Best Of 2019

The Lodge is a remodeled 9,000-square-foot Masonic Temple that is now bustling with artistic pursuits of all sorts. The space is home to photography, screenprinting and art studios; an electronic repairs service; and a performance and event space. The conversion began when Scott Beseler purchased the Dayton, Kentucky building in 2011 and it has grown steadily ever since. In 2013, Walk the Moon encamped at The Lodge to write their breakthrough album, Talking is Hard. Last year, after Cincinnati music mainstay Ultrasuede Studios was run out of its longtime spot on Spring Grove Avenue in Camp Washington, the recording studio’s owner John Curley (bassist for The Afghan Whigs) announced he was moving operations across the river to The Lodge, augmenting the recording facilities initiated there by co-founder Johnny Walker of the Soledad Brothers when the space first opened. It’s also become a cool under-the-radar live music venue, hosting shows by the likes of Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards, James Leg of Black Diamond Heavies and many others. You never know who will pop into The Lodge — Jack White visited when he was in town last summer. The Lodge, 231 Sixth Ave., Dayton, Ky., thelodgeky.com.

Music & Nightlife


2. The Blind Lemon

3. The Overlook Lodge

2. Sundry and Vice

3. MOTR Pub

2. Dutch’s

3. Oakley Pub and Grill

2. Fox & Hound

3. Back Porch Saloon

2. Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar

3. Bobby Mackey’s

2. The Crow’s Nest

3. Knotty Pine Rock Club & Tiki Bar

2. MOTR Pub

3. The Southgate House Revival

2. The Southgate House Revival

3. Madison Theater

2. Sundry and Vice

3. Queen City Exchange

2. Molly Wellmann (Japp’s)

3. Sara Hutslar (MadTree Brewing)

2. Giacomo Ciminello (Night Drop)

3. Nick Squeri (Queen City Exchange)

2. Higher Gravity

3. Queen City Exchange

If there’s one thing Cincinnatians love more than a local brewery, it’s a local brewery with an outdoor drinking area — especially if that drinking area happens to be elevated (cough Rhinegeist cough). So when Braxton Brewing Co. announced a $5 million expansion plan in January, which includes a 5,000-square-foot rooftop deck, it just gave us one more reason to love the Cov and Braxton. The plan permits the brewery to ramp up annual production to 30,000 barrels to allow them to better serve beer drinkers locally and throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Renderings show astroturf, lawn games (aka cornhole), outdoor seating, string lights and fire pits plus a view of the city. The upstairs bar will pour Braxton brews and serve cocktails and the brewery’s new Vive hard seltzer. The rooftop is currently under construction and is expected to open in summer 2019. Braxton Brewing Co., 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, braxtonbrewing.com.

2. Arnold’s Bar & Grill

3. Hang Over Easy

4. The Eagle OTR

5. Northside Yacht Club

6. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar

7. Higher Gravity

8. Taste of Belgium

9. Redwine & Co.

10. S.W. Clyborne Co.

Best Bloody Mary We’ll Miss
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

At the end of February 2019, The Anchor-OTR announced it was closing its doors after seven years of slinging super-fresh seafood to Cincinnatians at the corner of 14th and Race streets. It’s always sad to lose a favorite neighborhood haunt, and the loss of the Anchor will be felt quite deeply by fish fans … and bloody mary stans. The restaurant conjured up what might be the city’s most decadent drink via its Longshorman’s Bloody Mary. Named in homage of 1934’s “Bloody Thursday,” when longshoremen went on strike along the Pacific Coast, this drink balanced spice, acidity, sweetness and several sea creatures. The housemade base consisted of tomato juice, horseradish, pickle and olive juice, four different hot sauces, sugar, cayenne, garlic and a touch of umami with Old Bay seasoning. But it went big with the garnish, showcasing the Anchor’s fresh seafood with the option to add a lobster claw, shrimp or an oyster for an upcharge. It was big, bold and beautiful. And its loss is enough to shed a salty tear over.

2. Sundry and Vice

3. Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar

2. Newberry Bros. Coffee & Prohibition Bourbon Bar

3. Wiseguy Lounge

2. Jungle Jim’s International Market

3. DEP’s Fine Wine and Spirits