to have a downtown staycation, bachelor party or girls’ night. While a far cry from the Vegas suites you see in movies, the impressive spaces feature spiral staircases and balconies overlooking the city. With downtown rental properties more in-demand than hotel rooms, the Garfield will only be open for a B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   9 7

g orman h e r i t a g e f arm  |   P h o t o : h a i l e y b o l l i n g e r

BEST HUB FOR URBAN HOMESTEADERS Gorman Heritage Farm is a 122-acre working farm and education center just outside of downtown Cincinnati in Evendale, which immerses visitors in a natural setting to explore the history, methods and experience of farming. Along with popular fests, like their chef-driven Savor the Season and you-pick Sunflower Festival, Gorman offers hands-on opportunities to learn some basic homesteading. Through their cooking and gardening classes, you’ll learn to grow and preserve your own seasonal eats. And their family farming classes focus on everything from the ins and outs of raising chickens in your backyard and beginners’ beekeeping to basic care for mini horses. And if you don’t feel like learning anything at all, take a self-guided tour and hike one of their walking trails for an overlook view of the Mill Creek Valley. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, 513-563-6663,

couple months before it is repurposed into apartments — which is ironic, since the reason the hotel suites are so large in the first place is because the building was originally an apartment complex. Garfield Suites, 2 Garfield Place, Downtown, 513-421-3355,

BEST REASON TO HOPE THAT YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY GET AN APPOINTMENT AT PARLOUR You could say Parlour salon in East Walnut Hills is popular, if by “popular” you mean that owner and stylist Jessie Hoffman already has appointments scheduled through July. The join-the-waitlist reality is mostly due to the staff’s skill level and hip aesthetic, but also probably in part because Parlour was named one of the top five best salons for hair color in the nation by InStyle magazine last year. All the accolades aside, the salon finally got the hint and has added new stylists (they now have 11) and an additional 400 square feet. By the beginning of April (their four-year anniversary), the addition and new color bar and shampoo room will

be open for business. Parlour, 2600 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-961-4247,

BEST LADIES TO CALL WHEN YOU WANT TO FORGET ABOUT THE DETAILS If you’re looking to add some organized whimsy to an upcoming party, call in the gals at Honey event styling. With an aesthetic rooted in a bit of darling fun and creativity — hand-drawn calligraphy, blushing pinks and citrus brights, textures, tassels and colorful collections of glassware — the studio can design, plan, curate and style everything from intimate parties and work events to weddings. They tackle the tablescape so you can worry about more important things — like what shoes to wear and how to not trip on your way down the aisle. Honey,










A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an item from the past, like vintage colB e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   9 9

S P R U CE N A T U R A L N A I L S H O P   |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

BEST NAIL SALON FOR A FIVE-FREE MANICURE With exposed brick, hanging plant installations, subway tile, white walls and pale pink and grey ikat lumbar pillows, Over-the-Rhine’s Spruce Natural Nail Shop marries its message with its aesthetic — conscious yet colorful. All Spruce services feature cruelty free, paraben free, vegan nail polishes, free of the top five polish toxins. Opt for The Natural, a detoxifying and hydrating mani finished with a clear polish or buff, or pick from their line of trendy colors, nail art, nail stamps or nail wraps (in place of gel). Bonus: All services include pampering with the salon’s locally made natural and eco-friendly lotion, scrub and cuticle oil. Spruce Natural Nail Shop, 1235 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-818-8749,

Voted Best Pawn Shop! Family Owned & Operated Since 1970

Monday-Friday 9-6 | Saturday 9-3 | Sunday Closed 2026 Delaware Avenue | Norwood | 513-631-2112 Like us on Facebook!

1 0 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

PB #100101.000

lege apparel, a soft-from-wear old concert T-shirt or a pair of timeless work boots, can also tell a story. Cincinnati vintage dealer and DJ Matt Joy collects and sells clothing and accessories — particularly Americanmade and handcrafted goods — from his OTR apartment, housed in a former textile factory. Today, fast fashion is king and the term “vintage” is tossed around liberally, but Joy highlights items that represent another time — when people invested in quality items and took pride in craftsmanship. Check out his collection on Etsy, look out for him at popup shops and area events like the City Flea and follow him on Instagram @mattyjoy. etsy. com/shop/littleshopofmatthews.

BEST SHOP TO CHANNEL YOUR INNER CLAIRE UNDERWOOD Need to fire someone or steel yourself against forthcoming international scrutiny? Something a little First-Lady-meets-Lady Macbeth? Alligator Purse on Hyde Park Square stocks a wide array of coolly sophisticated styles for those special occasions when you need to look armed and flawless. Look the part of the impeccable power

woman with fashions and finds from designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang, Trina Turk and Theory. Alligator Purse, 2701 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-6171,

BEST SHOP TO CHANNEL YOUR OUTER DAENERYS TARGARYEN If Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen — Mother of Dragons and all-around badass — lived in Cincinnati, it’s a safe bet she’d shop at either of the Kismet locations (the O’Bryonville shop opened a second location in OTR last year). The mecca of eccentric, statement-making and creative women’s clothing offers a selection of boho-meets-Dothraki gear: slightly talon-shredded and cozy sweaters, big-ass metal scroll rings, long Khaleesi batik skirts, fingerless gloves, wrap boots, aged leather accessories, arm cuffs, crop tops, belts — basically everything but breast plates and long blonde wigs. Is it homage or cosplay? Does it matter? Both shops also offer plenty for home and décor — crystals, tea lights, incense, art, mugs and more — in a constantly rotating inventory. Kismet,

THANKS FOR NAMING US BEST HOSPITAL IN CINCINNATI At The Christ Hospital, we believe we offer the best healthcare around. You definitely agree. Not only have you chosen us as this year’s Best Hospital in Cincinnati, but for the last 20 years you’ve also named us the region’s Most Preferred Hospital. Distinctions like these keep us motivated—to pioneer new treatments, to pursue the latest technology and to deliver an unparalleled patient experience. We’re proud to be the measure of exceptional care, and our dedicated doctors, nurses and support staff are honored to bring it to you.

The Christ Hospital—we’re here for your pursuit.


5400 Kennedy Ave • 513-317-3660

Train for the career YOU want! Classes start April 4 Call Today!



866-964-9393 BECKFIELD.EDU


Tri-County Cincinnati, Ohio Campus 225 Pictoria Drive, Ste. 200 Cincinnati, OH 45246 Florence, Kentucky Campus, 16 Spiral Drive, Florence, KY 41042 For consumer information, visit OH reg # 08-05-1857 T 1 0 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

N O R TH S I D E CH O P S H O P e as t w all   |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

1 #1 Best Selection #

Best Bookstore


Magazines &Newspapers

BEST APOTHECARY ENTREPRENEURS IN A BARBER SHOP Plenty of salons swear by certain product lines, shampooing, spritzing and styling your mane with their favorite brands. But it’s rare that a salon makes its own. Not at Northside’s Chop Shop. Owners and stylists Scott and Jen not only specialize in statement making and self-expressive ’dos, they also handcraft their own home and body products. Scott is behind the popular Ohio Valley Beard Supply line — soap, conditioner, elixirs, balms and mustache wax — and Jen handcrafts Oak.Isaac candles, soaps and textile sprays with fresh fragrances like clary sage and lavender, or bergamot, vetiver and cedar. The shop’s East Wall Local Goods store features both of their products lines, plus Chop Shop’s own shampoos and conditioners. Northside Chop Shop, 1609 Hoffner St., Northside, 513-591-CHOP,

2037 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513871-7879; 1321 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

BEST LOVE-THE-COV URBAN OUTFITTER Covington celebrated its 200th birthday with a bit of a facelift. The Love the Cov movement and resulting urban renaissance has jump-started arts and business interests in the neighborhood, with new bars, restaurants, galleries and shops popping up all over town, including Durham Dept., a men’s and women’s lifestyle and apparel shop hawking “durable garments and goods.” An outpost of local Durham Brand & Co. creative studio, stop in (or poke around online) for clever Durham-branded apparel, vintage Covington baseball Tshirts, leather goods and more. Durham Dept., 617 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-905-0460,

BEST BUSINESS CELEBRATING 4/20 FOR 20 YEARS When Hemptations first opened its doors in 1995, who would have thought that just

20 years later we’d be voting on marijuana legalization? The proposal failed, of course, but we can still count on this longstanding smoke shop for all of our green needs. Hemptations celebrated its anniversary year by opening a third location in Corryville’s HiRise Deli building. Two decades later, they’re still the biggest purveyors of hemp apparel, accessories and body care — and other goodies — in the area. Hemptations, 2034 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-871-4367; 11353 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513524-4367; 2824 Jefferson Ave., Corryville, 513-569-0420,

Shopping at Joseph-Beth Makes a Huge Difference • You support local jobs • You keep your tax dollars in the community • You favor uniqueness, individuality & independence • You endow a gathering place for sharing ideas • You endorse the talents of local authors & artisans

BEST SISTER ACT Crafty and creative sisters Melyssa, Michele and Christine (plus shop dog Dakota) opened Grainwell, a wood-centric décor studio, in Covington last year. The trio produces oneof-a-kind items crafted from hand-selected, quality woods — birch, walnut, pine — sourced from uncommon outlets, including old barns. Find hand-designed, -built and -finished authentic wood accents for your home, including state-name coasters, etched bourbon barrel lids, live-edge air plant holdB e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 0 3

j onn s c h e n z and t h i s y e ar ’ s w h i t e h ous e e as t e r bunn i e s   |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

• • Photo Courtesy of Robin McKerrell Photography

Recognized in Salon Today as a Top 200 Salon in 2015!

BEST EASTER BUNNY COSTUME Since 1967, Schenz Theatrical Supply has designed, manufactured and rented out all kinds of costumes, from theater wardrobes to Halloween getups to mascot characters. But a few costumes are just too precious to rent out — three bunny costumes, to be exact. Owner Jonn Schenz — quite possibly the most interesting human ever — has provided his handmade Easter bunny costumes to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll since 1981. Over the years, Schenz has met every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama — he personally delivers the rabbit suits to ensure proper care. Schenz Theatrical Supply, 2959 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, 513-542-6100,

Thank you Cincy/Nky for voting us among the BEST of 2016! TOP THREE IN: Best Hair Salon & Best Skin Care 1 0 4   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

ers and great and grainy home hangings with the name of any city or state. And if you need to see your name in maple, they can do that, too. Grainwell, 316 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., 859-415-4955,

concentrated effort to connect the greyhound community and educate people about the breed and racing. Currently adoptable dogs are viewable online. Homeward Bound Greyhound Association,



Greyhound racing is still a thing in states like Alabama and Florida, where these long and lean sighthounds spend a couple of years hanging out in group kennels, getting ear tattoos and chasing lures around a racetrack while people bet on them. After they retire, they need forever homes, which is where local greyhound rescue groups like Homeward Bound Greyhound Association come in. The nonprofit HBGA takes frequent trips down to Birmingham to scoop up the pups that have tapped out of track life to bring them back to Cincinnati to find fosters and families. Their extensive network of dedicated foster parents help transition these surprisingly lazy beasts from track life to home life (teaching them to use stairs, not run into glass doors, that cats are our friends, etc.) so that you can take them home and give them a second chance at being a normal dog. HBGA also makes a

Since 1869, the National Flag Company has called Cincinnati home, opening its headquarters in the West End under the watch of Walton Craig, Sr., Frederick Spencer and two seamstresses. By 1894, their primary product was made-to-order flags and patriotic decorations — in fact, in 1909, they manufactured the largest unofficial U.S. flag to date (the city of Pittsburg purchased the 750-pound, 80-by-160-foot wool behemoth). With their rich history as a foundation — and after surviving the Great Depression and great Ohio River flood (it took out the first two floors of their old building) — today the National Flag Company specializes in all styles of flags: championship banners, silk-screened logo flags, handheld parade pieces and more. And, of course, you can still rely on them to produce the old stars-and-stripes in a variety of sizes, as well as flags to pay tribute to our armed forces. National Flag Company, 1819

Join us!

Tuesdays 3 - 7pm May - October

downtown Wyoming

MontgoMery CyClery L o w e s t P r i c e s G ua r a n t e e d • F u L L s e rv i c e s h o P / F r e e r e Pa i r e s t i m at e s

thank You cityBeat readers for voting us

Best Bicycle shop 16 years in a row!

west chester


8975 Cincinnati-Columbus Rd. (513) 779-6767

8483 Beechmont Ave. (513) 474-5888


western hills

3708 Dixie Hwy. (859) 342-7300

the Bicycle for me is at montgomery cyclery!

3301 Westbourne Dr. 513-574-1305


9449 Montgomery Rd. (513) 793-3855


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Bikes Rental e on l Availab land e the Lov l Trai B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 0 5

The “Best” Jewelry Store in Cincinnati is getting

bigger and better! From peewee to professional & every athlete in between!

SportS Acupuncture Now in Hyde Park

Coming Soon - The brand new store and location in Downtown Cincinnati.

3665 Erie Ave, • Cincinnati, OH 45208

sabrina is your

SportS WellneSS SpeciAliSt || 513-378-8347

1 0 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

6th and Main • Cincinnati, OH 45202 513.241.3510 •

Thanks for Voting us Best Jeweler in Cincinnati as well as Best Place To Buy Your Engagement Ring!

j e r e m i a h g r i s w old o f w h i t e w h al e t a t t oo |   P h o t o : jesse f o x

Create Something Amazing Today!

• Global & Ethically Traded • Fine Fabric • Beautiful Yarn • Hand-crafted Gifts • Beginner & Advanced Classes

thank you cincinnati and our creative community for voting us


arts & crafts classes

6106 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45224

BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR TATTOO SHOP Jeremiah Griswold of White Whale Tattoo, a private studio near Walnut Hills, shades the Venn diagram between self-expression and social justice. While living in Guatemala, he began an apprenticeship at a prison in La Limonada, one of the country’s largest slums, doing cover-up tattoos for former gang members starting a new life. With a Master of Arts degree and a passion for literature — hence the Herman Melville reference in his studio’s name — his exceptional tattoos showcase masterful linework and a doyen’s understanding of the intricacies of flora, fauna and architecture (see amazing skin-and-ink renderings of Music Hall on his site). The most common phrase we hear: “I don’t want to tell anyone about it in case I can’t get in to see him!” So get in while you can, and give back: Ten percent of White Whale profits go to support organizations for the economically disadvantaged. Contact to learn how to schedule a private consultation. White Whale Tattoo, 513-374-0429,

Freeman Ave., West End, 513-721-0285,

BEST WAY TO RAISE THE DEAD To call Jeremy Johnson a Renaissance man would be apt. An artist, naturalist, educator and philosopher, Johnson helms local group Meddling with Nature — technically a taxidermy shop, but also so much more. The aim of Meddling with Nature is to use art and events to recall the wonder of the Victorian Era and Age of Enlightenment in regard to medicine, the natural world and the human condition. Taxidermy acts as a functional educational tool — see articulated skeletons, understand how bones fit under skin, examine still peacocks, etc. But Johnson also takes a more hands-on approach in his performance-art-style naturalist classes, like his dissection dinners, where you engage by physically dissecting an organ to understand the biological processes of animals, gaining respect for your meal in the process. Or his

mounting workshops, where you learn to mount your own entomological specimen. The goal is to educate, interact and understand the wonder of life, all while looking at dead stuff. Meddling with Nature, 513-2079760,

BEST PLACE TO GET BEAUTIFIED H-TO-T Forget about driving around town to separate salons to get your nails, hair, makeup and skin ready for a special event. Alba Organic Beauty Studio’s Cincy Style Bar is the one-stop shop for beauty services. This catch-all salon and spa has clients covered from head to toe, literally, using organic, natural and non-toxic products. Enjoy one or all of the services offered at the Hyde Park salon, including individually customized airbrush tanning, manicures and pedicures, blow outs, make-up application and eyelash extensions. Get the glam squad experience and step out feeling extra fab for your next

513.541.3700 •

Family Owned & Operated since 1890 ●

annuals & perennials


veggie plants

rose bushes

open year round Thanks for voting us the BEST Plant Store/Nursery in Cincinnati!

4944 Gray Road ● Cincinnati (513) 541-0672 ● B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 0 7

t h e c i n c i nna t i publ i c l i brar y ’ s ma i n bran c h ma k e rspa c e  |  P h o t o : P RO V I D E D

Isn’t it time for you to quit smoking? What

We are conducting a clinical research study to test an investigational medication that may help people quit smoking.


Female smokers, who have smoked 10 or more cigarettes / day for the past 30 days, between ages 18 and 75 and in generally good health may be eligible to participate.


UC 45-15

Participants will receive study medication, smoking cessation support and counseling, study-related exams and compensation for time and travel.


For more information, contact Ron at or call (513) 659-9741.




Thank you

for your conTinued supporT, cincinnaTi!




7835 Camargo road, madeira, ohio 45243

(513)429-3110 In order to serve our valued clients even better, we have opened a new, expanded salon just steps away from our original location! In our larger space, we are better able to welcome walk in clients at any time, as well as providing space for private parties! We are your destination for a ladies night or any special occasion. Gentlemen, don’t feel left out- we are excited to provide you with the best care as well!

BEST PLACE TO RECORD MUSIC, 3-D PRINT STUFF AND SEW A DRESS FOR FREE* The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is one of the largest, busiest libraries in the country, but many overlook some of its most valuable resources. Sure, the library’s 41 neighborhood branches provide a quiet space to read, work and research, popular educational children’s activities books and other media to check out. But the Main Library downtown is home to the super-cool (and super-underutilized) MakerSpace, a creative place with tools and equipment that aren’t readily available to most folks. We’re talking high-tech machines like 3-D printers, a book binder and digital audio, video and photography stations, plus sewing workspaces, button makers and a vinyl cutter. Best of all, it’s free for library members. All you have to do is reserve a station online (for up to an hour) and *bring or buy your own materials (think sewing kits and fabric, vinyl and acrylic sheets and 3-D printing resin). The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-369-6900,

night out. Alba Organic Beauty Studio, 2882 Wasson Road, Hyde Park, 513-631-2522,


We truly appreciate this award for Best Manicure/ pedicure, and look forward to seeing you soon! 1 0 8   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

Having a memorable brand ambassador is key to marketplace recognition, and Goshen-based Honey Sweetie Acres has quite the collection of mascots: a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. This holistic skincare and goat-milk soap producer is a ubiquitous presence at the City Flea, as is their coterie of itty, bitty adorable baby goats, which you can pet and play with! A smart marketing ploy if we’ve ever seen one. And once these kids grow up, they become producers of artisan, natural and sustainable body products — everything from goat-milk soaps scented with high-quality essential oils and botanicals to unscented lotions and pet products. The natural ingredients in Honey

Sweetie items are also selected with health benefits in mind; look for soaps to help treat eczema, fight infection, boost your mood and more. Available online, at select Whole Foods and at local markets. Honey Sweetie Acres,

BEST FRETTED-Instrument RESTORATION WIZARD Luthier Chris Sisson of Northside’s Restoration Guitar has been making stringed instruments since he was 15 and repairing fretted instruments for more than 30 years. His new Northside workshop is an open retail location where customers can come in with an instrument that needs anything from a simple adjustment to a complex structural repair. Sisson will refinish and restore treasured vintage guitars to like-new or help turn a standard piece into the instrument of your imagination. Talk him through your dream modifications and he can help you manifest

Hat Speaks!


Voted #1 Wine Store in Northern Kentucky!

Derby Hats Coming to Mannequin Boutique starting april 1 1311 Main Street, Otr 513-813-3982  12 - 7 Wed thru Sat ● 12 - 4 On Sun


You save money in KY! Shop our incredible selection of over 3,000 wines all at the lowest prices in town. FREE WINE TASTINGS

424 Alexandria Pike, Fort Thomas • Exit 2 of 1-471 670 West Third St., Covington • One minute from Downtown


,4 Every Friday

We Specialize in: all Types of nail enhancements Manicure/Pedicure • Shellac Gel Polish We alSo offer: Facials • Waxing


HarPer’s Point

rookWood eXCHanGe

oakLey station



3831 eDWarDS rD


CInCInnATI, Oh 45209

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CInCInnATI, Oh 45209





1 1 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

LARGE PRIVATE AREA FOR GROUP PARTIES Corporate Events • Bridal Parties • Birthday Parties 10% Discount for Groups of 6 or More

$5 off

any $25 or More serviCe

Expires 5/25/2016

Good only with coupon. not good with other offers or discounts. 513-924-9900

THE CH O C O L A TE B EE  |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

BEST SWEET COLLABORATION Could this tag team BEE any sweeter? The Chocolate Bee is the collective home of two enticing companies: Chocolats Latour and Bee Haven, which opened their new brick-and-mortar space — featuring a full-time commercial kitchen and retail area — in November 2015. Chocolats Latour concocts fair-trade, gourmet chocolates made with local ingredients like juniper, lavender and Coffee Emporium coffee, while Bee Haven is a honey-lovers’ dream, offering products like beeswax lanterns, candles and lip balms made with the help of the owners’ own beehives. The Chocolate Bee, 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside,

that musical reality, while still maintaining the value of the original piece. Restoration Guitar, 4141-3 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-373-8629,

BEST WEDDING INVITES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN DONE TO DEATH ON PINTEREST While the stationery boutique Poeme sells greeting cards, fine stationery and other gifts, the shop’s specialty is wedding invitations, programs and place cards that are beautiful — and 100 percent you. Poeme designers can help with your design projects to make your wedding as personal and creative as you want, whether you want minimalist programs, adorable menu signage or Pop art-inspired invites. Poeme, 3446 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4999,

BEST LOCAL ALTERNATIVE TO ETSY Discover local artisans and their products without having to leave your couch (or put on pants!). Online shopping site Made in Cincinnati is like Etsy for local makers, featuring more than two-dozen artisans and craftspeople from the Tristate area.

Find products from CGCeramics, Chimera Shrubs, Rock Salt Vintage, Wendigo Tea Co. and many more; you’ll lose track of time sifting through an ever-expanding inventory of clothes, décor, food, art, paper goods, jewelry and other intriguing treasures. Bonus: The Internet never closes. Made in Cincinnati is a People’s Liberty project grantee — the philanthropic lab chooses eight grantees twice a year to create solutions to civic challenges, in addition to many other projects. The founder also happens to be the senior editor of CityBeat. Made in Cincinnati,

BEST TRANSPARENCY IN LOUNGEWEAR The only transparency you want when it comes to sweatpants is the maker’s business practices. And thankfully Victor Athletics produces men’s and women’s U.S.-made organic (non-see-through) sweatpants, hoodies and T-shirts with a mission to keep manufacturing jobs in the country and use sustainable materials and systems. Victor even invests five percent of its post-tax profit back into its factory workers (based in Tennessee). The athletic/loungewear brand recently opened a storefront space in OTR. Prepare yourself



by Cincinnati’s City Beat

YEARS IN A ROW Thank you for choosing Pendleton Pilates! We love what we do, and we love our Cincinnati community. B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 1 1

B EWH A U S D O G B O N E S   |   P h o t o : J E S S E F O X

Feel Stuffed...Overwhelmed? In Pain...Still Smoking? It is time to do something different!


Certified Medical Hypnotist Margaret Arthur RN, C.HT., EFT-ADV


Now Innati Cincin

¬ do you have stress/tension/pain? ¬ fed up with "big chain" massage? ¬ get personalized service from local small business. 816 Delta Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45226 • Mt. Lookout

(513) 592-1241 •

BEST BREWERY DOG BONES Although Brewhaus Dog Bones are completely non-alcoholic, local breweries play a huge role in the small-batch dog treat company, a nonprofit run by young adults with developmental disabilities. Mt. Carmel, Bad Tom Smith, Rhinegeist and an ever-expanding list of others donate their spent brew grains, which founder Lisa Graham picks up on brewing days and delivers to Brewhaus’ headquarters New Richmond Exempted School to make dog bones. The school’s students — dubbed the Brewhaus Brew Crew — concoct the treats in the school’s industrial-size kitchen and deliver them to retail locations like the Party Source and Earthwise Pet Supply. Each bag of bones even names the breweries from which their grains came and the Brew Crew member who packaged them. Brewhaus Dog Bones,

for a little initial sticker shock — America’s penchant for cheap clothing made in China has skewed our perception of costs — but know that your money is making a huge impact, and you’re actually getting factory-direct savings. Victor comes from the folks behind small-batch jean company Noble Denim, also built on ethical work practices. Victor Athletics Club, 1405 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine,

BEST VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY FOR ANIMAL LOVERS For 30 years, Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship has been providing horse-related therapies and activities to children and adults with disabilities — and they need your help. Volunteers are needed to work with individual riders during each riding session, helping them tack and groom horses and walking beside them while on horseback. Volunteer opportunities are open to anyone 14 years and up; three training sessions are required before working with the riders. CTRH also offers a program for veterans with diagnoses including PTSD, 1 1 2   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

and working with as many local veterans as possible is a major goal of executive director Rob Seideman. Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship, 1342 State Route 50, Milford, 513-831-7050,

BEST WAY TO GET RID OF UNDERFRUMP We all know the feeling of an underfrump — it happens when your undershirt comes untucked and clumps up underneath your outerwear. Thankfully, Cincinnati local Daniel Redlinger has come up with a solution to squash the familiar fiend. His Jumper Threads brand uses soft, finely crafted Modal fabric to create breathable and formfitting undershirts. They’re a longer length than your typical T, helping them stay tucked in — and keeping you comfortable — all day long. You could even jump around in them and they’d stay in place. Jumper Threads,

BEST SHABBY CHIC UPCYCLERY Shop for chic furniture and decorations upcycled from older items at The Pink Hippo

Wyoming Wines

Best Gift Shop

1208 Springfield Pike

Tastings Every Friday and Saturday from 5-7 Wine of the Month Club JUST ARRIVED!

Local monthly artist Wide selection of craft beers Plant lined patio with free parking!


New designs and decor from around the globe. Lighten your space and brighten the day with handcrafted gifts of kindness and care.

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1000442 Offer valid at participating stores until 5/31/16. Not valid with other discounts, or on the purchase of gift cards, Oriental rugs, Traveler’s Finds or consumables. One coupon per store per customer.

2011 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208 Phone 513-871-5840 11316 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45249 Phone 513-802-5721

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BEST DAINTY WOODWORK Recently featured in HGTV Magazine, Lucca Laser Workshop works wonders with wood. Owner, designer and machinist Lindsey Estes specializes in laser-cut natural wood, leather and paper goods. She makes gifts and cute accessories such as wooden coasters, earrings, bookmarks, jars, cards and ornaments out of her OTR studio/shop, which features an envy-worthy vintage wooden filing cabinet as a counter. Want to incorporate natural wood into your wedding? Lucca also offers unique wedding details like memorable save-the-date magnets, intricate hair clips and bowties, even laser-cut leather flasks for the wedding party. Lucca Laser Workshop, 1342 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

in downtown Lebanon. Owner Jo Wise has had a knack for interior design since playing with and decorating her Barbie mansion as a child. Now, she collects products fashioned by local artists out of recycled items, and revamps antique furniture herself in order to stock her store with eco-friendly merchandise. Rather than being mass-produced, Wise’s creations are custom painted, vintage and pretty adorable. The Pink Hippo, 31 E. Mulberry St., Lebanon, 513-836-3738.

BEST SECOND-CHANCE MANUFACTURING COMPANY Building brands, creating jobs and changing lives is an ambitious mission to tackle, but Nehemiah Manufacturing soundly delivers. The company, which licenses brands and innovates new concepts, is committed to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the inner city while giving its employees a second chance at success. Its passionate team welcomes what it describes as “hard-to-hire” candidates: individuals without work histories or with records that are blemished in some way. By working together, employees pave the way for an even better Cincinnati while simultaneously painting a bright future

for themselves. Nehemiah Manufacturing,

BEST BIT OF INDIA YOU CAN HOLD What reminds you of home? Cincinnatibased Rajovilla designer Joya Logue used memories from visiting her father’s family home in India, called “Rajovilla,” to create designs for her beautiful line of hand-painted clutches of the same name. All printed with eco-friendly ink and handmade by Logue, the designs are a showcase of whimsical patterns, striking watercolors and floral motifs. Logue’s handbags make her family home seem like a dreamland — is it weird that we’re all dying to visit it now? Rajovilla,

BEST PLACE TO FIND WEST COAST-INSPIRED COMFORT Is there anything better than lounging around the city in summertime in an airy cotton caftan? No. They are stylish and comfortable, especially when sourced from Idlewild Woman. The sister shop of madeto-keep menswear store Article, Idlewild celebrates the comfort and creativity of B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 1 5

Queen City Comics Pleasant Ridge 6101 Montgomery Rd 513.351.5674 Queen City Comics Fairfield 6600 Dixie Highway Suite V 513.860.5805

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modern women through a curated selection of clothing and homegoods. Find light and loose dresses from hippie-chic Free People, denim from Nashville’s Imogene + Willie, hand-thrown stoneware from Mazama, structured geometrics from Steven Alan and indigo wool blankets from Maya Mueble. You’ll feel straight-out-of-L.A. in an embroidered boho blouse while grabbing a cold-pressed juice from nearby Off the Vine juice bar. Idlewild Woman, 1230 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-4059,

BEST HOMEMADE ART KIT FOR GROWNUPS Beth Kalinsky’s hand-dyed scarves and pillows are a beautiful accent for any outfit or room, but half of the magic in her items are the processes by which they’re made. Now you can experience the fun by making hand-dyed textiles yourself with indigo dye kits from Kalinsky’s line Eliza Dot Design. It contains everything you need to dye three to five of your own pieces at home. You even have the option to include a Shibori Indigo wrap, hand-dyed at Eliza Dot Design studio for inspiration. It’s the perfect opportunity to destress and feel like a kid again as you experience the magic of dipping previously drab accessories into a vat for a one-of-a-kind creation. Eliza Dot Design,,

BEST WAY TO GET YOUR DREAM WEDDING DRESS ON A BUDGET High-end consignment boutique LUXEredux Bridal offers gently used designer wedding gown without the big price tags. Designers like Vera Wang, Pronovias, Badgley Mischka and more are all represented and affordable — tons of options under $1000. There’s also a collection of gowns for bridal parties and mothers to chose from. The LUXE In-ABOX program is designed for shoppers who can’t make it to the store — or those who have public dressing room anxiety. Just choose three bridal gowns online to try on at home and send back what doesn’t work. LUXEredux Bridal is also always accepting gently used designer gowns. Face it: You’re not going to wear it again, but someone else might! LUXEredux Bridal Boutique, 203 W. Benson St. Reading, 513-550-3531,

BEST CROWD-PLEASING CATERER WITH NO SURPRISE FEES “What do you want to eat?” It can be an agonizing decision for a couple to make on a Thursday night, let alone for your wedding day. Jeannette’s Delicacies, based out of Beckett Ridge Country Club, takes a lot of the guesswork out of planning your catering needs. Jeannette Adams meets one-on-one with prospective clients for a no-pressure tasting, ready to put together any menu from fun to fancy. Mix and match appetizers, make dinner interactive with 1 1 6   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

pasta and curry chef stations, assemble your dream taco spread — the options are really endless. And if you’re still struggling to agree on a menu, she’ll offer thoughtful suggestions to ensure everyone leaves full, from that certain adult you know who only eats chicken fingers to your gluten-free vegan bestie. Best of all, everything from China and glassware to reception planning and cleanup is included — no gotcha fees to worry about while you’re on your honeymoon. Jeannette’s Delicacies, 5595 Beckett Ridge Blvd., West Chester, 513-309-7973,

BEST PLACE TO TREAT YO’SELF Take a break from daily stress and enjoy an affordable custom facial from Giovanni Finocchiaro, the owner of Face It Spa. This spa specializes in bringing dull skin back to life, whether you only have a lunch break or you’re dedicating a Saturday morning to facial rejuvenation. This urban spa can treat acne and acne scarring, rosacea and dry, sensitive or aging skin. If you are on a time crunch, go for the De-stressing Treatment, a quick 10- or 20-minute session to relieve tension and awaken the senses. Giovanni takes care to tailor each client’s facial to their specific needs. Face It Spa, 229 W. Ninth St., Downtown, 513-981-1608,

BEST VET HELPING CINCINNATI PETS AND THEIR PEOPLE For pet owners, animals play a huge role in life — they’re like family members. It’s no different for people living in poverty. Pets in Need is a nonprofit that recognizes this and makes affordable veterinary care available to area low-income families. The organization helps hundreds of pet owners take care of their fur babies with inexpensive exams, vaccines, testing, flea and heartworm prevention — even a monthly pet food supply. All enrolled pets must be spayed or neutered, and Pets in Need provides vouchers for those procedures at local clinics. Because everyone should know the love of a pet, regardless of their income. Pets in Need, 520 W. Wyoming Ave., Lockland, 513-7617387,

BEST PLACE TO PRETEND YOU’RE JOANNA GAINES Is Joanna Gaines your spirit animal? Are you obsessed with HGTV’s Fixer Upper? You don’t have to get on the show to transform an ordinary space into an industrial-meetsfarmhouse Waco wonderland — simply walk into Elm & Iron to have everything you need at your fingertips. From one-of-a-kind furniture and décor — wood installations, pillows, light fixtures, bookends and standard pieces like cabinets, tables and chairs — to vintage accessories like street signs and typewriters, the opportunities to redesign your home are endless, whether you’re giving a room a simple facelift or are tackling a larger project. It’s a great place to get inspired even if you

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(an ancient Chinese practice that’s been popular with celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Lena Dunham), spiritual counseling and visualization therapy for a fully holistic approach to wellness. Qi Therapeutics, 3665 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-378-8347,

BEST WAY TO CUDDLE WITH CHARLEY HARPER ANIMALS For more than three decades, Fabulous Frames & Art has sold the work of late Cincinnati artist Charley Harper. Now, that selection is more expansive than ever — the store recently launched, giving customers access to hundreds of unique Harper-inspired items. Merchandise ranges from wall décor, framed minis, art, glass and jewelry to books, phone cases, umbrellas and figurines. There’s even stuff for kids: puzzles, games, T-shirts and (adult-friendly) coloring books. Particularly intriguing is the sites’ selection of fabrics — imagine a quilt covered with dozens of Harper animals! Their fat quarter bundle features Harper’s penguins, cardinals, giraffes, koalas, foxes, ladybugs and more.

BEST REASON TO INVEST IN A TABLE IKEA is a cool place to get lost and eat hot dogs, but it’s not the best choice to find unique and personal furniture. Instead, venture to Camp Washington’s Brush Factory, a workshop established by partners Rosie Kovacs and Hayes Shanesy that specializes in solid wood construction. Winners of last year’s ArtWorks Big Pitch entrepreneurship competition, the pair hopes to inspire their customers by giving them the power to connect to their surroundings, like through their bff collection, handcrafted solid wood furniture with the goal of reflecting the values of “friendship and the connection made while enjoying a meal and friendly conversation.” The result is a product that is entirely unique — and, unlike IKEA, you don’t have to put it together yourself and give up half way through. Brush Factory,

don’t make a purchase; before you know it, you’ll be giving Jo and Chip a run for their money. Now, if only someone local sold shiplap. Elm & Iron, 1326 Vine St., Over-theRhine, 513-954-4217,

BEST OUTDOOR OUTFITTER FOR FORTIFIED FISHERMEN Before opening Steinkamp Outfitting in June 2015, owner Bernie Steinkamp was a guide on Idaho’s Snake River. After coming to Cincinnati, the experienced fly fisherman and his father renovated the building at 2813 Woodburn Ave. and turned it into a haven of all-things outdoors. Although the store specializes in well-established fly-fishing gear, shoppers can also browse outfitting and camping items like canoes, tents, backpacks and clothing — perfect for you city-folk who like spending weekends at Red River Gorge. Steinkamp Outfitting, 2813 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-961-2267.

BEST LOCAL YARN PROVIDER The brainchild of Dashiemouse and Mr. Mouse (aka husband-and-wife duo Alexandra and David Parks), Dashing Mouse

Designs was established to fill a void in the yarn world: man-friendly, hand-dyed and high-quality sock yarn. Browse spools of yarn in every color imaginable and download patterns online for items like baby socks, hats, scarves and headbands. The Mouses truly put love into all that they create; yarn is dyed on the stovetop in their kitchen, orders are packaged in their bedroom and everything sold is something Dashie regularly uses herself. Shop online or at Silk Road Textiles (6106 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill). Dashing Mouse Designs,

BEST SPORTS THERAPIST TO THE STARS THAT YOU CAN USE, TOO Sabrina Brunner once provided massage and acupuncture therapy to professional athletes in Cincinnati — players from the Bengals, Reds, Cyclones and ATP tour. Now, she’s back in Cincinnati and offering her healing services at Qi Therapeutics to anyone with sports-related pain and injuries, not just the pros. Other services outside of acupuncture and massage include cupping

BEST INFLUENTIAL DESIGN HUB Local design/lifestyle store and studio HighStreet set up shop at the intersection of Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton and Mount Auburn in 2006, long before the now-trendy area was filled with bars, boutiques — oh, and that casino. And in the past 10 years, HighStreet hasn’t slowed down. The design hub has doubled in size, incorporating a furniture store and studio for commercial and residential design projects. While the shop boasts an impressive selection of eclectic interiors, hard-to-find books and magazines, men’s and women’s apparel, bath and body goods, its influence can also be seen outside its own walls. The multidisciplinary studio has taken on design projects for Sotto, Le Bar a Boeuf, Procter & Gamble and many more. HighStreet, 1401 Reading Road, Downtown, 513-723-1901,

BEST WAY TO BREAK UP THE WORK DAY What’s better than a bunch of baby animals? A bunch of baby animals in the middle of the workday. On select days, Uber has been piling puppies or kittens into a car and bringing them to people’s offices; all you had to do was open the Uber app, request “PUPPIES” or “KITTENS” and wait for your car to arrive to enjoy 15 minutes of cuddles and kisses. But it gets even better — the goal of Uber Puppies and Kittens (a service which we desperately hope they will continue to offer) is to assist local shelters and organizations and to find forever homes for animals in need. Many participating dogs and cats are available for adoption, and the events’ “snuggle fees” — between $15 and $30 — go straight to local shelters. For example, Cincinnati’s Uber Kittens and Puppies came from the League for Animal Welfare in Bata-

via, one of the largest no-kill shelters in the area. Uber,

BEST RARE SNEAKER SHOP Daaaaamn, Daniel! (Sorry.) If you’re in the market for a new pair of Vans in high-tops or prints or other rare sneakers like all-gold Converse or retro-style Jordans, make Corporate your first stop. Follow @Corporategotem on Twitter for frequent updates on shoes arriving in-store; recent shipments have included Vans Sk8 Hi Reissues, Air Jordan 2 Wing Its and selections from the Cashmere Thoughts collection. The boutique just opened a second location in OTR, making their selection of brands and limited designs bigger than ever. Corporate, 2643 Erie Ave., Hyde Park; 1323 Vine St., Overthe-Rhine,

BEST SUCCESSFUL SMALL BOUTIQUE CHAIN Since opening its initial Lebanon location in November 2013, boho-chic boutique Rose & Remington has opened two addition shops: one in Symmes Township and, most recently, a nearly 4,000-square-foot spot in Hyde Park Plaza. With more than 400 labels of women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories — both high-quality and affordable — customers can’t get enough of the shop, which has new items in stock daily. Motherand-daughter co-owners Dee Alexander and Kristin Ponchot constantly keep things fresh; check their Facebook page for sales and new arrivals. Cute and casual outfits abound, including plenty of summer music festival gear. Rose & Remington, 15 E. Main St., Lebanon, 513-228-0799; 9261 Governors Way, Loveland, 513-583-0088; 3764 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-914-5152,

BEST REASON TO FLY OUT OF CVG Cincinnati’s airport — yes, it’s in Kentucky, we’re over it — doesn’t always offer the least expensive flights, drawing some locals to drive as far as Columbus, Ohio or Louisville, Ky. to save. But low-cost carriers Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines are attracting more travelers and driving down the average prices at CVG. These airlines offer lower prices by cutting out certain perks like free snacks, baggage and seat selection (those all cost extra). So if you’re traveling alone with minimal baggage, these carriers can save you money… and a drive. Allegiant Air,; Frontier Airlines,

BEST SOLUTION FOR A FEAR OF WORKING OUT IN PUBLIC Do you know someone who spins at CycleBar? Do they sound obsessed? It’s because their classes are seriously fun and the results are real. For those who fear the gym, the idea of a group workout class is kind of terrifying. But at a CycleBar class, the lights are off, the music’s up, and the awesome instructors encourage you the whole time — you almost forget that you’re in a room with 30 other people. The cycling studio has a B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 1 7

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Congrats to the 2016 Best of Cincinnati winners! Find out why Citybeat named us “Best Place To Get Your Taxes Done Downtown”!


Of course we do personal & business taxes but, that is only part of it. We are open year round to handle all your IRS issues. From audits to back taxes and even bookkeeping. “ Best Place To Get Your Taxes Done Downtown”

CityBeat Newspaper Best of Cincinnati

1335 Main Street 513-744-9000 Authorized eFile Provider 1 1 8   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

BEST NEW SPOT TO PICK UP VINYL IN OTR After establishing its shop in Northside, Black Plastic opened a new store in Overthe-Rhine near MOTR Pub/Woodward Theater, giving the area another great musicbased attraction. Besides a great selection of LPs, the store also has a prolific stash of music T-shirts, the best of which are the Black Plastic-branded ones that graphically play off of the Black Flag logo and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover. Black Plastic, 1411 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 4027 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-258-0535,

friendly vibe that’s welcoming to newbies. This full-body workout will kick your butt and make you feel great at the same time. CycleBar, 2713 Edmondson Road, Norwood, 513-631-7433,

BEST WAY TO MOUNT YOUR TV WITHOUT RUINING YOUR WALL Go on YouTube and you’ll find tons of videos instructing you how to mount your own TV — and tons of “epic fails.” When elevating your living room to home-theater status, it’s best to go with a professional. On Wall TV Install is an affordable option for television and speaker mounting promising the “no wires look.” Save by providing your own brackets and wires or let them supply the materials. They’re in and out in no time (and leave no mess behind), so you’ll be ready to Netflix and chill in style. On Wall TV Install, 859-393-1449,

BEST FANNY PACK ALTERNATIVE BANDI Wear’s sleek, colorful pocket belts look more like intentional fashion statements than what they really are — inconspicuous packs to carry things like your keys, cash

and phone. This way, you can store your stuff without sacrificing your style. Dreamt up by a pair of active moms and launched in 2012, the shop offers belts in dozens of different styles, as well as classic and large sizes with matching extenders. Simply snap a belt around your waist and you’re ready to go. BANDI Wear also makes pocketed headbands, which are perfect for storing necessities while jogging or at the gym. BANDI Wear,

BEST BOUTIQUE INVESTING IN ITS EMPLOYEES She’s All That Boutique, which opened in Northern Kentucky last summer, has found a unique way to serve local young women. Not only does the adorable shop sell cute dresses, trendy accessories and monogramable goodies girls (young and old) love, but She’s All That is dedicated to the pursuit of higher education. The shop employs young women from under-resourced communities and matches them with mentors to help them make and achieve goals in and outside of work. All of the store’s profits are put directly into scholarship funds for the employees. She’s All That Boutique, 2508 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-3311292.



for more info, visit: 5th LARGEST firm in Ohio 63rd LARGEST in the country HELPED

7000+ FAMILIES ACHIEVE THEIR REAL ESTATE DREAMS IN 2015 Leading the way home for 69 years

Western Hills Office | 6460 Harrison Ave., Suite 100 | Cincinnati, Ohio 45247 | 513.429.4290 Hyde Park Office | 3651 Michigan Ave., | Cincinnati, Ohio 45208 | 513.301.0340 Downtown (Metro) Office | 1118 Pendleton St. Suite 440 | Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 | 513.492.4290 Florence Office | 71 Cavalier Blvd. #319 | Florence, Kentucky 41042 | 859.667.6077

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Try our award winning Goetta!

Historic Findlay Market 513-721-5743 •

Full Service Butcher Shop. Quality Steaks, Fresh Poultry, Bison, Lamb, Pork and Veal. Homemade Sausages and Smoked Bacon.

Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen

One dish or an entire meal... Delicious & Nutritious! We have lots of great choices for your grill or oven: • Chicken Burgers, Turkey Burgers, Marinated Chicken Breasts • Cuban or Mediterranean Vegan Burgers • Beef, Pork, AND Chicken Meatballs • Soups, Salads and Sides

Think of us for your holiday entertaining!

FEATURING: Homemade Salads • Deli Meats • Specialty Bakery Breads • Raviolis • Frozen Food INSIDE HISTORIC FINDLAY MARKET

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Come and see our full selection. You’re sure to find something for everyone at your table!

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Located inside Findlay Market at 1801 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 Buffalo Mac and Cheese

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#1 FARMERS’ MARKET #2 Specialty Food Market #2 Place to Take a Visitor

#2 Place to Shop Green #3 Grocery Stores Open Tues - Fri 9a-6p, Sat 8a-6p, Sun 10a-4p

1801 Race St, Cincinnati OH 45220

p i g r idin g C a ro l A n n’s C a rou s e l at s m a l e r i v e r f ro n t pa r k  |  Photo: JES SE F OX


Cincinnati Neighborhood 1 / Over-the-Rhine 2 / Hyde Park 3 / Northside 4 / Clifton 5 / Oakley 6 / Pleasant Ridge 7 / Mount Adams 8 / Mount Lookout 9 / East Walnut Hills 10 / College Hill

Apartment Community 1 / American Can Lofts 2 / Harper’s Point 3 / Current at the Banks

Local App 1 / Cincinnati Library; Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (TIE) 2 / Roadtrippers 3 /

Bed and Breakfast

Suburban Neighborhood

Running/Biking Event

1 / Clifton House B & B 2 / Gaslight Bed & Breakfast 3 / Symphony Hotel

1 / Blue Ash 2 / Mariemont 3 / Anderson

1 / Flying Pig Marathon 2 / Girls on the Run 5k 3 / Hyde Park Blast



Fountain Square Event

1 / 3CDC 2 / Urban Sites 3 / Fisher Homes

1 / University of Cincinnati 2 / Xavier University 3 / Northern Kentucky University

1 / Oktoberfest 2 / Taste of Cincinnati 3 / MidPoint Indie Summer Series


MBA Program

Washington Park Event

1 / Union Terminal 2 / Music Hall 3 / Carew Tower

1 / University of Cincinnati 2 / Xavier University 3 / Northern Kentucky University

1 / Lumenocity 2 / The City Flea 3 / MidPoint Music Festival

Church Festival

Charity Festival/Event

Findlay Market Vendor

1 / Panegyri Greek Festival 2 / St. Cecilia 3 / St. Rita Fest

1 / The Rusty Ball 2 / Cincinnati Pride 3 / Zoofari

1 / Blue Oven Bakery 2 / Pho Lang Thang 3 / Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices

Northern Kentucky Neighborhood 1 / Covington 2 / Newport 3 / Fort Thomas

Music Festival/Event

Free Attraction

1 / Bunbury Music Festival 2 / Lumenocity 3 / Midpoint Music Festival

1 / Cincinnati Art Museum 2 / Smale Riverfront Park 3 / WEBN Fireworks

B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 2 3

1 / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2 / Smale Riverfront Park 3 / Cincinnati Children’s Museum

Hiking Trail 1 / Cincinnati Nature Center 2 / Mount Airy Forest 3 / Miami Whitewater Forest

Jogging Route 1 / Lunken Airfield 2 / Loveland Bike Trail 3 / Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum

Local Start Up 1 / Roadtrippers 2 / Butcher Betties 3 / Frameri

Local Tour 1 / American Legacy Tours (Queen City Underground) 2 / Cincinnati Brewery Tours 3 / Cincy Brew Bus

BEST New Thing 1 / Cincinnati Streetcar 2 / Red Bike 3 / Braxton Brewing Company

BEST Old Thing

Public Artwork

1 / Union Terminal 2 / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 3 / Music Hall

1 / ArtWorks Murals 2 / Tyler Davidson Fountain 3 / Mosaic Murals at the Cincinnati Museum Center

Park (City) 1 / Ault Park; Smale Riverfront Park (TIE) 2 / Washington Park 3 / Eden Park

Park (County) 1 / Cincinnati Nature Center 2 / Sharon Woods 3 / Miami Whitewater Forest

Place to Take a Visitor 1 / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2 / Findlay Market 3 / Cincinnati Reds Game

Place to Kill Time While Waiting for a Table in OTR 1 / Washington Park 2 / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 3 / The Lackman

Playground 1 / Smale Riverfront Park 2 / Washington Park 3 / Sawyer Point

16 17 season

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Kid-Friendly Attraction

Private School 1 / Cincinnati Waldorf School 2 / St. Xavier High School 3 / The Summit Country Day School

Public School 1 / Walnut Hills High School 2 / Oak Hills High School 3 / The School for Creative and Performing Arts at the Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education

Summer Camp 1 / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2 / Camp Kern 3 / Camp Joy

Scenic Overlook 1 / Eden Park 2 / Devou Park 3 / Ault Park

Weekend Getaway (Within 100 Miles)

1 / Hocking Hills 2 / Red River Gorge 3 / Louisville, Ky. 4 / Yellow Springs 5 / Kentucky Bourbon Trail 6 / Indianapolis, Ind. 7 / Lexington, Ky. 8 / Nashville, Ind. 9 / Hueston Woods (Oxford) 10 / Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.

The legend of georgia mcbride by Matthew Lopez

sept 6 – 25, 2016

brownsville song (b-side for Tray) by Kimber Lee

oct 11 – 30, 2016

cinderella: afTer ever afTer by Joseph Mcdonough, David Kisor & Fitz Patton

nov 30 – dec 30, 2016

To be announced jan 17 – feb 5, 2017

when we were young and unafraid by Sarah Treem



feb 21 – march 12, 2017

echo locaTion by Carter W. Lewis

april 4 – 23, 2017 regina pugh in the other place | photo by ryan Kurtz

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URBAN LIFE // STAFF PICKS BEST URBAN ALTERNATIVE TO L AWN MOWERS “Goatscaping” — literally using goats as landscapers — is one of the more adorable ways local parks have been maintaining urban forests and greenspaces recently. Covington’s Goebel Park enlisted 10 goats last year as mobile groundskeepers to trim their grass and eat invasive plants (they’ve become so popular, they even have their own Facebook page: And now these hungry ruminants are helping clear ivy and weeds at historic Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. The herd of seven will be grazing in the Northwest corner of Spring Grove’s woodland preserve until they consume an acre of vegetation — an experiment to see how well this type of permaculture works for the cemetery. And they’re being overseen by Permaculture Guru owner Mike Woeste, whose company now offers goat rental services to the public. Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, 4521 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-681-7526,,

BEST REASON TO UNPLUG AND SHUT UP FOR A SECOND In a world where it’s not uncommon to be staring at some type of screen — computer, TV or phone — for at least three-quarters of your waking hours, constantly bombarded by a rapid succession of audio-visual stimuli, it’s easy to forget the universe exists outside of your iPhone. City Silence, a locally based international network, hopes to reconnect people to themselves and their community through barrier-free introductions to meditation and mindfulness practices. The free events have taken place locally at public spaces like Washington Park, the downtown library

and the Contemporary Arts Center and ask that people sit for a few minutes (or more) in silence, unplugged from all digital devices. The goal is to notice what you smell, hear, taste and feel and become present in the moment, turning on your human capacity for stillness, wonder, focus, creativity, compassion and awe. City Silence,

BEST NEW BACKYARD BAR Last summer, before the All-Star Game, Washington Park opened a new feature: an awesome elevated bar and deck, nestled underneath some shady trees between the dog park and spray ground. The 3,000-square-

foot space features comfortable and colorful Adirondack chairs and other lounge seating, plus a full bar: beer, wine, liquor and local drafts, including MadTree, Moerlein, Taft’s Ale House and Rhinegeist. It’s an excellent addition to OTR’s “backyard,” and a great space to grab a beer on weekends. Deck opens April 1. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

BEST INTERACTIVE QUEEN CITY RADIO HOUR At 1 p.m. every weekday, Mark Heyne takes over 91.7 WVXU to bring you Cincinnati Edition, an hour-long radio show that covers

relevant regional topics ranging from arts and culture to technology, start-ups, health, business and politics. The interviews are more than just sound bites and go in depth on recent topics including the revitalization of Price Hill, water pollution, child sex trafficking, homesteading and more — things relevant to our life here and the world abroad. The show also invites you to join the discussion by calling in or via Facebook and Twitter. WVXU,

BEST SIGN THAT DOGS ARE NOT SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS Emotional Support Animal truthers everywhere are up in arms about the lack of organization and federal regulation necessary to turn Chihuahuas into therapy dogs — just because they look cute in a harness with official-looking patches and can fit in a plane seat with you doesn’t necessarily mean they are in any way qualified to offer medical support. But the good news is that local businesses are starting to catch on to the fact that people want to take their dogs everywhere with them. Plenty of bar and restaurant patios B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 2 7


are already pup-friendly, including those at MadTree, Braxton, The Littlefield, Dutch’s, Cock & Bull, Keystone Bar & Grill, Hang Over Easy, BrewRiver GastroPub and more. If you have a dog that’s well behaved and on a leash, and the place has a patio, you can probably bring it — just call first to make sure. And many urban boutiques are now OK with canine companions, too. Heck, some, like Article, Hi-Bred Vintage and Grainwell, even have shop dogs.


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In 1987, someone dry-walled over a 1970s tile mural by famous Cincinnati artist Charley Harper at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Why someone would do that will likely remain a mystery. But thanks to renovations at the convention center in 2014, the colorful mural titled “Space Walk” was re-discovered. The 30,000-tile mural, valued at more than $1 million, breaks the wildlife mold of most of Harper’s work — it was inspired by Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. Its restoration was completed last November. Another public Harper mural, “Space for all Species,” is on display in the John Weld Peck Federal Building, also downtown. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, 513-419-7300,

BEST NEW WAY TO LOVE AN OLD BUILDING Armed with a grant from People’s Liberty and inspired by their own projects, Cincinnatians John Blatchford (general contractor and board member of the Over the Rhine Museum) and Alyssa McClanahan (a PhD candidate in history at the University of Cincinnati) launched KUNST Magazine, a quarterly print and online publication, last summer. Taking its name from the German word for “art,” KUNST specializes in long-form stories about renovations of the city’s historic buildings, as well as the people who love them, featuring how-to tips from developers, artists, designers and preservationists that are as high-quality as its pages. The magazine also details some of KUNST’s own management and renovation projects, like the Tailor Shop OTR, a three-apartment restoration of a former 1870s tailor shop. The magazine’s April edition will be available at 21c Museum Hotel, Findlay Market’s DIRT, GOODS on Main and the Taft Museum of Art. Kunst,

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— are improving the city by making funding available to all people, not just nonprofits or established organizations. So far, they’ve funded local music licensing companies, public dance projects, interactive urban history exhibits, mobile art experiences, app developers and everything in between. Powered by a blend of the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and the Johnson Foundation, they have five years of funding to change the state of the city and empower you to be part of it. The fall Project Grant application dates will be announced soon. People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513492-2659,

BEST WAY TO PRETEND YOU’RE RIDING A STREETCAR While we wait for the streetcar to officially open in September, we can still enjoy its 3.6-mile loop by walking it. Stops on the route, which connects The Banks to northern OTR, include popular attractions and a bevy of bars and restaurants; one could even make a Saturday of it, pretending to be a streetcar by embarking on the following quest: 10 a.m.  Start your morning with a cup of coffee at the Collective CAC Café inside the Contemporary Arts Center and explore Passage, Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s delicate fabric installation exhibit (museum admission is now free!). 11:30 a.m.  Stop for brunch at Taste of Belgium on the corner of 12th and Vine streets — a McWaffle and frites? 12:30 p.m.  Check out the action at Washington Park. Maybe there’s a City Flea or other festival, or grab a MadTree on the new concessions deck. 1:30 p.m.  Head to Findlay Market to pick up some late-afternoon picnic supplies. Blue Oven bread, cheese from Gibb’s, cold cuts from Silverglades and deli salads from Fresh Table. 2:30 p.m.  Continue down Elm Street to Rhinegeist. Climb up to the new rooftop deck and grab a Cougar from one of the 64 taps. 4 p.m.  If there’s a Reds game tonight, you could walk your ass all the way down to Smale Riverfront Park at The Banks and enjoy your packed picnic and swing on the riverfront Rosenberg Swings. 6 p.m.  Stop into the Moerlein Lager House for some pre-game tailgating and brews. 7:10 p.m.  Reds. 10 p.m.  Uber.


BEST way to get in touch with your wild side

Philanthropic lab People’s Liberty is a sort of positive creative urban hub throwing out dollars at everyday people with great ideas to change the city through art, tech, science, history, music and even tiny houses. Their three levels of funding — the Haile Fellowship, two one-year $100,000 civic sabbatical grants; Project Grants, eight bi-annual $10,000 grants for innovative community development projects; and Globe Grants, three $15,000 grants to transform PL’s storefront Globe Gallery into a pop-up exhibit

The Wolf Creek Habitat and Rescue in Brookville, Ind. can fulfill your desires of hanging out up close and personal with wolves. The sanctuary, which is only open on weekends, allows visitors to roam and pet all the wolves they want for a suggested donation of $30. If you’re feeling like more of an extended stay, there’s also the option to camp or rent a tipi on the property. Yes, that’s right. You can stay in a tipi on the same grounds as a pack of wolves. Also,  if you’re short on engagement photo ideas

r e d b ik e  |  Photo: jes se f ox

BEST THING NOT TO FORGET YOU RENTED Now with 50 locations ranging from Northside to Newport, the Red Bike program  is available mostly where you need it. At just $8 a day or $80 annually, it’s a very affordable way to have access to a bike at all times — just don’t forget to check it in every 60 minutes, or the late fees start piling up fast. You’ll shell out $4 for each additional 30 minutes past the check-in mark, up to $20 a day. If you somehow lose the bike entirely, it will set you back $1,200. Red Bike, 513-621-2453,

or just looking to update your LinkedIn profile pic, Wolf Creek offers the option of scheduling a photo op with a wolf. Just throwing it out there. Wolf Creek Habitat and Rescue, 14099 Wolf Creek Road, Brookville, Ind., 513-312-9143,

BEST WAY TO LEGALLY TRESPASS For one weekend in June, the East Row Garden Club’s garden walk allows participants to snoop though Newport residents’ private gardens. Outsiders are allowed to spend five hours wandering through gardens most likely much more impressive than their own on the grounds of homes in the East Row Historic District, full of Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and American Foursquare architecture from the area’s wealthy 19th-century residents. Visitors can use this special time to collect ideas and inspiration (but not actual flowers) for their own gardens. The walk celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. East Row Garden Club,

BEST EXCUSE TO DRINK BEFORE NOON For those who excel more at drinking than exercising, an early morning 8-mile run

might sound terrible. But put beer at the finish line and, well, that’s another story. The annual Hudepohl 14K Brewery Run weaves past some of the city’s oldest breweries, ending with the kickoff to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Each participant who crosses the finish line gets two beers, a Skyline cheese coney and the satisfaction of burning some of the mass amount of calories to be consumed during the rest of the day. And if a 14K is really out of reach, there’s also a 7K. Takes place in September. Hudy 14K Brewery Run,

BEST ATTRACTION ANTICIPATED BY EVANGELICALS Answers in Genesis, the nonprofit group behind the Creation Museum, is building a $34 million dollar ark — Noahstyle. The Ark Encounter, located 40 miles south of the controversial museum, will be a 510-foot-long and 50-foot-tall project that is just as much a theme park as it is an attempt by Evangelicals to prove that one man really could build a giant boat and fill it with every type of animal out there. The ark is set to open to the public this coming July. For a sneak peek and details of this odd attraction, check out the ark’s B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 2 9

a b o n o b o a t t h e c i n c i n n a t i z o o  |   P h o t o : j e s s e f o x



JOIN NOW AND GET THE FIRST MONTH FREE *May not be combined with any other offer. Only those who have never been members of the JCC qualify for this offer.

Open since 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is one of the top zoos in the nation, and it’s not just because we have cute baby gorillas. The zoo has a specific focus on education, sustainability and preservation. In fact, the team at the zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Animals (CREW), founded in 1986, birthed the first Sumatran rhino calf bred in captivity in 112 years (there are only about 100 left in the wild). They also work to protect polar bears, small cats, rare plants and other endangered and threatened wildlife. And all that takes money, which is why the zoo’s cleverly titled and sometimes painfully punny fundraising events are some of the best and most exclusive parties in town. You can’t go wrong with the fun of mixing wild animal encounters and alcohol at the almost-always-sold-out Toast to the Wild events like Zootini, Wild About Wine and Zoo Brew. Each features themed drinks, behind-the-scenes tours, lite bites, music and special animal guests, all while raising funds for CREW and other zoo efforts. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700,

progress through the video updates on its website. Ark Encounter, 1000 Eibeck Lane, Williamstown, Ky.,




8485 RIDGE ROAD, CINCINNATI, OH 45236 1 3 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

The Lucky Cat Museum, at first glance, looks like paradise for crazy cat ladies. The tiny Walnut Hills museum inside Essex Art Studios is run by Micha Robertson and features nearly a thousand maneki neko cats in all shapes and sizes — traditional Tokoname style, in plush, as Hello Kitty, on key chains, even as nail clippers and telephones. The Japanese beckoning cats or lucky cats, depicted with one paw waving, are symbols of luck in Japan, summoning money and good fortune. Stocking up on a couple of these knick-knacks just in case might not hurt, and there are several available in the gift shop. The museum is open during Essex Art Walks and by appointment. Lucky Cat Museum, 2511 Essex

Place, Walnut Hills, 513-633-3923,

BEST WAY TO SLEEP AT CITY HALL Here’s an option for history buffs, political junkies or those who like to sleep in buildings that used to be other things: Last summer, the locally based Salyers Group and Chicago’s Aparium Hotel Group announced that they would be transforming Covington’s old city hall (and former Coppin’s Department Store) into Hotel Covington, to be opened in summer 2016. The project came as a victory against naysayers who didn’t think such a big development on Madison Avenue could be done. The boutique hotel will feature 114 rooms as well as a restaurant, bar and patio — all things most current city halls could surely also benefit from. Hotel Covington, 638 Madison Ave. Covington, Ky.,

BEST CAROUSEL TO RIDE IN INCELEMENT WEATHER Carol Ann’s Carousel at Smale Riverfront Park is a 6,300-square-foot carousel with 42 hand-carved Cincy-centric animal characters on which to ride. The glass-enclosed attraction, which opened last summer, is rainand snow-resistant, making it a whimsical year-round pleasure… because the joy of riding Martha the last passenger pigeon, a queen bee or the Findlay Market pig around in circles diminishes significantly if you’re being pelted in the face with rain. Smale Riverfront Park, 100 W. Mehring Way, Downtown, 513-357-2621,

BEST HIDDEN SPRAYGROUND With a view of Cincinnati’s famous bridges and the Serpentine Wall, the Armeleder Memorial Sprayground at the mile-long riverfront Sawyer Point Park is a scenic space filled with fountains tall enough to shower any human from head to toe, with additional tiny fountains spurting from the ground for the little ones. It’s a nice alternative to the crowded scene at Washington Park. Plus, when it’s time to dry off, you can rent a fourwheel Surrey bike for a riverfront ride. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, 513-352-6180,

BEST ALTERNATIVE GUIDED CINCINNATI HISTORY TOUR The Queen City History Saloon Tour series is Cincinnati’s underground underground tour. Its 90-minute walking tours presented by consulting firm Queen City History and Education Ltd. tend to mix a healthy dose of history with facts about booze. Options include Dr. Morgan’s Hangover Relief Tour and Arnold’s Brothels, Bootleggers and Booze Tour. Tours start at Washington Platform and weave through downtown and OTR as groups discuss immigration, ethnic conflicts during the 1800s and Cincinnati’s alcohol history. Some tours also include visits to the city’s old underground lagering tunnels and malt oven cellars. Queen City History,

BEST PUblic Tree House For those who strongly believe treehouses aren’t just for kids, there is a place for you in Mount Airy Forest, and it’s called Everybody’s Treehouse. The wheelchairaccessible structure — the only treehouse like it in Ohio — was built in 2006. It was the vision of then-WCPO reporter Michael Flannery, who worked with the Parks Foundation, Cincinnati Rotary and Forever Young Treehouses to build this childhood nook for all. Bring a book or some friends and enjoy this magical public space year-round. Mount Airy Forest, 5083 Colerain Ave., Mount Airy, 513-541-8176,

BEST TRAINING GROUND FOR FUTURE IRON CHEFS If you’re tired of your kids complaining about your cooking, you might want to send them to the Junior Chef Institute at Gabriel’s

Place to learn to make their own damn dinner. The program runs for eight weeks in the summer, teaching kids how to cook awesome dishes out of basic stuff they can find in their own cupboards. It was started in 2013 by chef Kristen St. Clair, who was both frustrated with high schoolers’ lack of culinary competence and inspired by her own childhood in the kitchen. The kids learn to plan, prep and execute full healthy dishes that will, hopefully, end up on your kitchen table. Gabriel’s Place, 3618 Reading Road, Avondale, 513221-2306,

BEST USE OF LARGE PUBLIC SPACES IN THE SUMMER Cincy Summer Streets encourages Cincinnatians to get out and enjoy the weather by creating car-free city spaces with what feels like every activity under the sun. During three different days in Walnut Hills, Northside and Over-the-Rhine, you can run, stretch, hula hoop, dance, draw on the pavement, climb a wall, ferment vegetables, play Jenga, throw pots, meditate, skate and so, so much more. It’s really many more activities than one could possibly do in three days, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to knock off as many as possible. Cincy Summer Streets,

BEST WALK ON WOODBURN That headline is a misnomer: There’s only one Walk on Woodburn and it happens almost monthly on East Walnut Hills’ Woodburn Avenue (for some reason there currently isn’t one scheduled in June). The Friday night culture fest keeps shops open late and bars hopping. Stop into Hi-Bred Vintage, Leftcoast Modern or Steinkamp Outfitters for some old/ new; check out the latest exhibit at Manifest Gallery; grab dinner at O Pie O, Mardi Gras on Madison or Suzie Wong’s; and then stop in for a drink at Myrtle’s Punch House or The Growler House. East Walnut Hills has been touted as the new Over-the-Rhine; come see why and eat, drink and shop in the process. Woodburn Avenue, East Walnut Hills,

BEST LIBRARY FOR BOTANISTS The exterior of the Lloyd Library & Museum is misleading. The 1970s square brick building looks boring, but inside it holds a wonderland of archival materials and exhibits on science, art and history. Once home to a popular 19th-century pharmacy run by the local Lloyd brothers, the library still features their rare collection of books on pharmacy, botany, pharmacognosy, alternative medicine and horticulture. In 1949, the Library of Congress named it the No. 6 most important private library in the country, and currently, the museum features rotating art and science exhibits, as well as permanent displays of vintage pharmaceutical instruments, medicine bottles, medical office equipment and other mildly morbid-looking historical medical supplies. Lloyd Library & Museum, 917 Plum St., Downtown, 513-7213707,

Find your own… sparkling waterfalls old and new friends creative cuisines prehistoric caves zipline adventures cozy cabins authentic Appalachian art thrills You’ll find all this and more waiting for you in Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills. Ohio’s Natural Crown Jewels.

Call or click for your free Visitor’s Guide 1-800-Hocking |

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Catch Some Summer Fun with

Carol Ann’s Carousel!

Carousel Rides Are Only $2! Special Event Rental Packages Available! Reds Opening Day to Labor Day 11am – 7pm (Closed Mondays except for April 4th)

Visit for more details.

Address 8 East Mehring Way Photo Courtesy of Robert Flischel Photography

Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone (513) 381-3756

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CINCINNATIAN 1 / Pete Rose 2 / Jim Obergefell 3 / Jim Tarbell 4 / Bob Herzog 5 / Nick Lachey 6 / Anthony Muñoz 7 / Molly Wellmann 8 / Buddy LaRosa 9 / Chris Seelbach 10 / Thane Maynard

Blog/Twitter (Food) 1 / Cincinnati Refined 2 / Wine Me, Dine Me 3 / @513eats

Blog/Twitter (Sports) 1 / The Morning Line (Paul Daugherty) 2 / @MoEgger1530 3 / @LanceMcAlister; Cincy on the Prowl (TIE)

Blog/Twitter (Photography/Design) 1 / 5chw4r7z 2 / @artacademycincy 3 / Queen City Discovery


Local Cause

1 / John Cranley 2 / Eric Deters 3 / Tracy Jones

1 / Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio 2 / Matthew 25: Ministries 3 / ArtWorks

Blog/Twitter (Local Issues)

Friend to the Environment

1 / @CityBeatCincy 2 / @365Cincinnati 3 / @SoapboxCincy

1 / Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2 / Cincinnati Nature Center 3 / Dan Korman (Park + Vine)



1 / Bill Cunningham 2 / John Cranley 3 / Rob Portman

1 / Bob Herzog (WKRC) 2 / Paul Daugherty (The Enquirer) 3 / John Matarese (WCPO)


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1 / P.G. Sittenfeld 2 / Chris Seelbach 3 / Yvette Simpson

1 / Jim Tarbell 2 / Libby Harrison (Cincinnati Exchange Project) 3 / Dan Korman (Park + Vine)

Do-Gooder 1 / Freestore Foodbank 2 / Matthew 25: Ministries 3 / Crossroads

Local Elected Official 1 / Chris Seelbach (City Councilman) 2 / Yvette Simpson (City Councilwoman) 3 / P.G. Sittenfeld (City Councilman)

Local News Story of 2015 1 / Lauren Hill 2 / All-Star Game 3 / Same-Sex Marriage

Philanthropist 1 / Otto M. Budig, Jr. 2 / The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation 3 / Anthony Muñoz

Radio Show 1 / Jeff & Jenn (Q102) 2 / Cincinnati Edition (WVXU) 3 / Around Cincinnati (WVXU) B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 3 3

TV Anchor 1 / Bob Herzog (WKRC) 2 / Sheree Paolello (WLWT) 3 / Rob Williams (FOX19)

Radio Talk Show Host

TV Newscast

1 / Maryanne Zeleznik (WVXU) 2 / Bill Cunningham (WLW) 3 / Chris & Janeen (WGRR)

Religious Leader 1 / Brian Tome (Crossroads) 2 / Chuck Mingo (Crossroads) 3 / Rabbi Lewis Kamrass (Wise Temple)

Sports Coverage 1 / WLW (700 AM) 2 / WKRC (Channel 12) 3 / WLWT (Channel 5)

1 / WKRC (Channel 12) 2 / WLWT (Channel 5) 3 / WCPO (Channel 9)

TV Sportscaster 1 / Brad Johansen (WKRC) 2 / Ken Broo (WCPO) 3 / George Vogel (WLWT)

TV Weathercaster 1 / Frank Marzullo (FOX19) 2 / Randi Rico (WLWT) 3 / Kevin Robinson (WLWT)

nick cloon e y on t h e s e t o f T h e M o n e y M a z e |  P h o t o : A B C

Radio Station 1 / 91.7 WVXU 2 / 89.7 WNKU 3 / 101.9 WKRQ (Q102)

Northern Kentuckian 1 / Nick Clooney 2 / George Clooney 3 / Cris Collinsworth 4 / Jean-Robert de Cavel 5 / Michael Monks 6 / Dan McCabe 7 / Otto M. Budig, Jr. 8 / Allison Hines 9 / Eric Deters 10 / Maryanne Zeleznik

Scott E. Knox Attorneys at Law

Scott E. Knox

Joshua R. Langdon


• F amily l aw • E statE P lanning & P robatE • s ocial s Ecurity / D isability • E mPloymEnt l aw • lgbt c ivil r ights

Thank you, CityBeat readers!

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for voting us Cincinnati’s Best Radio Show!

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IHM Festival 2016

One of the Best Church Festivals in Cinti* July 15, 6 pm–12 am; July 16, 6 pm–12 am; July 17, 3–11 pm • Entertainment Friday: Dan Varner Band, 7–11 pm Saturday: Rusty Griswolds, 7–11 pm Sunday: Hickory Robot, 6–10 pm


• Food, including Sunday chicken dinner

County Career Center

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“Your choice for a future of opportunities”

• Family fun • Sunday custom car cruise-in

Warren County Career Center, offering high quality career-technical

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PUBLIC EYE // STAFF PICKS BEST HAPPY ENDING TO A CONTENTIOUS HISTORIC CONSERVATION BATTLE Last year, it looked like efforts to renovate revered Cincinnati landmark Music Hall were stuck. Hamilton County Commissioners scuttled an attempt to include the building, built in 1887, in a countywide tax levy that is currently raising funds for Union Terminal’s big fix. But then Ohio awarded the building $25 million in historic preservation tax credits, and private donors stepped up in a big way, helping get the building closer to a fully funded $123 million renovation. That work will kick off in earnest this summer, and the only bad part is we won’t be able to enjoy its amazing interior while taking in a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra or Pops concert during the process. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-2787,

BEST WAY to Poorly FIRE YOUR POLICE CHIEF Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley capped a long, contentious summer in the city by unceremoniously canning then-Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. The chief had just been informed when a news release about his firing was sent out, and Blackwell had yet to see a report compiled by the city manager with allegations about CPD’s hostile work environment and other problems under his leadership. The quick nature of his release set off protests and tense exchanges at City Hall between Cranley, Cincinnati City Council members and community leaders. It also garnered national news coverage at a time

when the city was being recognized for its use of community policing, which Blackwell had come to symbolize.

BEST BIKE PROJECTS THAT STILL HAVEN’T HAPPENED We wouldn’t be Cincinnati if we didn’t have potential for really cool things and a torturous road ahead for us to get to them. So it is with the daunting project of making the city more bicycle friendly. We’ve come a long way — cyclists who traverse the nowbike-friendly stretch of Central Parkway into downtown will tell you that — but there is much more to be done. Expanding those bike lanes into more neighborhoods like Northside would be a great start. And then

there are larger projects like Cincinnati Connects, which seeks to create a “bicycle superhighway” by boosting and linking bike trail-building efforts such as the East Side to Uptown route known as Wasson Way. Achieving all that may look daunting, but it’s well worth the effort.

BEST PROSPECT FOR BIG CHANGE ON THE HAMILTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS It’s no secret: Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati these days are a lot more CeeLo Green (the uh, less polite version of his big hit “Forget You” seems a pretty apt soundtrack for the relationship) than Al

Green (officials for the two bodies are definitely not singing “Let’s Stay Together” to each other any time soon). With everything so standoffish, it would be refreshing to see a change of pace for the commission, and the coming election seems like the right time for voters to go that route. Enter Democrat Denise Driehaus, a familiar face in Cincinnati who has made regional cooperation a centerpiece of her campaign. Beyond that, Driehaus could also tip the partisan balance of power on the commission toward Democrats for the first time in years, giving the county’s governing body a much-needed shake-up.

BEST USE OF A POPULAR OLDER BROTHER’S NAME ON THE BALLOT Everyone knows Joe Deters. Now, not everyone likes the controversial Hamilton County prosecutor, but you’d be hard pressed to get better name recognition in a local election. His brother, Dennis Deters, seems to have recognized this and will borrow the name “Joe” — his middle name — B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 3 7

Celebrating 25 years in 2016! Semester writing classes workshops specialty classes

Classes & Camps for Girls and Teens Register Now!

S a v e t h e D a t e

! 513-272-1171 “It was inspiring to be in a group with such diverse writing, topics, and voices.”

cincinnati • pride JUNE 25, 2016•SAWYER POINT

Respect Hospitality Learning Mt. Auburn Baptist Church 2 1 4 7 A u b u r n Av e . Right in front of The Christ Hospital S u n d Ay S 1 1 : 0 0

when he appears on the ballot for Hamilton County commissioner in November. Is that weird? A little. Dennis Deters hasn’t used that name on any other official documents or election registrations. Perhaps it’s just an attempt to squeeze a little extra love from voters, who will have to choose between Deters and well-known Democrat State Rep. Denise Driehaus.

BEST PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMMING AT A LOCAL MUSEUM Many museums feel it sufficient to survey the past from the safely removed vantage point of the present day. But the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center takes charged, multi-faceted problems — from human bondage to race relations — and drags them into the here and now. From conferences on modern-day slavery to programs exploring urban violence like the ones around recent art exhibition Kin Killin’ Kin, the Freedom Center has an unblinking eye on the dark issues confronting people here in Cincinnati and around the world. What’s more, the center provides inspiration and information to confront them. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, Downtown, 513-333-7739,

BEST PARANOID ATTEMPT BY a CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TO KEEP HOMELESS PEOPLE AWAY FROM SCHOOLS If you blinked, you missed it, but it’s worth recalling Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman’s weird move trying to get panhandling banned outside Cincinnati schools. That in and of itself seems par for the course for poverty-phobic conservatives, but it was Smitherman’s reasoning that raised some eyebrows. The independent conservative councilman cited school shootings and his wish that no strangers approach his kids, even his 17-year-old son, without his permission as he pursued the proposed ordinance. Luckily, it went nowhere, probably because other council members heeded the reams of data showing that the homeless are no more likely than anyone else to pose a threat to the public.


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Since 2009, lawmakers in Ohio have been chipping away at the legal legs on which the state’s abortion providers stand, passing ever-tighter restrictions designed to cut down the number of clinics that perform abortions here. Those new laws have led to some close calls for Cincinnati’s last remaining clinic, Planned Parenthood’s Elizabeth Campbell Medical Center. But through stubborn legal fights, the organization has been able to keep conservative lawmakers from making Cincinnati the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to a clinic, even as legislative attacks on Planned Parenthood continue. Elizabeth Campbell Medical Center, 2314

Auburn Ave., Mount Auburn, 513-287-6484,

BEST TERRIFYING WEEDHEADED MASCOT FOR A POLITICAL CAUSE Oh, Buddie, we barely knew ye. The mascot for ResponsibleOhio’s ill-fated bid to make it legal to sell marijuana from 10 grow sites around the state owned by the group’s investors was… unique. Superhero costume, complete with cape? Check. Rippling musculature and skin-tight body suit? Check. Enormous and terrifying marijuana bud for a head? Of course. The reign of his dankness on college campuses and in liberal towns around the state was short lived, and by the end even his allies betrayed him. ResponsibleOhio organizer Ian James called Buddie “a mistake” in interviews after the failure of the group’s bid. But we’ll always remember that giant green face, even if only in nightmares.

BEST HISTORIC SUPREME COURT VICTORY It finally happened, and it started right here in Cincinnati. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court extended marriage equality to all 50 states, thanks to plaintiffs against Ohio and other states’ anti-gay marriage laws, including Jim Obergefell, Brittani Henry-Rogers and Brittni Rogers. Based on the order in which his case was filed, Obergefell’s name is in the title of the historic Supreme Court ruling, and the unassuming Over-the-Rhine resident who fought to appear on his late spouse’s death certificate has become a national icon for LGBTQ rights.

BEST ILLUSTRATION OF THE VITAL NEED FOR POLICE BODY CAMERAS If not for a tiny camera worn by the police officer who shot him, there might be no chance of justice for Samuel DuBose. University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing pulled DuBose over in July for a missing front license plate. Shortly afterward, DuBose was dead. Tensing said his arm got stuck in DuBose’s steering wheel and he was being dragged, but the footage shows Tensing shot him with no provocation before his car started moving. Tensing was later dismissed from the force and now faces murder and manslaughter charges. In the aftermath, UC’s police department is undergoing reform, and the Cincinnati Police Department is now phasing in body cameras for all of its officers.

BEST UNFORCED POLITICAL ERROR The national debate over Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. following horrifying attacks on Paris by extremist group ISIS was a strange thing for a mayor to weigh in on. While a bigwig here, the city’s top guy has little say over national policy around refugee resettlement — even Ohio Gov.

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BEST BRUISING DEFEAT AT THE LOCAL BALLOT BOX Mayor John Cranley had a rough go of it this November when he proposed a property tax hike to pay for 16 different parks projects throughout the city, as well as deferred maintenance the Cincinnati Park Board has said is currently out of its reach. Money for parks seems on its face like a noble endeavor, but there were some problems: The tax boost was presented as an amendment to the city’s charter that gave the mayor and the park board he appoints near-total control over the money collected. Then there were questions about big contributions the park board made to the tax boost’s campaign. Voters said “no, thanks” by a two-to-one margin in November, handing Cranley a humbling defeat.

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John Kasich couldn’t really keep Syrians out of the Ohio if he wanted to. Mayor John Cranley’s press release about refugees might have been just a strange footnote if he hadn’t sided with panic-stricken conservatives freaked out about undercover terrorists infiltrating Cincinnati. In doing so, Cranley mystifyingly alienated fellow Democrats while accomplishing exactly nothing in the process.

BEST IDEA TO EXTEND EDUCATION TO MORE CINCINNATI KIDS Hey, did you know that Cincinnati has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country? If you didn’t, you do now. What are we going to do about it? There are a few different ideas, but one with a lot of momentum right now is Preschool Promise, an initiative seeking to provide preschool to all Cincinnati Public School students. Studies show that early exposure to quality education helps boost a child’s chances of academic success and ability to climb out of poverty. While there’s much work to be done to help low-income folks suffering right now, extending preschool to all kids

could be the start of a generational shift toward a more equitable Cincinnati. Preschool Promise,

BEST CONTINUING POLITICAL DRAMA KEEPING US ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS We’ve already seen the always-controversial Cincinnati streetcar gliding around its three-mile loop through Over-the-Rhine and downtown on empty test runs like some space-age ghost ship. And it’s well on its way to ferrying its first riders come September. But that doesn’t mean the issue is settled in the eyes of its opponents. 2015 saw freakouts over contingency funding, whether the streetcar will make enough money from naming rights to shore up operating costs and proxy wars over parking spots and parking meters in Over-the-Rhine tied to the transit project. Will 2016 be the year the streetcar proves opponents wrong? Stay tuned.

• Caesar’s Creek State Park - is one of the premier outdoor recreation and nature preserve areas in the State of Ohio. The seventy-nine hundred acre park offers a wide variety of recreational and educational opportunities. A new marina coming soon! • Little Miami Bike Trail – Part of 70 miles of the best known bike trails in Southwest Ohio! • Little Miami River – Enjoy a refreshing canoe or kayak trip! • Museum at the Friends Home – Explore rich history of Waynesville and the history of the surrounding village, along with Ghost Tours, as we are “the most haunted town in the State of Ohio.” • Events – Such as Second Saturday Street Faire, Ohio Sauerkraut Festival and Ohio Renaissance Festival!

BEST WEIRD, DESPERATE GRAB FOR ATTENTION Ohio Gov. John Kasich has had a heck of a time getting attention in his bid to become

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BEST CONTENTIOUS TOPIC TO DISCUSS (OR AVOID) WHILE EATING FANCY FOOD IN OTR Over-the-Rhine has definitely changed. There’s little denying it. Other formerly low-income neighborhoods might soon follow suit, which has kept gentrification an ongoing minefield of a topic around town. That makes it a little awkward to eat gourmet pizza in a neighborhood where the median household income is still well below the poverty line, sure, but it also means that it’s past time for those difficult conversations. With upcoming redevelopment in neighborhoods like Walnut Hills, Northside and Price Hill, there is plenty to talk about.

BEST SHADE THROWN BY A U.S. SENATOR AT OHIO’S STATE LAWMAKERS Admit it, passing a bill allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns on college campuses and day cares in the aftermath of multiple school shootings was a bit much. At least that’s what U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was thinking when he called Ohio state lawmakers “lunatics” for passing that bill in November. We’re with him on that one.

BEST SORE LOSER Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis was none too happy about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage over the summer. So she exercised her God-given right: refusing to do her job. Except that’s not exactly a right when you’re a county employee taking taxpayer money while refusing to marry anyone until the gays aren’t allowed to wed anymore. Davis’ adherence to her bigotry — err, religious beliefs — landed her in jail for a few days, and Rowan County has since resumed marrying people.

BEST CITY COUNCIL EFFORT IN RESPONSE TO LEELAH ALCORN’S TRAGIC DEATH The tragic suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn late in 2014 shone new light on the plight of young members of the LGBTQ community, especially those subjected to so-called “conversion therapy.” But a year later, City Councilman Chris Seelbach stepped up and introduced an ordinance to ban practices that try to convert LGBTQ teens to heterosexuality. The practice isn’t part of accepted therapeutic science, and 1 4 0   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

Cincinnati became the first city to ban it when council passed Seelbach’s ordinance in December.

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the GOP nominee for president. But it’s not like he didn’t try. His weirdest “hey, look at me” moment probably came in November, when he proposed creating a new government agency that would spread JudeoChristian values in the Middle East. It was meant to be a way to capitalize on Donald Trump’s rampant xenophobia, but it just made Kasich look like he’s stoked on creating propaganda and making government bigger, two things conservatives are always paranoid about.

BEST TOTAL WASTE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS Speaking of Planned Parenthood, your tax dollars paid for something that can only be described as an extended fishing session by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Following the release of heavily edited video footage by anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organ tissue in Texas, DeWine launched an investigation into Ohio’s clinics. He didn’t find any illegal tissue sales, but did claim that the organization was contracting with a company that dumped fetal remains in landfills. Just a few things: The state of Ohio uses the same company, and officials in Kentucky where the landfill is located say investigators never reached out to them and that they dispute the AG’s claim. Oh, and The Center for Medical Progress? A grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood and instead indicted the anti-abortion activists on federal records-tampering charges.

BEST SURPRISE EXIT FROM AN ULTRA-POWERFUL PERCH Turns out it wasn’t all power, extravagant tanning bed trips, emotionally cleansing crying jags and Pope visits for the most powerful man in Congress. House Speaker John Boehner, who represented the suburbs just north of Cincinnati, surprised everyone when he resigned from his post in September, effectively ending his political career. Was it the death threats from his deranged country club bar tender? Did the Pontifex impart some life-changing wisdom for the staunchly Catholic Boehner in a visit immediately preceding the speaker’s exit? Nah, the reason was much more mundane: The tea party forced him out.

BEST TWITTER FLAME WAR John Kasich GOP primary attention grab take two: The Ohio guv trying to tangle with reality TV star and aggressive hair piece-wearer Donald Trump on Twitter. It didn’t take a political scientist to predict that this one wouldn’t go well for Kasich, but he tried it anyway, enduring pretty awful jabs like this Trump gem: “I want to do negative ads on John Kasich, but he is so irrelevant to the race that I don’t want to waste my money.” Ouch. @realDonaldTrump; @JohnKasich.

BEST NO-BRAINER BALLOT INITIATIVE TO MAKE STATE POLITICS FAIRER Do you remember when your Nintendo would get some dust in it and everything looked all scrambled? Envision a game of Tetris under such conditions and you’ve pretty much got Ohio’s state legislative districts. They’re crazy looking, and there’s a reason for that. Lawmakers — most recently

BEST CONTINUED PUSH FOR RACIAL JUSTICE Cincinnati activists protesting the police shootings of Samuel DuBose, Tamir Rice and many others aren’t only using rallies in the streets to bring to light economic and justice system discrimination against people of color. They’re also holding teach-ins, book clubs, open discussions and even bowling outings. Somehow, in response to one of the most charged and polarizing topics imaginable, Cincinnati Black Lives Matter has managed to create an inclusive, if relentless, local movement. Cincinnati Black Lives Matter,

Republicans — have drawn them that way to give distinct advantages to their party by isolating opposing voters and consolidating their own constituents. The result? Even though the state splits nearly evenly in presidential contests and went to Democrat Barack Obama in the last two elections, our state house is 67-percent Republican. It’s called gerrymandering, but a fix is on the way. Voters passed Issue 1 last November, approving a big change in the way redistricting happens. That should make elections fairer and more representative. Consider it the political version of blowing dust out of that Nintendo cartridge.

BEST EVIDENCE THAT SOMETHING’S AMISS WITH OHIO’S CHARTER SCHOOLS First, Ohio Department of Education staffer David Hansen got caught excluding online charter schools from the state’s charter school performance measures. Oops. Hansen, husband to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign manager Beth Hansen, subsequently resigned. But not before he fired off a federal grant application that may net the state $71 million to create more charter schools. That application said that the state

had only six low-performing charters. But after questions from the feds, the state turned around and admitted that number was actually six times higher. Oops. Meanwhile, state lawmakers and charter boosters are still in the grips of charter-mania, making plans to establish more.

BEST LONGSHOT SENATE CANDIDATE Everyone loves an underdog. Well, maybe not the Ohio Democratic Party, but most people. So while Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld’s run for U.S. Senate at first seemed quixotic, it was pretty gutsy and admirable. What’s more, Sittenfeld, just 31, made some headway. Sure, he lacked the name recognition and poll numbers of his primary opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, but Sittenfeld made some good policy points, raised some impressive campaign dollars and racked up some real endorsements during his run. In the end, the momentum stayed with the more-connected and experienced Strickland, who will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman this fall, but Sittenfeld showed himself to be a sharp, committed campaigner and may very well have set himself up for success down the road.

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SPORTS & RECREATION // READER PICKS Overall Local Athlete 1 / Andy Dalton (Bengals) 2 / A.J. Green (Bengals) 3 / Brandon Phillips (Reds)

Bengal (Current) 1 / Andy Dalton 2 / A.J. Green 3 / Tyler Eifert

Red (Current) 1 / Brandon Phillips 2 / Joey Votto 3 / Billy Hamilton

Cyclone (Current) 1 / Cody Carlson 2 / Christiaan Minella 3 / Mike Hammond

UC Bearcat (Current) 1 / Troy Caupain (Men’s Basketball) 2 / Octavius Ellis (Men’s Basketball) 3 / Gunner Kiel (Football)

XAVIER Musketeer (Current) 1 / Myles Davis (Men’s Basketball) 2 / Trevon Bluiett (Men’s Basketball) 3 / Jalen Reynolds (Men’s Basketball)

NKU Norse (Current) 1 / Christine Roush (Women’s Basketball) 2 / Jalen Billups (Men’s Basketball) 3 / Jake Giesler (Men’s Basketball)

Team (Professional) 1 / Bengals 2 / Reds 3 / Cyclones

Team (Amateur/Semi-Pro) 1 / Cincinnati Rollergirls 2 / Florence Freedom 3 / Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls

Team (College) 1 / Xavier Men’s Basketball 2 / UC Men’s Basketball 3 / UC Football

Team (High School)

Pick-Up Basketball Court

1 / Elder Football 2 / Colerain Football 3 / Walnut Hills Basketball

1 / UC Campus Recreation Center 2 / Oakley Playground 3 / Fort Thomas Armory

Coach/Manager (High School) 1 / Doug Ramsey (Elder Football); Tyler Barrott (Withrow Soccer) (TIE) 2 / Tom Bolden (Colerain Football) 3 / Tony Johnson (Walnut Hills Girls’ Basketball)

Coach/Manager (Pro/ College) 1 / Chris Mack (Xavier Basketball) 2 / Marvin Lewis (Bengals) 3 / Mick Cronin (UC Basketball)

Golf Course (Public) 1 / Blue Ash Golf Course 2 / Devou Park Golf Course 3 / Aston Oaks Golf Club

Soccer Facility 1 / Soccer City 2 / Town & Country 3 / Cincinnati Sports Mall

Softball Fields 1 / Rumpke Park 2 / Schmidt Field 3 / Expressway

Tennis Courts 1 / Sawyer Point 2 / Cincinnati Tennis Club 3 / Lunken Airport Playfields

Volleyball Courts 1 / Hahana Beach 2 / The Sandbar 3 / Cincinnati Sand Volleyball

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SPORTS & RECREATION // STAFF PICKS Best Phenom Who dey All-Pro Helping Others Perennial All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green contributes to the education of the poor defensive backs who try to cover him each week, but that wasn’t enough for Green. That’s why he and his wife Miranda recently announced the endowment of two scholarships at Green’s alma mater, the University of Georgia. The A.J. Green Family Football Scholarship will provide support for a student athlete on the football team, while the A.J. Green Family Scholarships will support two need-based UGA students, with preference given to students from A.J.’s home state, South Carolina. Best of luck to the students who will benefit from Green’s generosity, and good luck to anybody in the NFL who tries to guard him.

Best International Showcase of the Queen City Our fair city, the Reds organization and Major League Baseball came together last summer to to do an All-Star job (ha!) of hosting Major League Baseball’s 86th Midsummer Classic. People from all over the world came to town to witness the game’s best and all the pomp and circumstance such an endeavor includes. By all accounts, Cincinnati shined: ESPN Radio host Mike Greenberg repeatedly tweeted and Instagrammed the city’s praises, including giving the Cincinnati Art Museum props for its free admission, live music and cool baseball exhibit. Cincinnati’s urban renewal was on full display, and on top of all the social and eco-

nomic benefits of hosting the event, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier won the Home Run Derby in an exciting, buzzer-beater-type home run smash. It’s hard to remember a sporting event in Cincinnati that drew so many visitors, and it was excellent to see outsiders enjoy all that we have to offer. Now just wait like 25 or so years and it will be our turn to do this again! Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513381-7337,

Best Hope for MLS Pro Soccer in Cincy In early April, the United Soccer League’s newest team, FC Cincinnati, will take the field for its first home game at the University

of Cincinnati’s recently renovated Nippert Stadium. The 24-team United Soccer League currently serves as the third tier of soccer leagues in the USA, behind only Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League. With funding backed by Carl Lindner III and president/GM duties being handled by the well-connected Jeff Berding (recent Bengals director of sales and public affairs/former Cincinnati City Councilman), this new franchise is for real. Nippert will be configured to seat up to 10,000 for FC Cincinnati matches, and the new local club will have opportunities to compete against MLS clubs (the team actually won its first-ever contest against an MLS Team, the NYCFC, in February). Don’t be surprised to see FC Cincinnati

knocking on the door of MLS sooner rather than later. FC Cincinnati,

BEST BEARCAT BASEBALL PLAYER ABOUT TO BUST UP THE REDS Ian Happ was a highly touted high school baseball recruit, earning all the accolades one would expect of a Division I collegiate ballplayer. And he didn’t disappoint when he joined the University of Cincinnati Bearcats — the youngster hit .322 during his freshman year in 2013, adding six home runs, 36 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Happ’s sophomore season saw similar results, but it was his junior year that propelled him to first-roundpick status when he hit .369 with 14 home runs, 44 RBI and 12 stolen bases on his way to multiple first-team All-American honors and a Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger award. Taken with the ninth overall pick by the Chicago Cubs last June, Happ is well on his way to following in the footsteps of fellow UC baseball alumni Kevin Youkilis and Josh Harrison, which means he should be tearing up the Reds in due time. B e s t o f c i n c i n n a t i 2 0 16   |   1 4 5


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STARTING AT JUST $10.00 Best Xavier Hoops Team That Might Get Even Better Xavier has grown from a team that excelled in an underdog role to one that is seen as a force to be reckoned with year after year in college basketball, as evidenced by the Musketeers’ nearly season-long reign as a Top 10 ranked team in the nation. The Muskees’ late-season push for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament included a win over then-No. 1-ranked Villanova in late February. Head coach Chris Mack’s squad once again overachieved, at least according to preseason expectations — perhaps a deep tournament run and the possibility of super freshman Edmund Sumner going to the NBA will change that for next year. After all, the team will bring back an impressive core, with our without the young dunker. Cintas Center, 1624 Herald Ave., Evanston, 513-745-3900,

Best Epic Meltdown in the Playoffs The Reds didn’t make the playoffs in 2015, so they had no chance to submit meltdowns like being on the wrong end of a no-hitter or blowing a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series. Enter the 2015 Cincinnati Bengals, who inexplicably outdid either of the aforementioned scenarios (both of which really happened, by the way) by losing a first-round playoff game at home to the reviled Pittsburgh Steelers in a most unimaginable way — fumbling the ball while trying to run out the clock (in field goal range) and then boosting the Steelers up the field with ridiculously violent penalties. The Steelers are certainly much to blame for the shit show that was assistant coach Joey Porter entering the field to talk trash, but for Bengals fans the result was even more devastating than the 2009 home playoff loss to Pittsburgh, when an offensive lineman hit Carson Palmer low, tearing his ACL on the first play of the game. Fortunately, the Bengals have a nucleus of talent that will in all likelihood get the hometown team back to the playoffs next year, and local Who Day fans can hope for better


results once again. Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, 513-4554800,

BEST XAVIER WOMEN’S HOOPS HOMECOMING Raeshaun Gaffney was one of the country’s most highly touted women’s basketball recruits after her 2012 season at Fairfield High School — the now-5-foot-8 Xavier guard was rated the No. 35 women’s college basketball prospect by Blue Star Basketball back then after averaging 26.7 points and 10 rebounds per game her senior year. After earning a McDonald’s All-American nomination, Gaffney took her talents to the University of Virginia, but after sitting out as a freshman on a medical redshirt year and putting together a decent sophomore season, she decided to transfer back home. UVA’s loss has been X’s gain: Gaffney co-led the Musketeers in scoring this year while leading the team in rebounds. Gaffney and co. will look to improve on the Muskees’ 17-13 regular season record during her senior season this fall. Cintas Center, 1624 Herald Ave., Evanston, 513745-3900,

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It is reasonable to be unenthused about the Reds’ 2016 season outlook after the recent jettisoning of Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Flava Fraz. But, 1. Baseball season and summer are still pretty great, and 2. Keep in mind that the Reds lost 98 games last season with those dudes on the roster. That said, it’s time for the Reds to rebuild and usher in new talent and new blood — hopefully with the kind of results the Chicago Cubs are starting to see from their recent reboot. While the L’s are likely to outnumber the W’s this year once again, there are some exciting young players fans get to see more of (Michael Lorenzen, Eugenio Suarez, John Lamb) and others soon to join The Show who figure to be impact players (Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker, Robert Stephenson). Apparently, the youngest of the three guys the Reds received in the Cueto deal, Cody Reed, could end up being the best of the bunch. Keep your heads up, Reds fans — the mid-2000s might be coming back, but they won’t be here for long. Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-381-7337,

Best Thing you can do to help keep the West End Reds Playing Ball The West End Reds Knothole youth baseball teams were founded in 2002, and throughout the years they have not been immune to the nationwide decline in youth baseball funding. However, last year, Cincinnati residents, businesses and coaches came together to raise $10,000 to help keep the teams — the Reds’ 5-12-year-old teams and T.S. Bulls’ 13-14-year-old team — equipped with gear and fees needed to play ball. The West End Reds offer more than 100 youngsters the ability to learn life skills and a great way to stay engaged throughout the summer. This year, the program has added a girls’ softball team to its franchise. Help them out — no matter how much or how little you’re able to. Someone will buy you a beer the next time you’re at the bar. That’s how karma works!

BEST HIGH SCHOOL WHOSE COACHES KEEP WINNING THE FLYING PIG Ursuline Academy is a fine college-preparatory institution, but the Catholic all-girls high school also boasts quite a pedigree when it comes to its cross country coaches. In 2012, varsity head coach Rachel Bea won the Flying Pig Marathon, while assistant coach Amy Robillard won the half marathon. Two years later (and just a couple months after recovering from a broken leg), Robillard won the Flying Pig herself — then won it again the following year. The two-time defending champ even competed in the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in February, finishing 121st with a time of 3:00:11. It wasn’t enough to earn Robillard a ticket to 1 4 8   |  C i t y B e a t . c o m

the Olympics (only the top three move on), but it was quite the feat nonetheless. Ursuline Academy, 5535 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, 513-791-5791,

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Best Baseball Players Whose Names We’ll Learn This Summer

Best Bearcat Rim-Rocker to Join the UC Sports Hall of Fame Not too long ago, before an evil university president banished coach Bob Huggins and put the men’s basketball program into a tailspin from which it is still climbing out, the University of Cincinnati was a national powerhouse with a bad-boy “hate it or love it” reputation. One of the most dominant players of this era, Danny Fortson, last year joined five other former Bearcats as part of the 2015 class enshrined in UC’s Hall of Fame. As a Bearcat, Fortson became the program’s second all-time leading scorer (now fifth), earned first-team All-American honors and put together a stellar season in 1996-1997 in which he averaged 21.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Fortson went on to enjoy a 10-year NBA career and left UC fans today wishing for the good old days of Bearcat excellence. University of Cincinnati, 2600 Clifton Ave., Clifton, 513-556-4603,

Best Send-Off FOR A LEGENDARY Reds Employee Crosley Field. Riverfront Stadium. Great American Ball Park. Reds usher Charles Keith served the organization in all three locations, keeping miscreants out of sections they didn’t have tickets for and helping to enhance the stadium experience of multiple generations of fans. From the Pete Rose era to Joey Votto and everyone in between, Keith has been a visible part of the organization and will also be remembered as the usher who broke the color barrier for Reds ushers back in 1968. After his remarkably long 46-year tenure as an usher, Keith imparted some universal professional and life wisdom on his way out, saying, “The first thing I would advise you to do is smile, smile, no matter who it is. Don’t forget to smile.” Here’s to hoping Keith has an easy time doing just that this season, his first in nearly a half century away from the Redlegs and their fans. Keith retired in 2015.

Best Back-to-Back State Football Titles The 14-1 LaSalle High School 2015 football team didn’t clinch its second-straight OHSAA playoff championship in nail-biting fashion; instead, the Lancers walloped the good folks of Massillon Perry by a convincing tally of 42-0. LaSalle became just the third Division II squad to repeat as champions since high school football divisions were aligned back in 1980 and the first since 1993 (back when people still wore Zubaz pants) to achieve this accolade. Head Coach (and LaSalle grad) Brian Heidorn has helmed the program since 1990 and played on the school’s first-ever playoff team. Question for coach: Can you say three-peat? La Salle High School, 3091 N. Bend Road, Monfort Heights,

Best Boos That Would Not Be Forgotten It was a bit embarrassing for the city and Andy Dalton when the Bengals quarterback was booed when introduced at the All-Star Game celebrity softball exhibition. Dalton got his revenge by helping to lead the Bengals to one of the team’s best regular seasons ever, and those “boos” were brought up by TV announcers during seemingly every game. Dalton’s not-boo worthiness was further shown when his broken thumb and unavailability to play the last four games of the season helped keep the Bengals from getting past the first round of the playoffs for seemingly the 100th year in a row. Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, 513-455-4800,

BEST LOCAL GUYS IN THE SUPER BOWL The Bengals might have watched their Super Bowl dreams slowly drip down the drain against Pittsburgh in January, but two local kids competed on the game’s biggest stage anyway. St. X grad Luke Kuechly and Anderson High School graduate Andrew Norwell were members of a Carolina Panthers team that went 15-1 and entered Super Bowl 50 as a heavy favorite to beat Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately for the local dudes, the Panthers slipped up, and Denver’s vaunted defense helped the nearly geriatric Manning win the title. Here’s to Kuechly and Norwell getting back to Super Bowl 51 if the Bengals can’t do it themselves.

Best Legacy of a Local Hero Gone Too Soon Lauren Hill accomplished more during her 19 years than most people fortunate enough to live a long life. Even after tragically losing her life to brain cancer last year, Hill’s legacy and fundraising efforts are still having a huge impact on others. Her goal of reaching $2.2 million to help find a cure for cancer (the 2.2 figure is a shout out to the number

22, which she wore as a player for Mount St. Joseph’s basketball team) is well on its way to being achieved, and the funds will be utilized across the medical field. Lauren Hill taught us a lot about cherishing life, dying with dignity and leaving a legacy that will help others long after life ends.

Best Weekend to Honor the Hit King Pete Rose’s banishment from the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is a thorny issue for many baseball fans, especially locals. Now that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said he will uphold Pete’s banishment from the Hall, the Reds will go ahead and enshrine him in their version. In what should be an electrifying weekend down at GABP this summer, Pete Rose Weekend June 24-26 will include Rose’s enshrinement in the Reds Hall of Fame, the retiring of his No. 14 jersey and a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1976 World Series champion Reds. You should probably get tickets soon, before all three games sell out and you’re sitting at home wondering why you didn’t listen to your genius friends at CityBeat. Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-381-7337,

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2016 Best of Cincinnati  

published by CityBeat

2016 Best of Cincinnati  

published by CityBeat