Best Of 2020

Best Northern Kentucky Bar Scene Revival: Jerry’s Jug House and Larry's

Best Northern Kentucky Bar Scene Revival

Covington and Newport have dive bars aplenty, but last year a couple of them underwent a makeover. Northside Yacht Club co-owner Stuart MacKenzie and preservationist Mark Ramler transformed Newport’s 80-year-old Jerry’s Jug House and added craft cocktails, organic wines, White Claw and local craft drafts to the menu while still serving cheap domestic beers. (Keeping with the jug house of yore, you can buy bottles of wine and beer to go.) The flaked-ice libations include everything from housemade vanilla syrup-mixed Coke with bourbon to negronis. On the other side of town, near MainStrasse, Larry’s, named after previous owner Larry Collins, also maintains its kitschy essence — billiards, a fake Buffalo head presiding over the bar, a pinball lamp, $3 Tullamore on Thursdays — while also integrating a few simple Kentucky cocktails, all priced under $7. The bar was once known as Larry’s All-American Café, so new owners Paul Weckman and Emily Wolff created a full food menu with gourmet hot dogs (with veggie/vegan options) and tater tots. Larry’s and Jerry’s still exude nostalgia yet have successfully adapted to modern times. Jerry’s Jug House, 414 E. Seventh St., Newport, facebook.com/jerrysjughouse; Larry’s, 536 W. Ninth St., Covington, 859-360-6259, searchable on Facebook.