ISSUE NO. 30 • JAN. 28 - FEB. 4, 2014
BEST BARS VISITING RAKE’S END PG 3 WHEN YOU DON’T DRINK PG 6 EDITORS’ BAR PICKS PG 8
BEST OF UC ISSUE WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 2
Kara Driscoll @kardadri @Pdidion
Katie Griffith @NewsRecord_UC Jake Grieco @Rosewater_Eliot
ARTS EDITOR NEWS EDITOR
Ryan Hoffman @ryanhoffman3 Joshua Miller @Josh_TNRsports
SPORTS EDITOR PHOTO EDITOR
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAR NEAR CAMPUS?
WHAT IS YOUR WORST BAR EXPERIENCE WHILE AT UC?
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE BAR ATMOSPHERE AT UC COMPARED TO OTHER COLLEGES?
FUNNIEST BAR MEMORY?
ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE NEW TO BEING 21 ABOUT THE BARS AT UC?
Any place with karaoke.
I don’t know, but I’m laughing at Ryan’s answer.
UC is an urban campus so we’re close to many great neighborhoods for weekend entertainment.
Not enough space on this page ...
Fries or Murphy’s. Fries has more pool tables ... not that I’m good at pool, it’s just fun.
Either I haven’t had an outstanding awful experience or I can’t remember, one of the two.
I haven’t experienced many others, but I’d say we’re pretty lucky to have what we have.
I once fell asleep three times in one night at MOTR Pub.
Arlin’s if I’m bad, Baba Budan’s if I’m sad.
Walking home from Arlin’s down the middle of Clifton Avenue and then yelling at my friend’s cat.
There is a place for everyone here. You really don’t have to settle.
Having a little too much during karaoke night at Arlin’s and dedicating every song to this person I knew from my British Literature class — barely knew.
There’s nothing wrong with a 30 pack, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you actually have money.
Arlin’s. That is all.
Being thrown down the front stairs of Uncle Woody’s. You walk behind the bar to change the music one time and suddenly you’re public enemy number one.
Definitely more relaxed and less douchey.
I spent my 21st birthday in Carthage. I was going to go into detail, but it was unanimously decided that it would be too inappropriate. Use your imagination.
Catskellar after class and you’re on your ass. Catskellar at night, and you’re still on your ass.
As our team of editors decided on page eight, Arlin’s is second to none. But I have a special place in my heart for the staff at Catskellar and Mio’s.
I once carried one of my roommates several blocks home from Mac’s. To say that he was willing to leave or able to walk would both be wildly inaccurate.
It has improved a million times over in the four years that I’ve been here.
Funniest/worst is generally implied anytime the individuals on this page go to a bar together.
I’m a firm believer that — in the history of mankind, — nothing good has ever happened after consuming jello shots.
Although I spend most of my time at The Brass Tap, I have my best experiences at Arlin’s.
Never had a bad one yet. It’s usually the next morning when I check my bank statement.
We have a bar on campus and a late night shuttle service that taxis us around the slew of bars around the area. “Enabling” is only the beginning.
TNR Thanksgiving party at Arlin’s. I sang the hell out of “Blister in the Sun.”
Practice “I believe in a Thing Called Love,” it’s a real showstopper on karaoke night.
EDITORS I put the “kara” in “karaoke.”
BAR REVIEW ISSUE / WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 3
Artists, musicians, drinkers all gather at Rake’s End An atmosphere that makes customers feel like Beats, Rake’s End brings creative minds together JAKE GRIECO ARTS EDIOTR
It’s common for college students to want to “get weird.” The phrase has been twisted and morphed into a euphemism for shotgunning Nati Lights and buying too many shots of Fireball, but Rake’s End is a place where getting weird means being strange. Jerome Jaffe, owner of Rake’s End, runs the bar as if the Addam’s Family owned it. Only in this case, the excessively eccentric Uncle Fester had a say over Morticia and Gomez. Its dimmer than dim lighting is neutralized by lit-up art and candles while numerous sculptures throw shadows on the venue. Jaffe and his siblings, who make up the collaborative art group TODT, create the art that hangs from the walls. TODT has exhibited all around Cincinnati and New York and won five awards from the Ohio Arts Council, among many others. Rake’s End is a venue for artists that don’t fit into the commercial market of music. A glow from several illuminated canvases serves as concert lighting for the constant stream of bands and poets that perform. The musky atmosphere makes it feel like the old stomping grounds of Jack Kerouac. There are rock and roll poets, jazz and DJ sets that either perform on the modest stage or take to the floor, making select shows very intimate. Every Monday Jaffe hosts a potluck. He makes dinner and sets it out for customers, offering them plates even if they don’t opt to add to the feast. Some nights no more than two or three people are found at the Rake, usually the regulars indulging in conversation with Jaffe; other nights, standing room is scarce and you have to be mindful of the delicate and protruding art that blankets the narrow one-roomed bar. What makes Rake’s End so great is that the more a person goes, the better the chances are of seeing something rare and beautiful, like a high-heeled lizard leg wearing a ruby stiletto.
“The musky atmosphere makes it feel like the old stomping grounds of Jack Kerouac. ” KATIE GRIFFITH MANAGING EDITOR
Everywhere in Rake’s End there is something to look; odd art is no stranger to these walls. This spiked reptile has a leg for a body that sports a ruby-red high heel.
The kind of performers Rake’s End attract have a range of styles, from quiet background music to life changing acts that make the audience want to come back for more than the mind-blowing art. The drinks are one of the most interesting things about Rake’s End. They always have very peculiar specials that are sometimes a risk to indulge in. Most notably is the Heavy Metal Special, which is a lovely blend of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Crow Bourbon for $4. The bar has a decent selection of beers that will satisfy any taste from craft beer enthusiast to bottom-feeder cheap beer drinkers. Rake’s End doesn’t open until 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The hours make it essential for Rake’s End to offer its customers something they can’t find anywhere else.
KATIE GRIFFITH MANAGING EDITOR
Owner Jerome Jaffe and his siblings make up TODT, which translates to death or dead in an old German language.
BAR REVIEW ISSUE / WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 4
Looking for good drinks close to campus? BRYAN SHUPE CHIEF REPORTER
THE BRASS TAP Of all the businesses brought to University Heights by the development of U Square @ the Loop, The Brass Tap is bringing a breath of fresh air to the bar scene more so than the rest. With 80 beers on tap — 30 of which are brewed locally — and more than 150 bottled beers, it’s nearly impossible for one to find a beer not suited for their pallet. The Cincinnati-brewed Thirty-37 American Pale Ale, from Fifty West Brewing Company, bursts with flavor and a bold aroma that is both malty and floral. You’ll taste the dry finish of hop spice, as you’d expect from a pale ale, but it’s in no way overbearing. Warning: if you are a loyal drinker of Bud Light, the
Brass Tap is not for you. At $6 per bottle, it’s fiscally irresponsible to deviate from the craft beer selection. It might seem surprising that the Brass Tap, located in the 200 block of Calhoun Street, would have so many local beers considering it’s a budding franchise with 12 locations, but its dedication to home-brewed suds is what makes it stand out among the many bars surrounding the University of Cincinnati. The Identity Crisis from Madtree Brewing Company, located in Columbia Township, gives the impression that it’d be thick enough to chew, but it combines a roasted malt of a strong porter, while still maintaining a hoppy drinkability that you’d find in an IPA. With a 6.9 percent alcohol content and its $3 price during happy hour, this beer is more than enough bang for your buck. In fact, from the time the doors open at 3 p.m. patrons can get any pint of local craft beer for $3 until 8 p.m. when happy hour ends. The elongated bar top is stained with a darkened walnut color, which combines with the low lighting and elevated seating to provide an intimate, yet inclusive setting. However the Brass Tap falls short when it comes to food and liquor choices. With plenty of restaurant choices nearby and reasonably priced personal pretzel pizzas — between $8 and $9 — food is the lesser of the two shortfalls. The liquor selection is very limited. By lacking essentials such as triple sec, you won’t be sipping on Long Island iced teas or Cosmopolitan cocktails at this bar. Also, because of its increase in popularity since the October grand opening, the beer kegs are almost completely depleted by the end of the weekend, which seriously limits your draft options until Wednesday when their inventory is restocked. Despite its shortcomings, the Brass Tap is not only a great place to explore your beer preferences, but it’s also a good place to mingle with a young college crowd. Almost every night of the week you’ll find something going on — the place is packed Tuesday nights for trivia, Wednesdays are karaoke nights and you can hear live music most Fridays and Saturdays.
SARA BLANKEMEYER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
The Brass Tap on Calhoun Street serves up 80 beers on tap and an additional 150 bottled beers, with a focus on locally brewed craft beers.
DRUNKEN BENTO As the name suggests, Drunken Bento is a fine example of Americanized Japanese cuisine with a good mix of alcohol. The quirky sushi bar, located on McMillan Street, gives off more of a café vibe than that of a bar. However, with its choices of beer, wine and sake, it makes it a must try for any uptown-area resident. Upon walking in there is a warm, welcome feeling. Patrons range from college students to families. On one side of the restaurant, there are hundreds of small wooden blocks jutting out of the wall. Each block is scribbled with names and dates of happy patrons. The restaurant is narrow, which makes for tight seating, but the hustle and bustle offers a lot of character. Aside from standard domestics there is a small selection of Japanese beers that any beer enthusiast needs to try. Among these Japanese beers is the Sapporo Premium, which is offered in a 22 oz. glass for $7 — $5 on Thursdays. At 5 percent alcohol content, the Sapporo is a Japanese rice lager that hardly differs from its American counterparts such as Budweiser. The sushi bar is expansive and features chefs who pay special attention to the presentation of the rolls, making sure each has a unique appearance. Aside from the selection, the Korean entrees are well priced, well prepared and come with vegetarian options. The appetizers are both delicious and well priced. Notably, the shrimp shumai: six steamed dumplings packed with shrimp and vegetables, available for $4.95. A happy hour of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. seems inconvenient. However, for $10, you can order two sake bombs, which is when a shot of sake is dropped into a glass of Japanese beer for expedited consumption. Drunken Bento is ideal for both lunches and nightcaps. It’s a quirky sushi bar that matches the restraints of a tight budget and offers a new experience to those who have not tasted the greatness of quality Japanese cuisine. It also doesn’t hurt that the sushi is always half priced.
BAR REVIEW ISSUE / WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 5
that has a 6.6 percent alcohol content and pairs well with spicy food. The billiard room on the second floor is also a notable mention. After climbing the stairs and walking into the room, you might think you accidently stepped onto the set of “Goodfellas.” The interior is fitted with leather couches and chairs and is finished with dark wood and low lighting that provide the ideal atmosphere for shooting pool. Given its price range and beer selection, it’s hard to find a downside to this bar. If you happen to catch to a show at Bogart’s, Dive Bar is a necessity for preand post-gaming.
FRIES Fries Cafe, one of the oldest and most roomy bars in the uptown area, was established in 1930, yet it still manages to meet today’s standards of a friendly neighborhood pub with a certain nightlife appeal. Walking in there are three options: up, down or through the door. The last of the three options leads you to the main room, complete with karaoke machine, bar, shuffleboard and multiple seating options. If you’re looking for a hole in the wall to shoot pool,
this is it. Up or down will take you to pool tables, dart boards and more space to mingle. There is a strong musty smell, most likely due to old age, but the saloon setup adds a charm that evens itself out. Positioned on Jefferson Avenue between Clifton Avenue and Vine Street, the bar is not far from campus and is located in a building of flickering lights and half furnished walls. The bar has seven taps that are constantly changing, which makes for a decent selection of beers on draft. Currently on tap is the Black Cannon IPA from Heavy Seas Beer, which is an interesting take on the traditional IPA. At first glance, its blackened color gives the impression of a thick stout or porter. At a strong 7.25 percent alcohol content, the Black Cannon gives a thick aroma of roasted barley. However, the smooth finish suggests that it’s still a notable IPA. As far as food goes, with the exception of Sunday’s chili cook off, there is a limited choice of chips and pretzels but both pair well with the beer. The liquor selection consists of the bare necessities, which makes it a decent hangout for college students on a budget. To fully experience Fries, it’s recommended to check it out with warm weather. The outdoor patio is massive with numerous tables, lawn chairs and a fire pit. Fries Café is an average bar, but considering its long history and charming yet dingy atmosphere, it makes it a notable mention in the uptown area.
SARA BLANKEMEYER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Dive Bar on Short Vine serves up cheap drinks and provides a cozy atmosphere. Unfortunately, Dive Bar does not have draft beer.
With its eccentric atmosphere and wide craft beer selection, Dive Bar’s customers can dive right into cheap beers and tasty tots on Short Vine. The bar’s expansive wraparound patio makes it a place better suited for warm weather, but given its ever-changing selection of bottled beers, it deserves to be enjoyed year-round. You can snag a Labatt Blue for $2.75 at anytime of the day, despite signs advertising it as so only during happy hour. Aside from the usual domestics, you can find a great selection of imported beers such as Smithwicks and Harp. Complementing the variety of beer, Dive Bar’s liquor selection is more than good enough to suit any preference. During happy hour, which runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., well liquors are $3. The food at Dive Bar is almost specifically geared for buzz-time eating. For $5.50 you can order the Tachos — tater tots smothered in nacho toppings and bacon. It’s greasy and messy, but irresistibly delicious. Along with hearty appetizers, they also serve substantial burgers that range from $7 to $8, and (as if they don’t fry enough bacon already) you can order their traditional “Jar ‘O Bacon” for $6.50. Dive Bar doesn’t have any taps for draft beer but it makes up for it with an assorted mix of bottled and canned beer. They currently have four different types of Rogue Ales beers, including their Dead Guy Ale
SARA BLANKEMEYER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Fries Cafe on Jefferson Avenue has been serving cold beers to thirsty customers for the past 70 years. The bar, which shows its age in a charming sense, has several pool tables, darts and a shuffleboard to keep patrons entertained as they enjoy one of the seven beers on tap.
BAR REVIEW ISSUE / WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 6
Too young to toast: Creative concoctions preserve flavor, eliminate alcohol Local restaurants, stores serve up different takes on beverages available to under-agers EMILY BEGLEY COLLEGE LIFE EDITOR
Frankly, being an underage college student sucks. Having a late birthday has been one of the few hiccups in my college experience; now that nearly everyone I know is 21, I’ve been permanently banished to the role of designated driver, which, more often than not, leads me to skip out on a night entirely. Although I’m under no impression that age is an absolute preventative factor when it comes to drinking, it definitely presents challenges in quite a few social situations. I can’t wait for the day I can walk into a bar, present my ID and order one of the many drinks that have earned themselves a name among my friends. But until that day comes, I’ll continue to seek out any spectacular non-alcoholic beverage I can find. Thankfully, almost every restaurant in Cincinnati offers variations on their alcoholic selections, which generally turn out to be as good or even better than their counterparts. My fridge is also packed with some choice drinks that are indistinguishably non-alcoholic (if I didn’t already know better). Whether you’re a fellow under-ager, switching up your choices or simply don’t like the taste of alcohol, these locally available beverages will quench your thirst without sacrificing your taste buds. WELCH’S SPARKLING WHITE GRAPE JUICE Bubbly, fruity and flavorful, Welch’s is my go-to brand for Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays. Its texture is reminiscent of champagne, so I’m not quite as jealous when my friends pop the cork on some chardonnay. Walmart, 25.4 fl oz, $2.97.
SPARKLING SPRITZERS Hundreds of variations exist on these fruity spritzers, which convincingly look and taste like glasses of wine. Sparkling soda, mint and sugar combine with fresh fruits like raspberries to create a satisfying, non-alcoholic concoction. Various ingredients and recipes available.
TASTE OF BELGIUM Face the polar vortex head-on with some warm, unique coffee drinks from Taste of Belgium. Choose from nine artisan-roasted coffees and add on caramel, hazelnut, chocolate and/or vanilla. Although the thought is currently unfathomable, all drinks can also be served iced. 2845 Vine St.; all coffee drinks under $5.
CLUB SODA Even though club soda may seem like a boring choice, there are dozens of ways to dress up a glass and make it appeal to your favorite flavor. Add in some fresh fruit or juice for a tasty kick or mix in about a half glass of orange juice to create a mock mimosa. Kroger; various brands available. EL JINETE MEXICAN RESTAURANT Known for its deliciously intoxicating margaritas, El Jinete also serves up a variety of non-alcoholic takes from their extensive drink menu. Order a slushy frozen drink in your choice of banana, mango, peach, strawberry and more. Plus, the restaurant has impressive entrees, including an extensive vegetarian menu. 3972 Red Bank Rd.; 10780 Montgomery Rd. YARD HOUSE Yard House was newly situated in The Banks during the summer, bringing with it superior meals, round-the-clock rock music and nearly 5,000 gallons of beer at a time. Although Yard House is a drink connoisseur’s paradise (with a drink menu that will keep you scrolling online for minutes at a time), under-agers can enjoy non-alcoholic takes on mojitos, daiquiris and Bloody Marys. 95 East Freedom Way.
EMILY BEGLEY COLLEGE LIFE EDITOR
Yard House is one of many local restaurants able to put a tasty nonalcoholic twist on select drinks.
BAR REVIEW ISSUE WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29 / PAGE 7
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BAR REVIEW ISSUE / WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2014 / PAGE 8
THE NEWS RECORD’S
BEST BAR AWARDS
In early January, The News Record published its annual “Best of UC” edition, naming the best this and that and everything else, as voted by you fine folks. The category of best bar, however, is simply too broad. There are a myriad of different kinds of bars catering to different clientele, all of which are looking for something different in what they would call their own individual “best bar.” Simply put, it wasn’t fair of us to sling together a list of every bar in the area and expect you all to vote on which was the best. Obviously you were overwhelmed by the task, as you inexplicably voted Uncle Woody’s Pub the Best UC Bar. Whether that be the result of confusion or voter fraud — the likes of which this city hasn’t seen since the days of George “Box” Cox allegedly executing someone on the courthouse steps — it’s as puzzling as it is wrong. Disclaimer: These categories include bars only from the neighborhoods directly surrounding campus: Corryville, Clifton, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview.
Best Craft Beer Bar:
Let’s go ahead and acknowledge Olives at The Ludlow Garage for their dedication to rotating craft beer and, more so, for their refusal to waste precious tap space with the likes of Bud Light and Coors. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, a bar touting itself as a home for the most crafted of beers shalt not draft domestic. With that being said, the winner of this category — by sheer force of will — is The Brass Tap. With 80 taps, a heavy focus on Cincinnati’s booming local beer scene and one of the better beer club rewards programs around, TBT is a Mecca of beer unrivaled by any other establishment in the campus area. More impressive than anything, their staff is extremely knowledgeable and unlike many bars with the same model, they’re not pretentious asses, either.
Best “I Only Have $6.37 in My Wallet” Bar:
Call a spade a spade — Daniels Pub, which truthfully is no pub at all, is one God-awful, ugly looking spade. But if you can get past everything wrong with the interior — everything — the cigarette smoke and the fear that the ceiling may collapse at anytime, cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon are $1 and well whiskey is $2.50 … And, no, those aren’t happy hour prices.
Behind the bar at Arlin’s Bar and Restaurant, the winner of The News Record’s award for Best UC Bar.
Best College Atmosphere Bar:
Free popcorn and hot dogs … what could possibly be more collegiate than that? Cheers to you Murphy’s Pub, where you can enjoy binge-drinkingly-low happy hour prices and convey your general actions in a manner that won’t be appropriate by the time you have a “real job.” Most importantly, unlike a few other “college bars” surrounding our campus, you don’t have to wear Sperry’s, pink chinos and your father’s credit card to fit in. Everyone’s welcome. Everyone’s intoxicated.You’ll regret it in the morning, if you remember it at all. It’s a college bar, baby.
Best Coffee House Posing as a Bar:
Not many know it, most likely because you can walk past without noticing that it’s there, but Highland Coffee House is a hidden gem. Call us stereotypical hipster journalists if you wish, but there’s no better blend of bar/ coffee atmosphere in all of Cincinnati than at Highland’s. There’s a functioning cigarette machine, five beer taps, great coffee and $5 never bought so much Jameson.
Best Bar None of You Idiots are Drinking at:
We here at The News Record couldn’t hand out bar awards with a straight face without honoring the crown jewel of this fine campus, The Catskellar. We couldn’t find a solid number of colleges in America that have actual functioning bars on campus, but our staff has visited somewhere in the range of 100 colleges, and not a single one of them had one. It’s a thing a beauty, a place where you can snag a great beer between classes or drown your sorrows after failing that (insert test, class, life, here) centrally located in the heart of campus. God bless you for everything you do, Catskellar.
Best Cocktail Bar:
Slightly removed from the binge drinking masses of Calhoun Street, sits Olives at The Ludlow Garage.
SARA BLANKEMEYER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Once the premier concert venue in the campus area, Olives is probably the only bar near UC where, A: the bartenders would know how to make an Old Fashioned, B: the bartenders would have the materials to do so and, C: the bartenders wouldn’t be pissed off about making one.
Best “Dear God My Head Hurts” Bar:
Until March, when Hangover Easy is scheduled to finally open, pull yourself together, splash some water on your face and stumble your way to the newly opened Taste of Belgium on Short Vine. They’re open earlier than anyone else and the breakfast food is among the best in the City Step one: Order a Bloody Mary, Irish coffee, or one of their numerous — rare — Belgian beers on draft. Step Two: Bask in the glory of a large order of Belgian frites, with extra sauce. Step Three: Recover.
Best All-Around Bar:
This honor is not one that we bestow lightly. But in the end, it was bestowed unanimously. There is only one bar that manages to blend the qualities of all of these categories to produce the best watering hole. Half college bar, half neighborhood hangout, this place blends the best of both worlds in terms of drinks: PBR on draft is always $1.50 and there’s never a shortage of local crafts on tap. The bar is fully stocked from low shelf to top, and whether it’s a shot of Fireball or a martini you desire, they will be there, poured heavy and cheap. Your dogs are welcome, inside or out and there’s two stories worth of outdoor seating. Whether you’re a skateboarder with dreadlocks or a professor fleeing from the perils of academia, there’s a place for you, regardless of creed, style or drink. It’s Arlin’s — where everybody knows your name. EDITORS JOSHUA MILLER, RYAN HOFFMAN, PHIL DIDION, JAKE GRIECO AND AEXIS O’BRIEN CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY