25 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. From a trendy greenhouse bar in Over-the-Rhine to some classics that have been around for over 100 years, we've found the best low-key bars in Cincinnati perfect for a chill night out on the town.
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Somerset
139 E. McMicken Ave., Over-the-Rhine
An exotic escape in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, Somerset features two bar spaces — one in a plant-filled and glass-roofed conservatory and another in a cozy lounge space. The large back patio offers an awe-inspiring garden, loaded with tropical plants, unique seating nooks and imported pieces from co-founder and creative lead James Fisher’s collection, as well as the collections of his friends and family.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Somerset

139 E. McMicken Ave., Over-the-Rhine
An exotic escape in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, Somerset features two bar spaces — one in a plant-filled and glass-roofed conservatory and another in a cozy lounge space. The large back patio offers an awe-inspiring garden, loaded with tropical plants, unique seating nooks and imported pieces from co-founder and creative lead James Fisher’s collection, as well as the collections of his friends and family.
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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. Grab a massive $3 Budweiser that is always on tap, or if you're looking for a pick-me-up, order their version of a vodka Red Bull: the Excita-Bull.

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. Grab a massive $3 Budweiser that is always on tap, or if you're looking for a pick-me-up, order their version of a vodka Red Bull: the Excita-Bull.
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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 bohemian blend of Bourbon Street and Paris life. With live music often on the schedule, 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 bohemian blend of Bourbon Street and Paris life. With live music often on the schedule, it's one of the most romantic drinking destinations in the city.
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Queen City Radio
222 W. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
The historic Queen City Radio building was turned into a well-manicured full-service bar and outdoor beer garden. The bar serves rotating taps of local, regional and national beer, canned and bottled brews, wine, and a small cocktail program. Tables and heaters are placed throughout the patio and dogs are always welcome.

Queen City Radio

222 W. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
The historic Queen City Radio building was turned into a well-manicured full-service bar and outdoor beer garden. The bar serves rotating taps of local, regional and national beer, canned and bottled brews, wine, and a small cocktail program. Tables and heaters are placed throughout the patio and dogs are always welcome.
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Sundry and Vice
18 W. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine
This apothecary-themed bar features an extensive and inventive cocktail menu. The drinks — meticulously crafted by be-aproned bartenders — take a little longer to make than usual, but that’s only because they’re so good. After a weekend of drinking like this, you’re going to need an apothecary.

Sundry and Vice

18 W. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine
This apothecary-themed bar features an extensive and inventive cocktail menu. The drinks — meticulously crafted by be-aproned bartenders — take a little longer to make than usual, but that’s only because they’re so good. After a weekend of drinking like this, you’re going to need an apothecary.
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Arnold's Bar & Grill
210 E. Eighth St., Downtown
Downtown's Arnold's Bar & Grill is renowned for being the oldest continuously operating drinking destination in Cincinnati — one of the oldest in America, in fact, at 160 years. There's the infamous Arnold's bathtub, reportedly used to make bootleg gin during Prohibition. There is even a rumor that this bar filled with spirits (as in alcohol) and other sorts of spirits (as in dead people).
Photo: Maggy McDonel

Arnold's Bar & Grill

210 E. Eighth St., Downtown
Downtown's Arnold's Bar & Grill is renowned for being the oldest continuously operating drinking destination in Cincinnati — one of the oldest in America, in fact, at 160 years. There's the infamous Arnold's bathtub, reportedly used to make bootleg gin during Prohibition. There is even a rumor that this bar filled with spirits (as in alcohol) and other sorts of spirits (as in dead people).
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Streetside Brewery
4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum
Streetside Brewery is proud to be located in Cincinnati's oldest neighborhood — Columbia Tusculum. The Hickey family are residents of the neighborhood, and founded Streetside Brewery to share their talent with their community. Enjoy craft beer and grab a bite to eat at The Black Dog Grille food truck that is always parked out front. The brewery recently expanded its patio, adding a massive outdoor area with tons of seating, a bar and bathrooms.
Photo: Scott Dittgen

Streetside Brewery

4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum
Streetside Brewery is proud to be located in Cincinnati's oldest neighborhood — Columbia Tusculum. The Hickey family are residents of the neighborhood, and founded Streetside Brewery to share their talent with their community. Enjoy craft beer and grab a bite to eat at The Black Dog Grille food truck that is always parked out front. The brewery recently expanded its patio, adding a massive outdoor area with tons of seating, a bar and bathrooms.
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Covington Yard
401 Greenup St., Covington 
Covington Yard is an outdoor gathering destination offering different dining and drinking options located inside shipping containers on the grounds. Current food vendors offer tacos, sliders and Korean barbecue. Grab a drink at their bar that features a rotating draft menu, specialty cocktails and alcoholic slushies. The yard is a hip place for friends, family and even pets to hang.

Covington Yard

401 Greenup St., Covington
Covington Yard is an outdoor gathering destination offering different dining and drinking options located inside shipping containers on the grounds. Current food vendors offer tacos, sliders and Korean barbecue. Grab a drink at their bar that features a rotating draft menu, specialty cocktails and alcoholic slushies. The yard is a hip place for friends, family and even pets to hang.
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Gulow Street
1614 Hoffner St., Northside
Gulow Street is a cozy yet sophisticated bar and restaurant located at the corner of Hoffner and Gulow streets — the establishment’s namesake. The streamlined menu offers bites like a burger and breakfast sandwich with pimento cheese, plus a cocktail menu. Clever house drinks include the Spaghett (Miller High Life, Aperol and lemon) and a basil paloma with Tajin. A converted garage on the property doubles as a patio space, and dogs are welcome to hang out there with their people.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Gulow Street

1614 Hoffner St., Northside
Gulow Street is a cozy yet sophisticated bar and restaurant located at the corner of Hoffner and Gulow streets — the establishment’s namesake. The streamlined menu offers bites like a burger and breakfast sandwich with pimento cheese, plus a cocktail menu. Clever house drinks include the Spaghett (Miller High Life, Aperol and lemon) and a basil paloma with Tajin. A converted garage on the property doubles as a patio space, and dogs are welcome to hang out there with their people.
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The Hi-Mark
3229 Riverside Dr., East End
Located in a renovated 1866 building in the East End, The Hi-Mark is truly a great neighborhood bar that serves up some delicious food. From the owners of Eli’s BBQ and Pho Lang Thang, this spot is just about a block and a half from Eli’s famed barbecue haven. The drinks menu focuses on craft and local beers — both on rotating taps and in bottles and cans.
Photo: Mike Dew

The Hi-Mark

3229 Riverside Dr., East End
Located in a renovated 1866 building in the East End, The Hi-Mark is truly a great neighborhood bar that serves up some delicious food. From the owners of Eli’s BBQ and Pho Lang Thang, this spot is just about a block and a half from Eli’s famed barbecue haven. The drinks menu focuses on craft and local beers — both on rotating taps and in bottles and cans.
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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.
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Woodburn Brewery
2800 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
This East Walnut Hills brewery offers a plethora of creative beers, from Salmon Shorts, a strawberry tea blonde beer to the Solo coffee-infused blonde ale and even old fashioned rootbeer on tap. Dogs are welcome to chill inside the taproom or outside on the renovated patio at Woodburn, where they will receive many pets.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Woodburn Brewery

2800 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
This East Walnut Hills brewery offers a plethora of creative beers, from Salmon Shorts, a strawberry tea blonde beer to the Solo coffee-infused blonde ale and even old fashioned rootbeer on tap. Dogs are welcome to chill inside the taproom or outside on the renovated patio at Woodburn, where they will receive many pets.
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Madtree Brewing Co. Oakley Taproom
3301 Madison Road, Oakley
MadTree’s massive 10,000-square-foot beer garden is a fun family hangout. With tons of MadTree-exclusive taps, ambient lighting and an industrial brick façade leftover from the building’s factory days, there’s more than enough space to accommodate all the beer-drinking, cornhole-playing, beer-loving humans that hang at MadTree on the regular.
Photo: Phil HeidenReich

Madtree Brewing Co. Oakley Taproom

3301 Madison Road, Oakley
MadTree’s massive 10,000-square-foot beer garden is a fun family hangout. With tons of MadTree-exclusive taps, ambient lighting and an industrial brick façade leftover from the building’s factory days, there’s more than enough space to accommodate all the beer-drinking, cornhole-playing, beer-loving humans that hang at MadTree on the regular.
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Liberty's Bar & Bottle
1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Liberty’s offers the best of both the bar and the bottle with rotating craft beers on tap and more than a dozen wines available by the glass — including half-pours — along with bottles of wine and craft beers via retail. Dogs are welcome and you’ll frequently find one or two sleeping under their owners’ stools at the bar. Spend some time sipping on an IPA and admiring the sleek interior.

Liberty's Bar & Bottle

1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Liberty’s offers the best of both the bar and the bottle with rotating craft beers on tap and more than a dozen wines available by the glass — including half-pours — along with bottles of wine and craft beers via retail. Dogs are welcome and you’ll frequently find one or two sleeping under their owners’ stools at the bar. Spend some time sipping on an IPA and admiring the sleek interior.
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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 shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. You can also head out back and chill on the massive patio.

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 shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. You can also head out back and chill on the massive patio.
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Mecca OTR
1429 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
This hip OTR hideaway is a welcoming hangout for those interested in no-frills drinking, L.A. vibes and vinyl tunes. Find the main courtyard entrance tucked away down 15th Street, and cross the big-ass gravel patio, past colorful street-art murals, a panoply of rainbow lighting and a plethora of communal seating to enter a world of hanging plants (in summer the patio is decked out in greenery).
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Mecca OTR

1429 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
This hip OTR hideaway is a welcoming hangout for those interested in no-frills drinking, L.A. vibes and vinyl tunes. Find the main courtyard entrance tucked away down 15th Street, and cross the big-ass gravel patio, past colorful street-art murals, a panoply of rainbow lighting and a plethora of communal seating to enter a world of hanging plants (in summer the patio is decked out in greenery).
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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.
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.
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Fibonacci Brewing Co.
1445 Compton Road, College Hill 
Fibonacci offers an expansive outdoor beer garden and urban farm next door to its microbrewery. They have two taprooms, a covered patio, grassy garden space, friendly goats and chickens and plenty of craft beer and wine to sip on while enjoying the open outdoors.

Fibonacci Brewing Co.

1445 Compton Road, College Hill
Fibonacci offers an expansive outdoor beer garden and urban farm next door to its microbrewery. They have two taprooms, a covered patio, grassy garden space, friendly goats and chickens and plenty of craft beer and wine to sip on while enjoying the open outdoors.
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Northside Tavern
4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Northside Tavern is a laid-back neighborhood drinking destination, with a front bar, back bar and huge patio. There's free live music often and it's not uncommon for happy hour here to last far into the night.

Northside Tavern

4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Northside Tavern is a laid-back neighborhood drinking destination, with a front bar, back bar and huge patio. There's free live music often and it's not uncommon for happy hour here to last far into the night.
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Highland Coffee House
2839 Highland Ave., Corryville
Highland serves coffee, booze and great music, complemented by an artsy, plant-filled interior and some comfy seating. It's a mellow place to relax while watching students from the nearby University of Cincinnati campus burn the midnight oil to finish their papers.
Photo: Holden Mathis

Highland Coffee House

2839 Highland Ave., Corryville
Highland serves coffee, booze and great music, complemented by an artsy, plant-filled interior and some comfy seating. It's a mellow place to relax while watching students from the nearby University of Cincinnati campus burn the midnight oil to finish their papers.
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