27 Low-Key Cincinnati Bars For a Chill Night Out

A night out on the town doesn't have to mean navigating through crowded bars and dodging elbows — there are plenty of laid-back bars in the Queen City to choose from.
Scroll down to view images
Page 1 of 2
The Blind Lemon
936 Hatch St., Mount Adams
Mount Adams’ favorite backyard bar since 1963. Walk down a set of stairs to find a secret, little hideaway. Outside, the relaxed garden patio is like a boho blend of Bourbon Street and Paris café life. With live music every night, it’s one of the most romantic drinking destinations in the city.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Blind Lemon

936 Hatch St., Mount Adams
Mount Adams’ favorite backyard bar since 1963. Walk down a set of stairs to find a secret, little hideaway. Outside, the relaxed garden patio is like a boho blend of Bourbon Street and Paris café life. With live music every night, it’s one of the most romantic drinking destinations in the city.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
1 of 27
Low Spark
15 W. 14th. St., Over-the-Rhine
This small, '70s-inspired bar is centered around a big tropical aquarium, an oasis in the bustling Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Sip a pop culture-themed cocktail (or a glass of wine or one of the beers on tap) while jamming out to songs from the vinyl record player.
Photo via Facebook.com/LowSparkOTR

Low Spark

15 W. 14th. St., Over-the-Rhine
This small, '70s-inspired bar is centered around a big tropical aquarium, an oasis in the bustling Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Sip a pop culture-themed cocktail (or a glass of wine or one of the beers on tap) while jamming out to songs from the vinyl record player.
Photo via Facebook.com/LowSparkOTR
2 of 27
Hi-Mark
3229 Riverside Drive, East End
Named for Ohio River flooding, the Hi-Mark — from the groups that brought you cult favorites Eli’s BBQ and Pho Lang Thang — is a laid-back neighborhood hang with a rotating list of local, regional and “essential” (read: Budweiser, Guinness, etc.) beers, and interesting hi-balls, like the Horse’s Neck, made with bourbon, bitters and ginger ale. The kitchen is open late for upscale bar bites on weekends.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Hi-Mark

3229 Riverside Drive, East End
Named for Ohio River flooding, the Hi-Mark — from the groups that brought you cult favorites Eli’s BBQ and Pho Lang Thang — is a laid-back neighborhood hang with a rotating list of local, regional and “essential” (read: Budweiser, Guinness, etc.) beers, and interesting hi-balls, like the Horse’s Neck, made with bourbon, bitters and ginger ale. The kitchen is open late for upscale bar bites on weekends.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
3 of 27
The Fairfield Market
700 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
A cafe by day, The Fairfield Market becomes a bar by night, offering house cocktails and a rotating wine and beer selection. It’s a fast-casual place that can be whatever you want it to be, including a place to reconnect with friends or just put your feet up. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Fairfield Market

700 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
A cafe by day, The Fairfield Market becomes a bar by night, offering house cocktails and a rotating wine and beer selection. It’s a fast-casual place that can be whatever you want it to be, including a place to reconnect with friends or just put your feet up.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
4 of 27
Bay Horse Cafe and Roadhouse
625 Main St., Downtown
This historic and recently restored bar has a classic, homey feel. The affordable menu matches its relaxed vibe; it’s populated with $6 cocktails (sidecars, Manhattans and martinis), $4 25-ounce Huedepohl schooners and draft beers. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Bay Horse Cafe and Roadhouse

625 Main St., Downtown
This historic and recently restored bar has a classic, homey feel. The affordable menu matches its relaxed vibe; it’s populated with $6 cocktails (sidecars, Manhattans and martinis), $4 25-ounce Huedepohl schooners and draft beers.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
5 of 27
Cobblestone OTR
1132 Race St., Over The Rhine
The no-frills establishment feels more like hanging out in a friend’s living room than the kind of preening-for-the-popular-crowd posturing that can happen at other drinking destinations. Cobblestone is about chill as they come, and all are welcome to stop by.  
Photo: Paige Deglow

Cobblestone OTR

1132 Race St., Over The Rhine
The no-frills establishment feels more like hanging out in a friend’s living room than the kind of preening-for-the-popular-crowd posturing that can happen at other drinking destinations. Cobblestone is about chill as they come, and all are welcome to stop by.
Photo: Paige Deglow
6 of 27
Woodburn Brewery
2800 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
This East Walnut Hills brewery has a relaxed industrial interior where dogs (and their people) are always welcome to chill. It offers a plethora of creative beers, from fruity ales brewed with produce grown at Krohn Conservatory to a mocha milk stout.
Photo: Brittany Thornton

Woodburn Brewery

2800 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
This East Walnut Hills brewery has a relaxed industrial interior where dogs (and their people) are always welcome to chill. It offers a plethora of creative beers, from fruity ales brewed with produce grown at Krohn Conservatory to a mocha milk stout.
Photo: Brittany Thornton
7 of 27
Vestry at the Transept
1205 Elm St., Over-The-Rhine
Located in an old church, the Vestry aims to be a “sophisticated yet relaxed venue” amid the Over-the-Rhine arts corridor. With its leather banquettes, wingback chairs, large windows that look out on Washington Park, vivid square-paneled artwork and brown and black barstools, it manages to feel intimate inside the capacious setting.
Photo via Facebook.com/VestryattheTranscept

Vestry at the Transept

1205 Elm St., Over-The-Rhine
Located in an old church, the Vestry aims to be a “sophisticated yet relaxed venue” amid the Over-the-Rhine arts corridor. With its leather banquettes, wingback chairs, large windows that look out on Washington Park, vivid square-paneled artwork and brown and black barstools, it manages to feel intimate inside the capacious setting.
Photo via Facebook.com/VestryattheTranscept
8 of 27
White Oak Marathon
6050 Cheviot Road, White Oak
A White Oak staple. This gas station offers one of the area’s widest craft beer and fine wine selections as well as Wine Wednesdays and Thursday Pint Nights hosted on their spacious back patio. That’s right — they have a bar with rotating beer taps updated almost weekly. Need to make a quick stop? Swing through their drive-thru. Fill up your tank, grab a drank and enjoy great company at this local one-stop shop. 
Photo: Twitter.com/CheviotMarathon

White Oak Marathon

6050 Cheviot Road, White Oak
A White Oak staple. This gas station offers one of the area’s widest craft beer and fine wine selections as well as Wine Wednesdays and Thursday Pint Nights hosted on their spacious back patio. That’s right — they have a bar with rotating beer taps updated almost weekly. Need to make a quick stop? Swing through their drive-thru. Fill up your tank, grab a drank and enjoy great company at this local one-stop shop.
Photo: Twitter.com/CheviotMarathon
9 of 27
Milton’s
301 Milton St., Prospect Hill
Prospect Hill’s neighborhood joint is chatty, diverse and full of character. A great place to have a beer, relax and chat it up with the regulars.
Photo via Facebook.com/MiltonsTheProspectHillTavern

Milton’s

301 Milton St., Prospect Hill
Prospect Hill’s neighborhood joint is chatty, diverse and full of character. A great place to have a beer, relax and chat it up with the regulars.
Photo via Facebook.com/MiltonsTheProspectHillTavern
10 of 27
Liberty’s Bar and Bottle
1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
This charming bar is a great place to relax on the sofa with a glass of wine, made better by the fact that dogs are welcome inside. Drinks-wise, it offers the best of both the bar and the bottle with rotating craft beers on tap and 15 wines available by the glass — including half-pours — along with 100 bottles of wine and 40 craft beers via retail.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Liberty’s Bar and Bottle

1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
This charming bar is a great place to relax on the sofa with a glass of wine, made better by the fact that dogs are welcome inside. Drinks-wise, it offers the best of both the bar and the bottle with rotating craft beers on tap and 15 wines available by the glass — including half-pours — along with 100 bottles of wine and 40 craft beers via retail.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
11 of 27
Fries Cafe
3245 Jefferson Ave., Clifton
Before opening as a bar in the 1930s, Fries Cafe was a Kroger grocery store. Today, it brings nearby college students and local residents together to kick off the weekend. It offers a large selection of craft beers on tap. If you’re in the mood for games, Fries offers three floors of shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. You can also head out back and chill on the massive patio. 
Photo via Facebook.com/FriesCafe

Fries Cafe

3245 Jefferson Ave., Clifton
Before opening as a bar in the 1930s, Fries Cafe was a Kroger grocery store. Today, it brings nearby college students and local residents together to kick off the weekend. It offers a large selection of craft beers on tap. If you’re in the mood for games, Fries offers three floors of shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. You can also head out back and chill on the massive patio.
Photo via Facebook.com/FriesCafe
12 of 27
Fuel Lounge 
1424 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Located on the lower floor of the BunkHaus hostel, this bar is a great place to chill while rubbing shoulders with visitors to Cincinnati. The artsy interior matches the bohemian vibe.
Photo via Facebook.com/FuelLoungeOTR

Fuel Lounge

1424 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Located on the lower floor of the BunkHaus hostel, this bar is a great place to chill while rubbing shoulders with visitors to Cincinnati. The artsy interior matches the bohemian vibe.
Photo via Facebook.com/FuelLoungeOTR
13 of 27
Mecca
1429 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
This artsy bar is downright chill on Sundays and weekday evenings. The big-ass gravel patio, colorful street-art murals, rainbow lighting and plethora of communal seating make this a welcoming spot for those interested in no-frills drinking, L.A. vibes, vinyl tunes and free popcorn. The aesthetic is strong with this one, guys, and so are their San Pell Chunker cocktails, with a mini airplane bottle of booze inverted into a can of flavored sparkling water. They also offer a selection of craft beers and wines.
Photo: Brittany Thornton

Mecca

1429 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
This artsy bar is downright chill on Sundays and weekday evenings. The big-ass gravel patio, colorful street-art murals, rainbow lighting and plethora of communal seating make this a welcoming spot for those interested in no-frills drinking, L.A. vibes, vinyl tunes and free popcorn. The aesthetic is strong with this one, guys, and so are their San Pell Chunker cocktails, with a mini airplane bottle of booze inverted into a can of flavored sparkling water. They also offer a selection of craft beers and wines.
Photo: Brittany Thornton
14 of 27
Second Place
3936 Spring Grove Ave., Northside
Second Place is a self-deprecating sports bar with outdoor ping pong, boozy slushies and free popcorn. It aims to be a place to watch sports, while not beating you over the head with a sports bar theme. Unimposing TVs above and around the bar show football, basketball and soccer games; but there’s also a pool table, dart boards and a bookshelf full of various board games and card games. Instead of TV commercials and referees’ whistles assaulting your ears, there’s actual music playing, chosen by the bartenders.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Second Place

3936 Spring Grove Ave., Northside
Second Place is a self-deprecating sports bar with outdoor ping pong, boozy slushies and free popcorn. It aims to be a place to watch sports, while not beating you over the head with a sports bar theme. Unimposing TVs above and around the bar show football, basketball and soccer games; but there’s also a pool table, dart boards and a bookshelf full of various board games and card games. Instead of TV commercials and referees’ whistles assaulting your ears, there’s actual music playing, chosen by the bartenders.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
15 of 27
Aster on Fourth 
8 E. Fourth St., Downtown
This social sippery is a casual cocktail space above the downtown location of Sleepy Bee Cafe. The beverage director and Bee chefs worked together to create a menu that brought "the farm to the cocktail world." Tapping into the latest trend in mixology, there's also a smattering of non-alcoholic and low ABV cocktails that go beyond soda and virgin mixed drinks to accommodate everyone in your party. Socials — carafes of drinks for sharing with friends old and new — are perfect when imbibed on the rooftop patio. The bar also offers sharable bites like burrata, ember oil hummus, cheese, charcuterie and more.  
Photo: Facebook.com/AsterOnFourth

Aster on Fourth

8 E. Fourth St., Downtown
This social sippery is a casual cocktail space above the downtown location of Sleepy Bee Cafe. The beverage director and Bee chefs worked together to create a menu that brought "the farm to the cocktail world." Tapping into the latest trend in mixology, there's also a smattering of non-alcoholic and low ABV cocktails that go beyond soda and virgin mixed drinks to accommodate everyone in your party. Socials — carafes of drinks for sharing with friends old and new — are perfect when imbibed on the rooftop patio. The bar also offers sharable bites like burrata, ember oil hummus, cheese, charcuterie and more.
Photo: Facebook.com/AsterOnFourth
16 of 27
Arnold’s Bar and Grill
210 E. Eighth St., Downtown
A friendly, diverse and historic gin joint, Arnold's is the city's oldest bar — in operation since the 1860s. It’s quintessentially Cincinnati, relaxed and not pretentious. The cheap (strong) drinks and almost daily live music — from Bluegrass and Americana to Jazz — complement the awesome interior courtyard, which used to be a stable and carriage house. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Arnold’s Bar and Grill

210 E. Eighth St., Downtown
A friendly, diverse and historic gin joint, Arnold's is the city's oldest bar — in operation since the 1860s. It’s quintessentially Cincinnati, relaxed and not pretentious. The cheap (strong) drinks and almost daily live music — from Bluegrass and Americana to Jazz — complement the awesome interior courtyard, which used to be a stable and carriage house.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
17 of 27
Fibonacci Brewing
1445 Compton Road, Mount Healthy
This chill, science-themed nanobrewery is totally worth the drive. It offers seasonal brews as well as its permanent staples like The Tollhouse, an American stout crafted with coffee and cocoa. The Tollhouse gets its name from The Toll House Gang, which kept Mount Healthy’s past alive by swapping stories over a cup of joe at the old toll house. Today, locals go to Fibonacci to swap stories of their own over a pint of beer. 
Photo: Amanda Emerson

Fibonacci Brewing

1445 Compton Road, Mount Healthy
This chill, science-themed nanobrewery is totally worth the drive. It offers seasonal brews as well as its permanent staples like The Tollhouse, an American stout crafted with coffee and cocoa. The Tollhouse gets its name from The Toll House Gang, which kept Mount Healthy’s past alive by swapping stories over a cup of joe at the old toll house. Today, locals go to Fibonacci to swap stories of their own over a pint of beer.
Photo: Amanda Emerson
18 of 27
Northside Tavern
4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside
A laid-back neighborhood drinking destination, with a front bar, back bar and huge patio. There's free live music almost every night of the week, including infrequent live band karaoke. Not uncommon for happy hour here to last far into the night.
Photo via Facebook.com/NorthsideTavern

Northside Tavern

4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside
A laid-back neighborhood drinking destination, with a front bar, back bar and huge patio. There's free live music almost every night of the week, including infrequent live band karaoke. Not uncommon for happy hour here to last far into the night.
Photo via Facebook.com/NorthsideTavern
19 of 27
Boswell’s
1686 Blue Rock St., Northside
A casual Northside townie bar and grill in a historic building that dates back to 1886. The menu features inexpensive items with plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes. A renovated back patio houses an al fresco bar and yard games.
Photo: Catie Viox

Boswell’s

1686 Blue Rock St., Northside
A casual Northside townie bar and grill in a historic building that dates back to 1886. The menu features inexpensive items with plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes. A renovated back patio houses an al fresco bar and yard games.
Photo: Catie Viox
20 of 27
Page 1 of 2