Best Of 2019

Oakley Wines started as a boutique bottle shop just off the main drag in Oakley. And then it became more than a neighborhood hang when upward of 100 people started stopping in for Friday-night wine tastings. So, expanding with demand, owner Zach Eidson revamped the basement and turned it into The Cellar bar. In September, big news came when it was announced that the owners of The Rhined cheese shop in Findlay Market, Stephanie and Dave Webster, purchased Oakley Wines from Eidson. Those who frequent Oakley Wines for its wine bar and bottle shop need not worry — those grapes aren’t goin’ anywhere. Instead, the new owners plan to build on the progress of Eidson, offering “reinvigorated retail wine offerings, glass pours, cocktails, events and a new menu featuring select artisan cheeses.” Furthering the love affair between everyone’s favorite fermented combo, the Websters have ramped up the dairy offerings with curated cheese and charcuterie boards, assorted toasts (carrot and taleggio, ricotta and blistered cherry tomato, speck and cultured butter) and a whipped goat cheese dip. Friday night tastings haven’t gone anywhere, and they now offer expanded hours on Sunday for additional sipping. Oakley Wines, 4011 Allston St., Oakley, oakleywines.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