Winter is coming, which means it’s time to hunker down at your local watering hole. From beercades to punch houses, new bar concepts are popping up all over the city. Over-the-Rhine continues to be the hot spot for new bars, but East Walnut Hills, Northside and Covington, Ky., are making plays, too. Whether beer, wine or spirits pique your interest, there’s definitely a craft drink on the horizon.
Braxton Brewery: The Covington brewery just became Kickstarter’s most-funded brewery. The campaign, which ended in October, raised $71,885 — way exceeding their $30,000 goal. Greg Rouse, his sons Jake and Evan, and brewmaster Richard Dube (former vice president of brewing and quality at Christian Moerlein) are building the taproom of the future. It’ll have 20 taps, a fancy Pegas growler filler and free gigabit Internet. The guys are in the midst of construction, so the taproom is projected to open late in the first quarter. But they’re trying to have some beer ready for Cincy Winter Beerfest in February. 25 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.com.
Lachey’s Bar: They’ve danced with the stars and performed in boy band 98 Degrees, but now brothers Nick and Drew Lachey are opening a bar in their hometown. In partnership with 4EG, the Cincinnati natives plan to open Lachey’s Bar sometime in mid-December. In tandem with the opening, a 10-episode reality show will start airing on A&E in March 2015 documenting the experience. (Drew resides in Cincy, but Nick goes back and forth from New York, where he hosts Big Morning Buzz on VH1.) The 4,000-square-foot sports bar will also serve food, and we’re hoping it will have classic framed boy band photos of them everywhere — in matching tank tops, overalls, atypical hats, etc. (If you need an immediate Lachey fix, head to Senate in OTR for their Una Noche Con Nick Lachey hot dog.) 1201 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, foureg.com.
Liberty’s Bar and Bottle: Opened at the end of September, Liberty’s specializes in European beers and wines — there aren’t many other places in town to get Dutch beer Rooie Dop on draft. Instead of having to commit to an entire pint, Liberty’s offers half pours for a couple of bucks. That way you can try even more booze! The best part is they have happy hour from 2(!!!)-7 p.m. on weekdays: $1 off all drafts; $5 red and white glass pours; $3.50 select Ohio drafts. They also do weekly wine tastings and sell beer and wine by the bottle. 1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-429-2461.
Myrtle’s Punch House: Just two months after opening downtown’s The Hearth Room event space, Molly Wellmann is again expanding her booze empire. She’s opening her fourth bar — it’ll join Japp’s, Neons and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar — in up-and-coming East Walnut Hills. About a year in the making, Myrtle’s will finally open its doors on Nov. 28 for a grand opening party, featuring pizza from neighboring Fireside Pizza. Wellmann plans to serve punch — not Hawaiian Punch, but rum and milk punches made from centuries-old recipes. Punch houses have been all in rage in cities like Chicago, but this will be Cincinnati’s first-ever punch joint. Besides punch, the bar will also offer craft beers and wines. 2735 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-479-1030, @myrtlesbar on Twitter.
Taft’s Ale House: It won’t be open until spring 2015, but partners Kevin Moreland, Dave Kassling and Dave Williams just sold 200 Rookwood Pottery-made Taft’s Ale steins to future imbibers. Located inside St. Paul’s German Evangelical Protestant Church, the Ale House will be an ode to William Howard Taft, the pudgy 27th U.S. president and Cincinnati native (hence Taft Theatre and Taft Museum). If all goes well, Taft’s will have three bars, a full-service restaurant and a bathtub honoring how Taft supposedly got stuck in a tub once. 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/taftsalehouse.
Beercades: Cincinnati went from having no beercades to having one in Rusconi Pizza’s basement and two more opening in 2015. Columbus’ 16-Bit Bar + Arcade will open a 4,300-square-foot arcade early next year inside Mercer Commons (1331 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 16-bitbar.com). Expect around 40 vintage cabinet games such as Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man, pinball machines, Atari consoles and local craft beer and cocktails. The owners stated it’ll be “a bar first, arcade second.” With the opening of the Homage retail store, Brezel pretzels and now 16-Bit, the capital city seems to be invading ...
Jesse Baker of Cincinnati Mall’s Arcade Legacy will spin-off his video game palace into a Northside beercade. Slated to open during the first quarter of 2015, Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition (3929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, arcadelegacyohio.com) will house 40 vintage arcade games and pinball machines, along with bar food and suds. Baker will charge a $5 cover, which will include free game play and drink tickets. Unlike 16-Bit, Arcade Legacy plans on being an arcade first and a bar second.