Best Of 2020

Formerly home to an old bowling alley, the 1930s Flamingo Club and 1980s Punk Rock venue The Jockey Club, the Wooden Cask Brewing Company is located in the heart of Newport’s historic section. And the owners — Karen and Randy Schiltz (a co-founder of Rivertown Brewery) — have incorporated some of that past into their current taproom: The bar and some tabletops are handcrafted from the building’s reclaimed bowling lanes. And while the décor may be missing some of the cushy amenities found at bigger name breweries, Wooden Cask’s focus is on high-quality, highly drinkable beers. “We don’t rely on trends or gimmicks to influence the beers we do. Every beer we do is a good, drinkable beer,” said Karen in an interview for CityBeat’s Beer Issue. And she’s right. Traditional English, Irish and Scottish beers are the house specialty, though the draft list is no stranger to IPAs, wheats and blonde ales. If it’s your first time, opt for a flight from their 18 taps to sample their range. Go with something easy like the Girl Next Door blonde ale or a Tweed English mild and then set your tastebuds up for a real thrill with one of their seasonal bourbon-barrel-aged brews or small-batch collaborations with the on-site Drunken Hog BBQ. And if you don’t like beer, they also serve their own cider and wine and even some spirits. Wooden Cask Brewing Company, 629 York St., Newport,

Music & Nightlife
Illustration: Taylor Speed

Veteran Cincinnati Hip Hop artist Santino Corleon (now going by just Santino) kicked off what is looking to be a helluva 2020 by signing a record deal and getting some prime national TV exposure. If you saw the commercials for Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time — the game show’s prime-time tournament on ABC featuring its greatest champions — you got a little taste of Corleon’s talents. Santino’s song “GOAT” — a possible future “Jock Jam” classic — was featured in the promos for the show. The single was the first music released as part of Corleon’s new record deal, as he became one of the first signings to 83 Sound, the label founded by producer Cook Classics (whose work includes hits like Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes” and Ava Max’s “Sweet But Psycho”) and Platinum-selling Pop artist and songwriter Outasight. Santino,

Twenties, the descriptively named 1920s-themed cocktail bar that took over the former Myrtle’s Punch House spot in East Walnut Hills, is a jazzy sort of destination that plays on century-old cocktail culture with a drink menu featuring classic libations and updated takes — think an Old Fashioned made with mezcal or rum instead of your standard bourbon (but they have the bourbon version, too) — as well as local craft drafts, wine and spirits from Cincinnati distilleries. The generously sized bar features ample seating throughout the space as well as in the cozy catacomb-style cellar, which is more like a speakeasy with cool ambient lighting and less about skeletons. TVs play black-and-white films for some anachronistic flair, and they recently opened a billiards parlor inside. For a real deal, the bar offers $7 select drinks on Thursdays. If you’re looking for a spot to try out your new futuristic flapper look, this might be the place. Twenties, 2733 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills,

If Rock legends KISS are going to roll around the country to graciously give fans one more chance to see them/give them money on their “farewell” (insert eye-roll emoji) tour, the band could have at least hired a merch director who knows how to spell the names of the cities they are visiting. When the group came to rock Riverbend one last time over the summer, they were selling the local version of their city-specific tour T-shirts, which were created to make fans feel like KISS cares so much about our town, they went and made an exclusive Cincinnati shirt. Or, rather, “Cincinnatti” shirt. The misspelled tees — photos of which quickly went viral on social media — were priced at $50 and are probably collector’s items of some sort, so hold onto yours if you bought one. Heck, maybe that was the game plan all along — if nothing else, KISS are pretty savvy when it comes to making money off of merchandizing. Maybe Jean Simons held back a few boxes for himself to sell on eBay as he gets further into his twilight years?

2. March First Brewing         

3. The Village Tavern 

2. Northside Yacht Club        

3. The Comet 

2. MOTR Pub  

3. Arnold’s Bar & Grill

2. Mt. Lookout Tavern

3. Latitudes Bar & Bistro      

2. The Hannaford      

3. The Southgate House Revival

2. The Crow’s Nest   

3. Blue Note Harrison